Written answers

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Departmental Staff

9:00 pm

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 274: To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress towards implementation of the commitment in the programme for Government to amend the rules to ensure that no senior public servant including political appointees or Minister may work in the private sector in any area involving a potential conflict of interest with their former area of public employment, until at least two years have elapsed after they have left the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9289/12]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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The Programme for Government contains a commitment to “amend the rules to ensure that no senior public servant (including political appointees) or Minister can work in the private sector in any area involving a potential conflict of interest with their former area of public employment, until at least two years have elapsed after they have left public office”.

This commitment is being progressed by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as part of its work to introduce a legislative framework for the regulation of lobbyists.

A consultation process is underway since shortly before Christmas 2011 in respect of the regulation of lobbying. The closing date for submissions is 29 February 2012. The main issues in respect of which information and views have been requested are based on 10 Principles for Transparency and Integrity in Lobbying developed and approved by all OECD countries in the form of a Recommendation by the OECD Council in February 2010. The issue of conflict of interest is included in this process.

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 275: To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the progress towards implementation of the commitment in the programme for Government to open up all appointments at principal officer level and above to external competition and the commitment that at least one-third of such appointments will be reserved for candidates from outside the civil service for a five year period; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9291/12]

Photo of Caoimhghín Ó CaoláinCaoimhghín Ó Caoláin (Cavan-Monaghan, Sinn Fein)
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Question 276: To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the number of appointments made at principal officer level or above since 5 March 2011; the number of such appointments of candidates from outside the Civil Service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [9292/12]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Minister, Department of Public Expenditure and Reform; Wexford, Labour)
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I propose to take Questions Nos. 275 and 276 together.

As part of the reform of the public service, the Government is committed to the introduction of new skills and talent across all Departments. In the Programme for Government we have said that appointments at Principal Officer level and above will be open to external competition.

Since the introduction of the moratorium on recruitment and promotion in March 2009 no general open recruitment campaigns at principal officer level and above have taken place for positions in the civil service. Some specialised recruitment has taken place where there is a clear and targeted identification of specific skills needs.

Decisions in respect of future recruitment campaigns will be taken in the context of the business needs of the relevant organisation, the moratorium on recruitment and promotion and any redeployment arrangements agreed for the civil and public service.

Since 5 March 2011 there have been 5 appointments at PO1 level to posts in the civil service. One appointee came from the private sector, two from the civil service and the other 2 from the wider public sector.

In relation to appointments above Principal Officer level, the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC) holds competitions for and advises Ministers/ Government, as appropriate, on appointments to civil service posts at Secretary General, Deputy Secretary and Assistant Secretary and equivalent levels. Since early 2007 the policy has been that open competitions are held for Assistant Secretary and Deputy Secretary and equivalent posts. More recently this policy has been extended to Secretary General posts. In the past TLAC did not make recommendations in relation to the filling of a small number of Secretary General posts including that of Secretary General in the Department of Finance. That post was recently advertised openly as was the Comptroller & Auditor General post.

Since 5 March, 2011 there have been 22 appointments made at Assistant Secretary level and upwards. Out of the 22 appointments 3 were from outside the civil service and were at Assistant Secretary level.

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