Written answers

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht

Departmental Bodies Data

Photo of Patrick O'DonovanPatrick O'Donovan (Limerick, Fine Gael)
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1043. To ask the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the number of agencies, quangos or other bodies within, funded by or established by her Department which have been scrapped, merged or reduced since this Government was formed; the amount saved in each case; the reduction in staff as a result; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [1008/15]

Photo of Heather HumphreysHeather Humphreys (Cavan-Monaghan, Fine Gael)
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The Public Service Reform Plan, published by the Government on 17 November 2011, outlined a series of rationalisation measures relating to agencies and other public bodies, including measures related to bodies funded from my Department's Vote. In this regard, my Department conducted a critical examination of the structure and operation of the institutions included in the Public Service Reform Plan and developed a comprehensive and practical approach to the implementation of the various Government Decisions in this area.

Savings were made primarily in three ways:

- Through the ending of payments to Chairpersons and members of boards or advisory councils;

- Through a programme of shared services between institutions, including, for example, in retail, security, marketing, procurement and storage; and

- Through the provision of services by my Department to some institutions, including human resources services and financial services, thus relieving those institutions of the need to incur a cost in accessing these services.

The functions of Culture Ireland were merged fully into my Department during 2013 and the Board was replaced with an Expert Committee whose members provide their time on a pro bono basis. In addition, the term of office of the Placenames Commission expired in October 2012 and was replaced by an Expert Committee which also operates on a pro bono basis.

Furthermore, a formal Framework for Co-operation and Improved Services between the National Gallery of Ireland, the Irish Museum of Modern Art and the Crawford Art Gallery was developed and endorsed by Government. Arising from that, the three Galleries signed a formal Service Level Agreement outlining a number of specific measures to share a number of services across the three Institutions. Legislation has been prepared to give effect to these changes and to reduce the number on boards, provide for pro bono service and gender equality on each board.

In December 2013, a new Human Resources Shared Services Unit was established in my Department to provide HR support to the National Museum of Ireland. Work is continuing between the National Museum of Ireland, the National Library of Ireland and the National Archives of Ireland to improve co-operation between these institutions and to progress shared services. Legislation to formally enact these changes and changes to board structure is being progressed.

I am satisfied that this programme of change has made a significant contribution to achieving the overall €20m savings target set out in the Public Service Reform Plan, while at the same time enhancing the operations of the bodies concerned.


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