Tuesday, 28 June 2011
Department of Education and Skills
School Services Staff
Question 175: To ask the Minister for Education and Skills if ancillary staff at a college (details supplied) in County Westmeath, who do not wish to transfer to the new private management company, can be redeployed in the wider public sector in the Athlone area. [17202/11]
The school referred to by the Deputy is one of 8 new schools which were approved for inclusion in the 3rd Bundle of schools to be procured via Public Private Partnership (PPP). The procurement of these schools is ongoing and it is expected that subject to the successful completion of the tendering and local authority planning process that a contract for the delivery of these schools will be finalised in early 2012.
The Department of Education and Skills operates the Design Build Finance and Maintain (DBFO) model for PPP projects. This provides that the maintenance of the buildings over the 25 year period of the contract becomes the responsibility of the PPP Operator and ancillary staff currently employed by the school will be given the option, under EU legislation, of transferring their employment to the PPP Company.
Officials from my Department met with representatives of the ancillary staff of the school mentioned by the Deputy in April 2011 and committed that all available options will be presented to the staff in question at the earliest opportunity. It will not be possible to do this in advance of the appointment of a successful tenderer and a scheduled completion date being finalised. At that point further discussions will take place with the relevant staff to ensure the full suite of available options can be presented.
I would also like to point out that the Government has given certain commitments to public servants under the Public Service Agreement 2010-2014 including a commitment that compulsory redundancy will not apply within the public service, save where existing exit provisions apply. Accordingly, for the lifetime of the Public Service Agreement, any serving public servants in the VEC who decide following the presentation of the full suite of options, that they do not wish to transfer to the PPP company are protected from compulsory redundancy, subject to them agreeing to re-deployment to another public service position in line with the provisions in that respect contained in the Agreement.