Departmental Budgets

Ceisteanna (177)

Michael Fitzmaurice

Ceist:

177. Deputy Michael Fitzmaurice asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if the budget of Departments will face cuts due to the spending overrun in the national children’s hospital; if so, the areas the adjustments to the budget will take place; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8348/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My Government colleagues and I have examined all projects and programmes across government in order to meet the funding pressures accruing on the National Children’s Hospital project. This has allowed us to reschedule €75 million from projects such as in the case of the A5 Motorway in Northern Ireland, which is paused due to external issues; and to re-profile the delivery of some of projects within the multi-year capital envelopes. The Department of Health will also re-profile €24 million in capital funding across both 2019 and 2020 to facilitate multi-annual management of projects and works within the capital envelopes and to ensure the timely delivery of the National Children's Hospital project. A full list of the adjustments is set out below;

- re-scheduling of €27m arising in relation to the A5 Motorway in Northern Ireland;

- re-scheduling of €10m arising in relation to the National Forensic Science Laboratory;

- advance payment of a sum of €10m from the Department of Education and Skills in respect of higher education facilities at the National Children’s Hospital;

- an updating of the scheduled draw-down of €16m from the two Project Ireland 2040 Regeneration Funds, which are being profiled for expenditure throughout the course of both 2019 and 2020 without delays in project planning, design and delivery;

- re-profiling of payments of €4m under certain programmes of investment in Communications, Climate Action & Environment;

- €3m from the re-profiling of investment under the Flood Risk Management Programme of the Office of Public Works to allow for capacity to be built up over the course of the NDP period;

- revision of the schedule of drawdown of funding in the PER and Finance Groups of Votes totalling €3m; and

- €2m through changes to the timing of payments relating to certain capital works by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, with full project delivery scheduled across both 2019 and 2020.

The Government has approved the proposals in this regard, which I announced on the 12th February. The overall intention is to proceed with our very ambitious agenda of strategic infrastructure investment throughout the course of 2019 and subsequent years, with the minimum of disruption to the rollout and delivery of key projects.

Community Employment Schemes Supervisors

Ceisteanna (178)

Dara Calleary

Ceist:

178. Deputy Dara Calleary asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the position in relation to pension claims by community employment scheme supervisors; the number of times the community employment departmental forum has met since January 2018; if his attention has been drawn to the Dáil Éireann motion of April 2018 supporting the claims of community employment scheme supervisors; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7662/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As Deputies will be aware this issue relates to a claim by community employment supervisors and assistant supervisors who have been seeking, through their union representatives, the allocation of Exchequer funding to implement a 2008 Labour Court recommendation relating to the provision of a pension scheme.

The matter was the subject of discussion at the Community Sector High Level Forum which was reconvened to examine certain issues pertaining to the Community Employment sector and in particular to ensure that the matter was fully examined having regard to costs and precedent.

A detailed scoping exercise was carried out by my Department in 2017 in order to comprehensively examine and assess the full potential implications of the issues under consideration.

The scoping exercise clearly illustrated that this matter presents very significant issues for the Exchequer, with a potential cost to the State of between €188 million per annum and €347m depending on the size of the sector which is difficult to ascertain, in respect of funding to enable an employer pension contribution in State funded Community and Voluntary organisations. This excludes any provision for immediate ex-gratia lump sum payment of pension as sought, which could, depending on the size of the sector, entail a further Exchequer cost of up to €318 million.

It continues to be the position that state organisations are not the employer of the particular employees concerned and that it is not for the State to provide funding for such pension scheme provision. The employees in question are, or were, employees of private companies notwithstanding the fact that the companies concerned are, or were, in receipt of State funding.

The last meeting of the Community Sector High Level Forum was in December 2017 .

Departmental Meetings

Ceisteanna (179)

Timmy Dooley

Ceist:

179. Deputy Timmy Dooley asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the meetings attended by designated public officials which have taken place between his Department and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment regarding the cost of the national broadband plan since January 2016. [7712/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I have taken the Deputy’s question as referring to designated public officials as defined under the Regulation of Lobbying Act, 2015 – in other words, to include both myself as well as designated public officials within my Department.

