I propose to take Questions Nos. 146 and 147 together.
There are currently 909 employees (864.92 FTEs) in my Department. While some staff in my Department have undertaken procurement training, all staff are obliged to adhere to public procurement rules. Staff in my Department engaged in public procurement apply the guidelines published by the Office of Government Procurement (OGP), in procurement undertaken across the various business units and Offices in the Department. Furthermore, staff are guided by the expertise that resides in the OGP, and where appropriate use existing framework agreements put in place by the experts in the OGP, ensuring my staff can be confident that they are meeting their compliance obligations.
The OGP organises procurement in the public service under a unified structure to ensure that the procurement expertise and experience that exists is harnessed and applied consistently to public procurement activities.
While my Department does not currently maintain a comprehensive database of employee qualifications, including procurement qualifications, a skills register is being developed by OneLearning, the Learning and Development Centre for the Civil Service, as part of a new leaning and development platform technology, the Learning Management System. This will enable employees to populate and maintain their online profile with their professional qualifications and will allow Departments to identify the skills, knowledge and expertise that has been uploaded by them.
Notwithstanding the fact that the specific information regarding staff who hold, and don't hold professional qualifications, is not available, the Deputy may wish to note that there are a large number of professionally qualified personnel across many disciplines employed in the Department.
In this regard, there are a number of employees who are members of certain professional institutions for which the Department reimburse professional and affiliation fees, where it is deemed necessary to the performance of their official duties to maintain their membership of the professional body. At the end of 2018, the Department reimbursed fees for a total of 13 staff in respect of a number of professional bodies listed in the following.
Chartered Accountants Ireland
Law Society of Ireland
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants
Certified Public Accountants
Irish Taxation Institute
Chartered Institute of Internal Auditors
Public Relations Institute of Ireland
There may be other employees that maintain their own membership with affiliated bodies not included in the table. Where professional and affiliation fees are not reimbursed by the Department, in the cases that membership is not a requirement for the performance of their official duties, data is not captured by the Department.
There are also a number of grades through which professional qualifications are a requirement. For example the following professionals currently hold positions within the Department: 11 Professional Accountants; 1 Head of Internal Audit; 9 Legal Services Personnel; 1 Statistician. There are also employees that have joined the Department through competitions that specified specific qualification requirements, but the information regarding the qualifications held is not captured by this Department due to the fact that recruitment is managed centrally by the Public Appointments Service. It should also be noted that many other staff may hold professional qualifications that are not recorded by the Department.