I propose to take Questions Nos. 59, 61 and 64 together.
The programme of reform in the Civil Service supporting the development of high performing organisations continues to be embedded. A fourth progress report which captures the progress made since the plan was commenced was published in May 2019 and is available on my Department's website at www.gov.ie/en/collection/8a4a55-civil-service-renewal-plan-progress-reports/#fourth-progress-report.
The Civil Service Renewal Plan for Government Departments includes 25 headline actions. Significant progress has been made in delivering this ambitious programme of reform. Achievements include:
- The establishment of the Civil Service Management Board which has collective responsibility for the delivering the actions in the Civil Service Renewal Plan.
- The development of a Common Governance Standard for the Civil Service.
- Further implementation of the Shared Services Programme; the Public Service ICT Strategy and Government Communications Programme.
- The Civil Service People Strategy was launched in October 2017, setting the strategic direction for Human Resource Management across the Civil Service while also recognising that each organisation is unique and has its own challenges.
- Open recruitment competitions have been held for a wide range of general service, professional and technical grades.
- A wide range of initiatives to improve gender balance across the Civil Service have been developed and are being implemented within Departments and Offices. These include an action plan to improve gender balance at senior levels.
- OneLearning has been established to centrally operate and maintain the new Learning & Development (L&D) model and to manage the delivery the new common suite of L&D programmes.
- Introduction of structured and transparent talent management programmes to develop future leaders.
- A more effective and simplified performance management system (PMDS) has been delivered, including training for line managers to support and improve the management of performance.
- A new scheme for recognising innovation and excellence across the Civil Service was introduced through the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate the significant contributions that civil servants make to the Civil Service and recognise innovations in policy and service delivery across the Civil Service.
- An approach to professionalisation has been agreed in the areas of HR, ICT and Finance, with most progress made in the HR and ICT areas.
- A new Civil Service-wide mobility scheme has been introduced for Clerical Officers and Executive Officers which will be extended to other grades up to Assistant Principal level in due course.
- A standardised project management approach has been introduced and supported with the establishment of a Project Managers’ Network and training from OneLearning.
- A new system of Organisational Capability Reviews to assess and strengthen performance and capacity across Departments is being implemented
- Guidelines and a handbook in relation to the transfer of functions has been published to assist in implementing Government Decisions to establish new Departments or restructuring of existing Departments.
- Significant progress in relation to the development of a National Data Infrastructure.
- Organisation of two Civil Service Employee Engagement Surveys to date which asks civil servants for their views on working in the Civil Service, focusing on areas such as employee engagement, well-being, coping with change and commitment to the organisation. Departments/Offices are tasked with responding to the challenging areas arising from the findings.
As I announced in Budget 2020, demographic changes and the next wave of technological change will place new demands on our key offices and Departments. The Civil Service of the future will be different in terms of its skills mix, use of technology and geographical footprint. We are therefore developing a longer term vision and strategy for the Civil Service which will be announced in due course.
Implementation of the wider public service reform programme, Our Public Service 2020, the framework for development and innovation for the public service to 2020 and beyond, is continuing. The First Progress Report on the framework was published in October 2019 and is available on my Department's website at www.ops2020.gov.ie/app/uploads/2019/10/OPS2020-First-Progress-Report_Web.pdf.