Thursday, 19 September 2019

Ceisteanna (255, 256, 257)

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

255. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the number of single stage approval process applications for social housing projects received per annum since its inception by county; the number approved by county; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38199/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

256. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government the value threshold of the single stage approval process applications for social housing projects; his plans to review the threshold level; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38200/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Darragh O'Brien

Ceist:

257. Deputy Darragh O'Brien asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government his plans to review the four stage approval process for social housing projects; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [38201/19]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Housing)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 255 to 257, inclusive, together.

There are currently 36 local authority social housing construction projects that have been or are being advanced through the single-stage approval process, which covers projects with an all-in budget up to €2 million and up to 15 homes. The breakdown of these projects by local authority and year received, is set out in the following table. All projects have been approved, apart from 6 received recently, which are shown below as '2019 Project Applications' and which are now being assessed.

LA

2016

2017

2018

2019

Projects Approved

2019

Project Applications

Carlow

 

 

3

5

 

Clare

 

 

 

2

1

Cork County

 

 

1

3

2

Kerry

 

 

1

4

 

Kilkenny

 

 

1

2

 

Laois

 

 

3

 

 

Louth

1

 

 

 

3

Mayo

 

 

1

5

 

Meath

 

1

1

 

 

Sligo

 

 

1

 

 

Tipperary

 

 

 

1

 

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is currently leading a review on the Public Spending Code (PSC). This is the critical framework for the control and governance of all public expenditure activities and it, in turn, determines the approach for publicly-funded construction projects which is set out in the Government’s Capital Works Management Framework (CWMF), the objectives of which are to ensure cost certainty, value for money and financial accountability.

Social housing construction projects, whether implemented via the single stage or four stage process, must comply with the CWMF and the PSC, similar to publicly-funded construction projects in other sectors. When the PSC review is complete, my Department will be in a position to consider its implications, if any, for social housing projects. 

In concentrating the 9 review stages of the CWMF to 4 for most social housing construction projects, as well as operating a single stage process for projects up to €2 million, my Department has already streamlined the approval arrangements, while still ensuring appropriate oversight and control arrangements in relation to public funds.  

It is also the case that most of the time required to advance social housing construction projects to site arise from local authority activities such as design, planning, procurement and engagement with contractors. The time involved in approving projects is a small element only of the overall period for advancing the projects.