Thursday, 10 May 2018

Ceisteanna (203)

Tom Neville

Ceist:

203. Deputy Tom Neville asked the Minister for Health the status of the implementation of the youth mental health pathfinder initiative; and the roadmap and timeline to full implementation. [20598/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Health)

The development and implementation of a cross-departmental Pathfinder team on youth mental health was prioritised as an action under the Civil Service Renewal plan.  Under the sponsorship of the Civil Service Management Board an inter-departmental team was established with representatives drawn from the Department of Health, the Department of Education and Skills (DES), the Department of Children and Youth Affairs (DCYA), the Department of the Taoiseach and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (DPER). The proposal is to utilise Section 12 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 to formalise a new model for collaborative working between Government departments and to place it on a statutory footing. The proposed model of implementation will require the following three key elements:

- A cross-government unit staffed through secondments from participating offices/agencies to operate for a 3 year period. There is agreement that participating Departments will cover the costs of their own seconded staff and that Departments will be allowed to backfill seconded posts, subject to DPER approval. The Director for the unit would be recruited separately. A draft job description for the Director post has already been prepared and the Department of Health has agreed to fund this post subject to agreement with DPER.

- Accountability is being addressed in a Draft order entitled Public Service Management Act 1997 (Section 12) (Youth Mental Health) Order 2018. This will allow for shared accountability at Secretary General Level across the sponsoring Departments. Drafting is well advanced, and currently the draft text is with participating departments for review.

- It is proposed to utilise Section 12 of the Public Service Management Act 1997 to create a pooled budget between participating departments. This budget would be available to the Pathfinder Unit to drive change across agencies and to seed fund vital infrastructure.

Departments are working with DPER to resolve some technical issues with the above proposals. A timeline to full implementation can not yet be agreed as the participating departments have not received final approval from DPER.