As the Deputy would expect, the National Broadband Plan (NBP) has been the subject of ongoing engagement with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and with the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, in the period since January 2016. This engagement has naturally included discussions of the evolving estimate of the subsidy required for the State intervention area of the NBP.

Over this time, designated public officials of our two Departments have had numerous meetings, both formal and informal, at which the cost of the National Broadband Plan would have been discussed, including, but not limited to, bilateral meetings on the Plan itself, bilateral meetings on other subjects such as annual Estimates negotiations, where the NBP would have been discussed, and meetings as part of wider inter-Departmental group meetings or on the margins of such meetings, at which the NBP may have been discussed either on a formal or informal basis.

This formal and informal engagement has taken place both at official level between designated public officials of my Department and their counterparts in the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, and also at Ministerial level between my colleague Minister Bruton and me. This has of course also included past engagement with his predecessor, former Minister Denis Naughten.

Decentralisation Programme

Ceisteanna (180)

Joe Carey

Ceist:

180. Deputy Joe Carey asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he is considering further decentralisation of Departments in view of the housing crisis; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7778/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As the Deputy will be aware, the Decentralisation Programme announced in December 2003 involved the potential relocation of over 10,000 civil and public service jobs to 53 locations in 25 counties.

It was a Government decision in 2011 that the Decentralisation Programme be cancelled in light of the budgetary and staffing outlook at that time. Up to that date, about a third of the target numbers, over 3,400 posts were decentralised. The proportion of civil servants working outside Dublin is now in the region of just over 50%.

There are currently no further plans at the present time to introduce a further programme of decentralisation.

State Pensions

Ceisteanna (181)

Brendan Ryan

Ceist:

181. Deputy Brendan Ryan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if information (details supplied) on the professional added years schemes will be provided; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7784/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Professional added year's schemes, in both the Civil Service and State-Sponsored Bodies, apply to pensionable employees appointed to a professional, technical or specialist post where the essential requirements specified in the competition (e.g. qualifications/experience/minimum entry age) result in all candidates from the competition being over the age of 25 on appointment.

1. Professional added years schemes which operate in the Civil Service

Relevant dates

Relevant scheme for assessment of award

Circular

Retired before 1 January 1993

- Old Scheme

Circular 11 of 1985: Ad hoc arbitration finding on a claim for the award of added years to certain civil service grades

Serving at any time between 1 January 1993 and 31 March 1997

Staff have a choice between: - Revised Old Scheme - New Scheme

Circular 12 of 1997: Revised schemes for the award of professional, technical and specialist added years to certain civil servants

Appointed on or after 1 April 1997

- New Scheme

Circular 12 of 1997: Revised schemes for the award of professional, technical and specialist added years to certain civil servants

Appointed as a new entrant by competition advertised on or after 1 April 2005

- New Entrant Scheme

Circular 8 of 2005: Public Service Pension Reform: New Scheme for the award of professional, technical and specialist added years to certain entrant staff of the Civil and Public Service

Appointed as a Single Scheme member on or after 1 January 2013

- N/A*

- N/A

* Please note members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme are not entitled to professional added years.

1. Professional added years schemes which operate in State- Sponsored Bodies

Relevant dates

Relevant scheme for assessment of award

Circular / Letter to Depts.

Serving on 1 July 1987

- Original scheme

Letter to Departments 9 May 1988: Scheme for the grant of “professional added years” for superannuation purposes to staff of State-Sponsored bodies

Serving at any time between 1 April 1997 and 31 December 2004.

Staff have a choice between:- Original scheme- Revised scheme

Letter to Departments 19 November 2004: Revised scheme for the award of professional, technical and specialist added years to certain staff of State-Sponsored Bodies

Appointed as a new entrant by competition advertised on or after 1 April 2005

- New Entrant Scheme

Circular 8 of 2005: Public Service Pension Reform: New Scheme for the award of professional, technical and specialist added years to certain entrant staff of the Civil and Public Service

Appointed as a Single Scheme member on or after 1 January 2013

- N/A*

N/A

*Please note members of the Single Public Service Pension Scheme are not entitled to professional added years.

