Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (87)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

87. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the breakdown of the €10,900,000 capital allocation in the National Shared Services Office function of his Department, that is, Vote 18 of the Budget 2019 Expenditure Report for 2019 by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6006/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The breakdown of the €10,900,000 capital allocation in the National Shared Services Office function for 2019 is as follows:

Project

Cost

Commenced in 2019

Completed in 2019

FMSS Project

€8,256,000

No

Ongoing with system to 'go-live' expected in 2019

Fixtures & Fittings

€35,000

Yes

Yes

IT Capital Expenditure

€2,609,000

Yes

Yes

Further supporting information is available as follows:

FMSS Project

The introduction of Financial Management Shared Services for the Civil Service is progressing. An analysis undertaken in 2013 indicated that there was a significant opportunity for improving the current fragmented delivery model of central government financial management across Government bodies.

A feasibility report and initial business case was approved by Government in 2013. In January 2016 the Government approved the revised and validated business case, and the Cabinet granted approval for the project to proceed. A Financial Management and reporting system is currently being developed with a total of 48 Government organisations expected to transfer to this new technology solution. Finance Shared Services is expected to commence providing services in 2019 and will be located at existing National Shared Services Office (NSSO) sites in Galway, Killarney and Tullamore.

IT Capital Expenditure

IT capital expenditure relates to IT support and development costs of all HR and Payroll solutions in operation in the NSSO including Core HR and PeopleSoft. These costs include delivering on operational objectives of organisation scalability, process efficiency, data convergence and integration, and improved end-user experience.

Fixture and Fittings costs are associated with the NSSO Corporate Business Unit moving to a new office.

Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (88)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

88. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the breakdown of the €100,000 capital allocation in the human resource shared services division of the National Shared Services Office for 2019, that is, Vote 18 of the budget 2019 expenditure report by specific project; the projects that will be commenced in 2019; the projects that will be completed in 2019, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6007/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The breakdown of the €100,000 capital allocation for Human Resources Shared Services is as follows:

Project

Cost

Commenced in 2019

Completed in 2019

Pensions Room

€20,000

Yes

Yes

Communal Canteen

€80,000

Yes

Yes

Further supporting information is available as follows:

Pension Room

The National Shared Services Office (NSSO) is required to hold unique paper records of Officer’s service: if this data is lost the information would be irretrievable. The current room used to hold these records is too small and due to the large amount of paper files, the facility must be upgraded to comply with fire regulations and it also poses a Health & Safety risk. The NSSO also has GDPR obligations to provide secure storage for pension flies. Due to this, an upgrade will take place in 2019.

Communal Canteen

As part of other improvement works in an NSSO office, the NSSO will lose an existing canteen and this will put pressure on the remaining staff welfare services. Works to create a communal canteen are expected to take place in 2019.

Public Spending Code

Ceisteanna (89)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

89. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the role of his Department in invigilating the procurement process for the new National Children’s Hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6125/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

While I have responsibility for public procurement policy, my Department does not procure public works contracts and has no role in invigilating the procurement process of the national children’s hospital project. It is the relevant sanctioning and contracting authority that has responsibility for the management of the tendering process for a public works contract and the administration of the contract once it is awarded.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform requires those charged with the delivery of public works projects to comply with the Public Spending Code and the Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF).

The Department of Health, as the accountable Department for the Children’s Hospital Project, established the reporting and governance arrangements for the project through which the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board (NPHDB) provides regular updates to it on the project.

The roles of the Chief Procurement Officer and the Government Contracts Committee for Construction (GCCC) in the project are set out below.

The Chief Procurement Officer was appointed in a personal capacity to the NPHDB in 2013 for a five year term by the then Minister for Health. He was re-appointed in 2018 by the current Minister for Health. The members of the NPHDB, in line with Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies and the Board’s own Code of Governance, have a fiduciary duty to the Board in the first instance, a responsibility to act collectively in decision making and communication, and an obligation to observe its confidentiality arrangements.

