Wednesday, 19 January 2011
Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation
Public Sector Pay Agreements
Dara Calleary (Minister of State with special responsibility for Public Service Transformation and Labour Affairs, Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment; Minister of State, Department of An Taoiseach; Minister of State, Department of Finance; Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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The Croke Park Agreement has committed the Civil and Public Service management to working with their staff to increase efficiency and reduce costs across the public sector. In that regard, my Department and our Agencies submitted Croke Park Implementation Plans last October to the Department of Finance and the Agreement "Implementation Body" for consideration. We submitted updated Plans on 6th January to reflect the implications of Budget 2011 and the National Recovery Plan and we await a response from the Department of Finance and the Implementation Body on our proposals.
Due to the nature of public expenditure generally, the area where greatest savings could be shown would be via a reduction in pay budgets – that is, reducing numbers in the Civil and Public Service. Through the effects of the various "exit" schemes and the moratorium on recruitment, staff levels in my Department have already dropped significantly. Since the coming into operation of the Incentivised "Exit" Schemes and the moratorium on recruitment in Spring 2009, overall staffing numbers have fallen by over 9% while demand for services has increased.
My Department's Croke Park Implementation Plan has sought to combine high-level proposals which will impact across the Department and our Agencies together with individual items that will have a more local impact in a particular business area. In addition, implementation of some proposals are wholly dependent on the nature of how staff and Unions facilitate implementation of the mechanisms negotiated centrally to implement the agreement in areas such as general staff mobility, shared services and outsourcing.
In relation to the calculation of the savings that should accrue from implementation of the Plan, while some of the anticipated savings are relatively easy to calculate - for example where a change in work practices is anticipated to yield up a full post in a full year - it will only be as many of the other proposals are further developed and rolled-out that estimates of the potential cash savings can be provided. In addition, many of the proposals in our Draft Plan will lead to greater efficiencies, although not all will generate specific cash savings.
Furthermore, I might point out that the Plan has been set against increasing work volumes in certain areas of the Department. For example, many of the bodies in the Employment Rights disputes resolution family as well as a number of other "frontline" areas are already dealing with significantly increased workloads, while we expect increased demands across the Department arising from Ireland's EU Presidency in 2013.
Finally our Croke Park Implementation Plan – and those of our Agencies - must also be set against the backdrop of further reductions required of my Department and our Agencies resulting from implementation of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) and the EU/IMF Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) of late 2010. During the lifetime of the Croke Park Agreement, therefore, additional measures will be effected to achieve cost reductions to meet our NRP and other obligations and such additional measures will be incorporated into future iterations of the Croke Park Agreement Implementation Plan. Each iteration of our Plan, and our Progress Reports on Implementation, will be published on the Department and individual Agency websites.