Nursing Staff Remuneration

Ceisteanna (182)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

182. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the estimated cost in 2019 and 2020 of implementing in full the Labour Court recommendations of February 2019 on resolving the industrial dispute with nurses; the estimated annual recurring cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7909/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The indicative estimates of the net additional costs associated with Labour Court Recommendation LCR 21900 are as follows:

2019: €10m - €15m

2020: €30m - €35m

These estimates include the cost of the potential movement of staff to the new Enhanced Nursing Practice salary scale and other elements of the Recommendation such as the extension of the location/qualification allowance to medical and surgical areas, offset by Agency Savings and the re-configuration of the new entrant deal.

These estimates are necessarily high level and indicative reflecting the fact that further detailed work and negotiation is to take place over the coming weeks as provided for under the Labour Court Recommendation in relation to a new nursing contract.

Lansdowne Road Agreement

Ceisteanna (183, 184)

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

183. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost of bringing forward to early 2016 the payment of the pay increase that was due to certain public servants in September 2016 under the Lansdowne Road agreement; the date the payment was made; the number of public servants who benefited from same; the overall cost; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7911/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Michael McGrath

Ceist:

184. Deputy Michael McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost arising from the ceasing of the Lansdowne Road agreement early and incorporating it into the Public Service Stability Agreement 2018-2020; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7912/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 183 and 184 together.

It is assumed that the Deputy is referring to the €1,000 increase in 2017 applicable to public servants on annualised basic salaries up to €65,000 under the Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2015. This increase which, under FEMPI 2015, was to take effect from 1 September 2017, was advanced to 1 April 2017 for qualifying public servants:

- those on annualised salaries up to €65,000;

- who are parties to the Lansdowne Road Agreement; and

- who do not stand to benefit from the Labour Court recommendations (CD/16/321 & CD/16/322) issued in respect of the Garda Associations.

The number who qualified for payment was estimated at 256,000 Whole Time Equivalent (WTE) public servants and the additional cost arising in 2017 was approximately €120 million.

As the Deputy will be aware, the Lansdowne Road Agreement (LRA) covered the period 2016-2018. Therefore the first year of the Public Service Pay Agreement 2018-2020 (PSSA) and the last year of the LRA ran concurrently during 2018. The cost of PSSA in 2018 was estimated at €178 million.

Flood Prevention Measures

Ceisteanna (185)

Michael Healy-Rae

Ceist:

185. Deputy Michael Healy-Rae asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding will be allocated to dredge a river (details supplied) in County Kerry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7935/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I am advised that local flooding issues are a matter in the first instance, for each local Authority to investigate and address, and local authorities may carry out flood mitigation works using their own resources. The OPW operates the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme to provide funding to local Authorities to undertake minor flood mitigation works or studies to address localised flooding and coastal protection problems within their administrative areas. The scheme generally applies to relatively straightforward cases where a solution can be readily identified and achieved in a short time frame and which meets the criteria of the scheme.

It is open to Kerry County Council to bring forward a proposal under the Minor Works scheme for viable flood mitigation measures at this location, which meet the scheme criteria. No such application has been submitted under the Minor Flood Mitigation Works and Coastal Protection Scheme for this location.

Public Procurement Contracts Data

Ceisteanna (186)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

186. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of State contracts that were not awarded to the lowest tender or bid in each year since 2011 to date in his Department, or bodies under the aegis of his Department; the reason the lowest tender or bid was not chosen; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7961/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

I wish to advise the Deputy that procurement by my Department is governed by EU Directives on procurement and follows the Office of Government Procurement 'Public Procurement Guidelines for Goods and Services'. My Department does not undertake procurement processes for public works contracts. The Office of Public Works will respond directly to the Deputy in respect of their contracts.

I understand that the Deputy’s office has clarified that the information in question is being sought only in respect of contracts valued over €500,000. As the question covers an 8 year period and includes both the Department itself and the bodies under its aegis, this information is currently being compiled. Therefore, I propose under Standing Order 42A to provide the relevant information directly to the Deputy within a period of 10 days.

National Children's Hospital Expenditure

Ceisteanna (187)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

187. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he was informed prior to November 2018 of the latest cost overruns at the national children’s hospital; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7351/19]

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.

