Written answers

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Action Plan for Jobs

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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333. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation his Department's planned introduction of an early warning mechanism on key economic trends, and planned monthly data series to track employment and cost trends; the consultation he had with stakeholders; if he will provide a breakdown on the monthly information he plans to publish; if companies have concerns on the introduction of this system; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15630/15]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Minister, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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As part of the Action Plan for jobs we have set ambitious targets for job creation and to get the economy to sustainable full employment by 2018 with 2.1 million at work, to restore Ireland’s competitiveness and to sustain progress on making Ireland the best small country in which to do business.

As part of the 2015 Action Plan for Jobs I have established a new framework for monitoring and tracking our performance in relation to key impacts and outcomes we are seeking to achieve in areas such as job creation, exports, entrepreneurship and startups, market penetration and innovation, efficiency of public interaction with business, finance and access to talent. My ambition is to ensure we can track the performance of the enterprise base on a continuous basis and have timely data so as to take corrective action where appropriate.

In this context my Department is in the process of developing a monthly Dashboard of Statistics, gathering together the most relevant internal data on the enterprise base, together with national enterprise relevant statistics and other indicators of enterprise performance as published by third parties. Among the key enterprise indicators currently being collected and we are considering publishing in a composite form include data on job announcements, on job vacancies, on work permits and on redundancy notifications. The CSO publishes data regularly in relation to the cost base for enterprise, such as in relation to labour costs, energy and other utilities and services to business costs. There are a wider range of indicators published by third parties that are of interest in terms of the performance of the enterprise base that we are reviewing including in relation to purchasing managers’ indices, trade and investment data and broader labour force statistics from the CSO.

My Department currently collects a range of data that can potentially provide indicators on the health of the enterprise base. My Department provides a range of important regulatory and other business environment support services to enterprise, through which we can ascertain relevant trends on business activity levels in the economy. These activities include, for example, the work of the Companies Registration Office and the Patents Office, of NERA, the Health and Safety Authority, the Workplace Relations Commission. These bodies publish their activity data on a regular basis. My Department is also responsible for the issuing of work permits and receives information on redundancies notifications. The enterprise surveys activity previously carried out by Forfás is now also being undertaken by the Strategic Policy Division within my Department and the results are also published on regular basis. In addition, the Strategic Policy Division continues to support the work of the National Competitiveness Council and continue to prepare benchmarking and data rich reports, such as on the costs of doing business and on Ireland’s competitiveness scorecard. I envisage we can combine in so far as possible these various enterprise related data points in the monitoring and tracking of enterprise performance and potential as part of the new Dashboard of Statistics. The data is being collected by officials in the relevant units and Divisions of the Department, in consultation with relevant agencies and offices of the Department, and is being compiled by the Strategic Policy Division.

The data as currently compiled for the Dashboard does not include any company specific data or information and nor is it intended that company specific data be included in the future. I will not be releasing data and information on individual enterprises. Early warning issues relating to individual enterprises are not part of the data we envisage publishing for the Dashboard and these will continue to be dealt with in the normal way on a strictly confidential basis.

Photo of Dara CallearyDara Calleary (Mayo, Fianna Fail)
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334. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation regarding his Department's planned introduction of an early warning mechanism on key economic trends, and planned monthly data series to track employment and cost trends, if there was an analysis completed on the industrial relations implications where companies are unionised; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15631/15]

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Minister, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation; Dublin North Central, Fine Gael)
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The Action Plan for jobs sets ambitious targets for job creation and enterprise growth over the period to 2018, most notably to achieve sustainable full employment with 2.1 million at work, to restore Ireland’s competitiveness and to continue to make progress to make Ireland the best small country in which to do business.

In the 2015 Action Plan for Jobs I have established a new framework for monitoring and tracking our performance in relation to key impacts and outcomes we are seeking to achieve in terms of jobs, exports, entrepreneurship and startups, market penetration and innovation, efficiency of public interaction with business, finance and access to talent.

I believe it is important that we track at an aggregate level the performance of the enterprise base in delivering on the ambitious jobs targets we have set and also identify the issues we need to address to better support enterprises, including in the area of the cost base. As part of this process we need to know the areas where we are performing well, but also to have the early warning of issues that could impact on our potential for growth.

In this context my Department is in the process of developing a monthly Dashboard of Statistics, gathering together the most relevant internal enterprise related data, together with national enterprise statistics and other indicators of enterprise performance as published by third parties. I believe this data can provide a timely snapshot of the enterprise base and performance and in time it would be of benefit to make some of that data as collected more widely available.

My Department currently collects a range of data through its enterprise agency network, regulatory and administrative functions that can provide an indication on the health of the enterprise base. These activities include for example the Companies Registration Office and the Patents Office, NERA, the Health and Safety Authority, the Workplace Relations Commission and others. My Department is also responsible for the issuing of work permits and receives information on redundancies notifications. The enterprise surveys activity previously carried out by Forfás are also now being undertaken by the Strategic Policy Division within my Department. In addition, the Strategic Policy Division continues to support the work of the National Competitiveness Council in preparing benchmarking and data rich reports.

The data being compiled for the Dashboard does not include any company specific data or information and nor is it intended that company specific data be included in the future. I will not be releasing data or information on individual named enterprises as part of this proposal. The confidentiality of any engagements between the Department or the development agencies will not be impacted. As we will not be publishing individual enterprise data as part of this initiative, there are no industrial relations issues arising.

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