The responsibility for construction procurement policy and the associated Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF) lies with the Office of Government Procurement (OGP). Government policy requires the use of the CWMF on all projects delivered under the Exchequer-funded element of the public capital programme. The public works contract is a key component of the CWMF and is a lump-sum fixed-price contract which is to be used on all public works projects.

It is possible for public bodies to seek a derogation from the use of the standard forms of contract from the GCCC. The GCCC is a consultative forum for the discussion and development of policy in the tendering and contracting of all aspects of construction projects. Membership of the committee includes representatives of all the main capital spending bodies and it possesses considerable expertise across the different sectors of activity in the construction industry. The OGP provides the Chair and the Secretariat to the Committee.

The NPHDB commenced their formal engagement with the GCCC in May 2014 with a view to securing such a derogation. The GCCC supported the principle of the proposed strategy.

It is important to note that a derogation does not sanction the approach or strategy of the Contracting Authority, but simply acknowledges that the circumstances are such as to warrant a different approach than the standard. It is a matter for the Contracting Authority and the Sanctioning Authority to satisfy themselves as to the adequacy of the approach with regards to compliance with procurement rules and project appraisal in accordance with the Public Spending Code.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Ceisteanna (90)

Alan Kelly

Ceist:

90. Deputy Alan Kelly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the date, format and person or body by which he was informed of the cost overruns in the National Children’s Hospital in November 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6169/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The first full assessment of the cost overrun and the reasons for it was received by my Department in the form of a report from the National Paediatric Hospital Development Board submitted by the Department of Health on the 19 November. My Department reviewed the report and met with the Department of Health to discuss it on the 23 November and made a formal submission to me on 26 November.

Departmental Staff Data

Ceisteanna (91)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

91. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of staff allocated to the infrastructure projects office; the number at year end 2018; the allocated budget for 2018 and 2019; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6193/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The Investment Projects and Programmes Office was established in July 2018, bringing together existing functions relating to Central Exchequer Capital funding, PPP Policy and Coordination of State Assets with new functions relating to NDP reporting, the Construction Sector Group, and the revision of the capital spending elements of the Public Spending Code.

There are currently 8.3 whole time equivalents in the Investment Projects and Programmes Office. The headcount is unchanged since end 2018.

The non-pay allocation for 2018 was €3,100 of which €1,835 was spent.

The non-pay budget for 2019 is €267,800. The increase relates to projects in support of the work of the Construction Sector Group, initiatives to improve productivity and capacity in the construction sector, and anticipated spending on NDP reporting and information, including a revamped Investment Projects Tracker, Project Ireland Annual Report and portfolio management tool.

Public Expenditure Policy

Ceisteanna (92, 93, 95, 96, 99)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

92. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which levels of public expenditure continue to be monitored with a view to ensuring that a high level of competitiveness internationally is maintained; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6217/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

93. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which action continues to impact positively on the economic future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6218/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

95. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he has identified particular expenditure issues likely to present a threat to ongoing economy recovery; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6220/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

96. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he can influence good practice measures to safeguard the economy in the event of over expenditure or external economic pressures; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6221/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

99. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he can control and or balance capital and current expenditure proposals in 2019 and thereafter with a view to protecting the future of the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6224/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 92, 93, 95, 96 and 99 together.

Since 2015, it has been possible to provide modest, sustainable increases in expenditure each year. The Government’s approach in that time has been based on steady increases in public expenditure, underpinned by stable and predictable tax revenues. This approach is aimed at delivering steady and sustainable improvements in public services and infrastructure, while protecting our hard-won economic recovery. Under this approach, a key consideration when allocating funding is whether it is affordable both now and into the future. This requires continuing prudent management of the public finances.

A further element of this approach is to prioritise spending that mitigates risk, enhances the resilience of the economy and raises our growth capacity. This is the context for the National Development Plan. The capital expenditure ceilings set out in the Revised Estimates Volume reflect the multi-annual ceilings agreed by Government and published in the NDP.

As part of this prudent management, over the last number of years a number of reforms have been implemented to support increased transparency and accountability in the budgetary process. This includes the Performance and Equality Budgeting initiatives, the publication of reports such as the Mid-Year Expenditure Report and the Summer Economic Statement and the roll-out of the Spending Review process. These reforms aim to facilitate a more meaningful dialogue around expenditure decisions and a shift in focus away from simply how much is being spent, towards what is being achieved.