Appointments to State Boards

Ceisteanna (188)

Thomas P. Broughan

Ceist:

188. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the corporate and fiduciary responsibilities of civil servants appointed to State boards; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8058/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

All directors appointed to State corporate bodies or to State companies have a range of specific legal responsibilities, in terms of common law, statutory and fiduciary duties to the State body or company; and this applies equally to nominee directors such as civil servants who sit on State boards.

It should be noted that State bodies may be established as statutory bodies under their own bespoke establishing legislation and others may be established as companies incorporated under the provisions of the Companies Act 2014.

The Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies, 2016 sets out the key common law, statutory and fiduciary duties all for Board members. All board members owe these duties to the State body in the first instance. So for example, the fiduciary duty to act in good faith in the best interests of the State body is owed to the State body in the first instance.

It should also be noted that, in addition to the provisions of the Code, in the case of state bodies established as companies under the Companies Act, the responsibilities of Directors are also set out in the Companies Act.

Civil servants nominated and appointed to the board of state bodies can have regard to the Minister's interests when serving on a board. However, individual decisions are still taken in accordance with the full set of evidence before the board and on the basis of what the board member considers to be the interests of the company.

Circular 12/2010: Protocol for Civil Servants nominated to the boards of non-commercial State bodies provides for a process for the civil service board member to report to the relevant Minister. The purpose of the circular is to describe the reporting obligations of the nominee civil servant director in the extreme situation where the chairperson of the board does not report serious issues of concern to the Minister. For example, the circular states that information should be presented to the Minister where there are serious weaknesses in controls that have not been addressed, or where there is a significant strategic or reputational risk to the body that is not being addressed, or where there are serious concerns about possible illegality or fraud. The operation of the circular is subject to the legal common law, fiduciary and statutory responsibilities of the nominee civil servant director to the State body.

Tender Process

Ceisteanna (189)

Mattie McGrath

Ceist:

189. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will consider submitting all future major public project tendering to pre-examination by a reputable international independent cost accountant; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8130/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

As part of the ongoing reform of Ireland’s capital management systems, the Office of Government Procurement is conducting a review of construction procurement strategy and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is reviewing the Public Spending Code. The purpose of these reviews is to strengthen the existing guidance to better align with the realities of project delivery and with a particular focus on improved financial appraisal, cost estimation and management. My officials will conduct an examination of international best practice and consider all potential approaches as part of the reviews.

Flood Relief Schemes

Ceisteanna (190)

James Browne

Ceist:

190. Deputy James Browne asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if delays to affect the introduction of a flood relief scheme in Enniscorthy, County Wexford are anticipated; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8157/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

The River Slaney (Enniscorthy) Flood Relief Scheme is at an advanced stage of planning and design, and it is hoped to proceed to formal Exhibition as required under the Arterial Drainage Acts (ADA) in March/April this year. Following this, if the scheme proposals are generally well received, the design will be finalised and all required documentation will be submitted to the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, requesting formal Confirmation of the scheme under the ADA. It is hoped therefore that the tender process for contractors to construct the scheme will begin in mid 2019 with construction commencing in late 2019/early 2020.

Flood Relief Schemes Funding

Ceisteanna (191)

Billy Kelleher

Ceist:

191. Deputy Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if funding has been ring-fenced for the flood prevention scheme in Glanmire, County Cork and will not be affected in view of the reallocation of funds from his Department for the national children's hospital; if the timeframe for agreed works will be honoured with no delay resulting due to the reallocation of funds; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [8175/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Arising from the Government decision of Tuesday 12th February 2019 in relation to capita l reallocations related to the cost overrun on the National Childrens hospital, the Office of Public Works is reviewing the most appropriate means of achieving the required capital savings of €3 million in the flood risk management area. Expenditure on any particular project or programme in any year is dependent on many variables related to the progress of the project and programme. The OPW can state that all capital projects committed to will be delivered.

Public Expenditure Data

Ceisteanna (192)

Clare Daly

Ceist:

192. Deputy Clare Daly asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform further to Parliamentary Question No. 206 of 12 February 2019, the reason the information cannot be collated in response to a parliamentary question; and if a response to the question will be provided. [8278/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

My response to PQ No. 206/19 set out that the details sought by the Deputy are not available centrally. The management of individual contracts is a matter for the relevant contracting authorities and my Department does not have a central coordination role in relation to contracts entered into by all state authorities.

