Thursday, 2 October 2014
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Appointments to State Boards
202. To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources if he will provide in tabular form the percentage of vacant positions on State boards under the aegis of his Department that were filled from the panels created through open application by the Public Appointments Service by year from 2011 to date in 2014. [37485/14]
This Government, almost immediately on establishment, made important changes in relation to appointments to State Boards with new arrangements widening the opportunity to participate on such Boards by extending a wide invitation for people to submit expressions of interest to serve on the boards of public bodies. In accordance with the Government Decision of 12 April 2011, my predecessor commenced a process of seeking, on the Department’s website, expressions of Interest from persons wishing to be considered for appointment to vacancies on State Boards under the aegis of this Department. This information has been used to inform decisions for such appointments, but I would stress that such invitations are designed to extend the range of suitable persons from which a Minister might make appointments, not to constrain it. While appointments are made by the relevant Minister, I would add that appointments to Boards also include nominations, provided for by statute, by Committees of the Oireachtas, worker directors and ex-officio positions. While the precise structure varies from body to body, in total this can amount to a significant proportion of the Board in certain instances. While I am aware of the service that can be provided by the Public Appointments Service, I would point out that the arrangements I have outlined provide for a wide and varied process of selection for appointment
All appointments are made in light of the applicable legislative requirements, objectives of the organisation and on the basis of appointees having the necessary competencies, expertise and experience to contribute effectively to the work of the particular boards.
In 2011 there were 31 applications received following the advertisement for Expressions of Interest from which 3 appointments were made. In 2012 there were 37 applications received following the advertisement for Expressions of Interest from which 5 appointments were made. In the current 2013/2014 call for Expressions of Interest there have been 118 applications received to date following the advertisement for Expressions of Interest from which 9 appointments were made.
There have been 114 appointments made to State Boards under the aegis of my Department in the period March 2011 to date. The percentage of these appointments filled from the Expressions of Interest received amounts to 15%. It should be noted that about 30% of the appointments made were either ex-officio appointments, reappointments, the appointment of worker directors chosen by election, or appointments made from nominations made by an Oireachtas Committee.
On 30 September, my colleague the Minister of Public Expenditure and Reform announced further steps to strengthen the process of Board appointments and my Department will be liaising with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform to ensure that procedures in my Department are in line with the new measures proposed.