I propose to take Questions Nos. 100 and 101 together.
My Department's Contract Branch undertakes a procurement function in respect of the Defence Forces for defensive equipment and materials, and in respect of major procurement projects. It has a staffing complement of nine. The Branch leads on the procurement of major equipment platforms and other associated goods and services for the Defence Forces, e.g. land, sea and air capabilities, including the delivery of required procurement outcomes. The Branch is also responsible for the procurement of certain services on behalf of other branches of the Department. Occasionally, other branches may be involved in smaller scale procurements, using frameworks provided by the OGP and with access to the advice of Contracts Branch.
There are 359 staff currently in my Department. Recruitment of civil servants for my Department is provided by the Public Appointments (PAS) from the various competitions which it organises. Such recruitment to the Department is almost exclusively for civil service grades which do not require specific professional qualifications. The Department cannot compel an individual to declare qualifications held and therefore, the information sought by the Deputy in this regard is not available.
My Department is committed to the continuing development of its employees and its Learning and Development section provides access to a range of learning opportunities.