School Playgrounds

Ceisteanna (193, 194)

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

193. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the options available to national schools to improve playground facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7679/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Tony McLoughlin

Ceist:

194. Deputy Tony McLoughlin asked the Minister for Education and Skills the funding available to assist national schools with the development of playground facilities; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7689/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 193 and 194 together.

I wish to advise the Deputy that the Summer Works Scheme (SWS) is designed to allow schools, on a devolved funding basis, to carry out necessary improvement and refurbishment works that will upgrade existing school facilities including play areas.

It is open to school authorities to apply under the next Summer Works Scheme which will open for applications in 2019 for projects to be delivered from summer 2020.

Teachers' Remuneration

Ceisteanna (195, 196, 197)

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

195. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of substitute teachers at primary level who have been affected by the issue arising from the new modernised PAYE system being implemented from 1 January 2019, which has caused teachers to be underpaid. [7658/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

196. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the number of substitute teachers at post-primary level who have been affected by the issue arising from the new modernised PAYE system being implemented from 1 January 2019, which has caused teachers to be underpaid. [7659/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Kathleen Funchion

Ceist:

197. Deputy Kathleen Funchion asked the Minister for Education and Skills the immediate measures being taken to rectify the problem arising from the new modernised PAYE system, which is causing substitute teachers to be underpaid; and the date by which those affected will be paid all amounts overdue to them. [7660/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 195 to 197, inclusive, together.

The new PAYE system developed by Revenue was deployed for the first time from the 1st January 2019. My Department pays 120,000 staff on a fortnightly basis. Between 5,000 and 9,000 substitute staff who cover absences for teaching and non-teaching staff could be paid each fortnight for the full period or a number of days per fortnight.

A cessation date was included in the return sent to Revenue on the 3rd and 17th January for post primary substitute teachers and on 10th January for primary and non-teaching staff. The new Revenue ’system updated the employees’ records immediately and assigned zero credits to them.

The issue that caused the main problem has been resolved and any substitute staff being paid for the first time in 2019 on payrolls since the 17th January in the case of post primary and from 10th January for primary and non-teaching staff, are not affected.

I am pleased to advise the Deputy that a solution was applied for some staff in the post primary teacher payroll that issued last Thursday (14th February). In that regard, a total of 2,450 new Revenue Payroll Notifications were loaded to the post primary teachers’ payroll of 14th February. The payroll generated generated refunds for 69 substitute teachers. Further RPNs for post primary teachers will be processed in the payroll of 28th February and refunds of tax will issue where due.

Revenue has forwarded 4,728 RPNs to be applied to the primary teacher and non-teaching staff payrolls for payment on the 21st February. It is expected that 533 refunds will be issued to primary substitute staff and 177 refunds to substitute non teaching staff on the 21st February.

My Department is endeavouring to ensure that every payee has the correct Revenue Payroll Notifications (RPNs) applied to them.

Where a substitute teacher/non-teaching staff member has more than one employer, the Revenue Commissioners will issue RPNs based on the information available to them. Employees may have more than one source of taxable income and may assign credits to more than one employment. Tax credits and taxable basis are decided by Revenue and notified to the employer to apply to payrolls. Any refunds of tax to staff are based on the information supplied by Revenue.

Special Educational Needs Service Provision

Ceisteanna (198)

Jack Chambers

Ceist:

198. Deputy Jack Chambers asked the Minister for Education and Skills his plans to provide a special needs unit at a school (details supplied); and if he will make a statement on the matter. [7667/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I wish to confirm to the Deputy that a decision to sanction a Special Needs Base in a specific school is a matter for the National Council for Special Education (NCSE). Schools may apply to the NCSE to open a Special Needs Base where a need has been identified in their area. The local Special Education Needs Organiser (SENO), in looking to open Special Needs Bases, must take into account the present and future potential need for such bases, taking particular account of the educational needs of the children concerned.

If a requirement for a Special Needs Base is identified by the NCSE for the school referred to by the Deputy, the school may apply for the provision of a Special Education Needs Base under my Department's Additional School Accommodation (ASA) Scheme @ www.education.ie.