Efficient management of expenditure is a key part of protecting our ongoing economic recovery and this forms a key part of the role of each Government Minister. The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is in regular contact with all other Departments and Offices to ensure that expenditure is being managed within the overall fiscal parameters.

The January Fiscal Monitor presents a year-on-year comparison. At end-January, total gross voted expenditure was €5,135 million. This is an increase of €328 million, or 6.8% in year-on-year terms. Gross voted current expenditure of €4,911 million was €322 million, or 7% ahead of the same period in 2018, while gross voted capital expenditure of €225 million was €6 million, or 2.6% up in year-on-year terms. Monthly expenditure profiles for each Government Department will be published this month. From February on, as is usual, the drawdown of funds from the Exchequer will be reported on each month against expenditure profiles, in the Fiscal Monitor published by the Department of Finance.

Public Sector Staff Remuneration

Questions Nos. 95 and 96 answered with Question No. 92.

Ceisteanna (94, 100)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

94. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he continues to strive towards a fair and equitable restoration of income throughout the public sector with a view to ensuring that the sacrifices made during the economic downturn by the various sectors are acknowledged and have their payment restored in accordance with the relevant criteria; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6219/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

100. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the extent to which he expects the restoration of public sector pay to be completed; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6225/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 94 and 100 together.

The process of dismantling the Financial Emergency legislation commenced under the Lansdowne Road Agreement 2016-2018 and will be completed under the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020 (PSSA).

The PSSA, which was negotiated in 2017, and the provisions of which were statutorily provided for under the terms of the Public Service Pay and Pensions Act 2017, allows for a continued, controlled unwinding of the financial emergency (FEMPI) legislation. The unwinding process is progressively weighted towards those at the lower levels of pay (who will see their salaries increase relative to 2008), and is implemented on a phased basis.

By end 2019 salary rates up to €50,000 will be fully restored. By end 2020 salary rates up to €70,000 (over 90% of the public service) will be fully restored.

For public servants who have not achieved full restoration of the FEMPI cuts by October 2020 (i.e. the date of the last PSSA increase), restoration of the amount must be completed by way of Ministerial order. This order must be made on the following dates:

For those with a post-PSSA salary of under €150,000:

- Covered public servants: a date after 1 October 2020 but before 1 July 2021.

- Non-covered public servants: on 1 July 2021.

For those with a post-PSSA salary in excess of €150,000:

- Covered public servants: a date after 1 October 2020 but before 1 July 2022.

- Non-covered public servants: a date after 1 July 2021 but before 1 July 2022.

Questions Nos. 95 and 96 answered with Question No. 92.

Brexit Supports

Ceisteanna (97)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

97. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he has identified particular issues arising from Brexit and in respect of which he will take action to protect the economy; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6222/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Central to the Government’s preparation for Brexit is the prudent management of the public finances so as to ensure the economy remains competitive in the face of future economic headwinds. Since the UK referendum in 2016, all of our national Budgets have been framed to prepare for the challenge of Brexit. Measures being taken include balancing the books, reducing our debt burden, building up the Rainy Day Fund and continuing to invest in infrastructure.

Budget 2019 sets out a number of specific measures aimed at making Ireland Brexit ready, including the introduction of a longer-term loan scheme, the Future Growth Loan Scheme for terms of 8-10 years, to provide a longer-term scheme facility of up to €300 million to support strategic capital investment for a post-Brexit environment by business at competitive rates.

It also provides increased resources of €25 million across a range of Departments and Offices based on a Brexit central case scenario; a €71 million package for the Department of Agriculture, Food & the Marine and its agencies, Teagasc and Bord Bia; an increase of €14 million to the current allocation for the Department of Business, Enterprise & Innovation; €5 million for the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade to enable it to continue to address the challenges posed by Brexit across a range of headings.

The economic and fiscal policies that we have pursued mean that the economy is now in a better position to weather the impacts of Brexit. The possibility of a no-deal Brexit has influenced policy decisions made in relation to the public finances in terms of our stated aim of balancing the books and investing in capital infrastructure.

Economic Policy

Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 92.

Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 94.

Ceisteanna (98)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

98. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which further reform is likely to be required arising from impending international economic pressures in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6223/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy’s question suggests, we are currently experiencing an environment of significant uncertainty presenting our country with many potential challenges, including those to which the Deputy refers. Central to the Government’s preparation for such challenges is the prudent management of the public finances in order to ensure the economy remains competitive in the face of future economic headwinds. Measures being taken include balancing the books, reducing our debt burden, building up the Rainy Day Fund and continuing to invest in infrastructure.

In the particular context of reform, a series of initiatives taken by this Government since 2011 have made the work of the civil and public services more transparent, decision-making more accountable and service delivery more effective and efficient. Our Public Service 2020 - the current phase of reform which I launched in 2017 - builds on these previous reforms while expanding the scope of reform to focus more on collaboration, innovation and evaluation. Progress in each of these areas, but especially innovation, will better position Ireland to meet the challenges arising in the global environment to which the Deputy refers.

Certain of the eighteen specific actions set out in Our Public Service 2020, such as accelerating digital delivery of services, driving efficiency and effectiveness and promoting a culture of innovation in the public service are particularly relevant in this regard. A Public Service Leadership Board comprising Secretary General and CEO level participants from across the civil and public service has been established to drive the new reform agenda and lead on its implementation. This approach will support and enable public servants and their organisations to perform at their best and to work together to deliver high-quality, value-for-money outcomes that will benefit the economy.

Question No. 99 answered with Question No. 92.
Question No. 100 answered with Question No. 94.

Public Procurement Regulations

Ceisteanna (101)

Bernard Durkan

Ceist:

101. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the specific issues to which his attention has been drawn to which indicate a lack of compliance with the criteria set down by his Department in terms of procurement and reform which may negatively or otherwise impact on the economic future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6226/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Public Procurement is governed by EU legislation and National rules and guidelines. The aim of these rules is to promote an open, competitive and non-discriminatory public procurement regime which delivers best value for money.

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) has responsibility for developing and setting out the overarching policy framework for public procurement in Ireland. This framework enables a more consistent approach to public procurement across the public sector by setting out the procurement procedures to be followed by public bodies.

The OGP supports compliance by providing procurement solutions, advice, guidance and systems for public bodies, promoting good practice and proactive engagement with our sourcing partners in the Health, Education, Defence and Local Government Sectors through the Procurement Executive. Furthermore, the OGP's Key Account Managers are in regular contact with Procurement Officers in Government departments and public bodies to assist, support and remind them of their obligations in relation to public procurement.

However, it is should be noted that while the policy framework and associated guidelines facilitate compliance with public procurement rules, it is the responsibility of each contracting authority to ensure they adhere to these rules.

Public procurement practices are also subject to audit and scrutiny under the Comptroller and Auditor General and Local Government Reform Acts.

Shared Services

Ceisteanna (102)

Barry Cowen

Ceist:

102. Deputy Barry Cowen asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform when the national shared services office will be fully established; the original budgeted cost for the office; the cost incurred to date; the status of the contract with a company (details supplied) in relation to the office; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [6234/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Following clarification received that the Deputy is referring to the Financial Management Shared Services (FMSS) Project and not the establishment of the National Shared Services Office (NSSO), I can confirm the following:

The expected date of completion for the FMSS Project, and therefore the date when the new Finance Shared Services Centre will be fully established, is not currently confirmed, due to the scale and complexity of this project.

The business case supporting the FMSS Project was approved by Government in 2016. This business case set out that the finance administration from 48 Departments and Offices would be transferred into one centralised Government finance team and system, reducing the number of systems from 31 to 1. The process of transferring Departments and Offices to the new system will take place over in a series of waves over a three to four year period.

The original budget for the FMSS Project, approved by the Government in 2016, is €47.34m (excluding VAT). The total costs incurred to date, including accrued costs, are €33.7m (including VAT). The contract with the company (details supplied) is currently active and engagement is ongoing with the project team.