Thursday, 12 October 2017
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
19. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation further to Parliamentary Question No. 31 of 11 September 2017, the progress which has been made to fill these vacancies in view of the threat of Brexit for business here; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [42771/17]
As the Deputy will be aware, an additional €3 million was secured for my Department in respect of Pay in Budget 2017 targeted specifically to assist with increased staffing needs for the Department and a number of our Agencies to deal with the evolving Brexit scenario. These funds are enabling the Department and, primarily, our Agencies to recruit additional staff to supplement existing staffing numbers in the context of the workload associated with Brexit.
The additional €3m was allocated as follows:
- Enterprise Ireland (€1,700,000)
- IDA Ireland (€750,000)
- Science Foundation Ireland (€150,000)
- The Health and Safety Authority (€150,000), and
- The Department itself (€250,000).
Since the parliamentary question to which the Deputy refers was taken, the following progress has been made in respect of filling Brexit related vacancies:
Of the 39 Brexit-related posts for Enterprise Ireland, 28 have been filled to date and 11 are currently under active recruitment. It is anticipated that seven posts will be filled by the end of October with the remaining four to be in place by year end.
The IDA identified an additional 10 client-facing posts and have filled seven of these to date. Recruitment is underway for the remaining three posts. In this regard the IDA is engaged in rigorous recruitment processes across a wide variety of channels to ensure that the best candidates are identified.
Of the three Brexit-related posts for Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), one appointment has been made with the candidate due to commence in November, and a second post is at contract stage with an anticipated start-date in January. Theremaining post is anticipated to be filled shortly thereafter.
In addition, SFI has a number of existing staff allocated with Brexit related responsibilities and an internal Brexit team, led by one of its Senior Directors, focusing on Brexit related initiatives.
With regard to the Health and Safety Authority (HSA), recruitment is underway for two Brexit related posts. In respect of one of the posts (Grade III Inspector) a recruitment campaign was conducted however as no suitable candidate was found, new interviews are scheduled for November 2017. In relation to the second post (Socio Economist), discussions are under way with other Agencies on the possibility of a secondment to fill this role. It is expected that both posts will be filled in 2017. Sanction for the HSA in respect of a third Brexit-related post is being actively considered by the Department.
With regard to my own Department, a dedicated Brexit Unit was established in 2016 and is led at Assistant Secretary level within the EU Affairs and Trade Policy Division, to coordinate and represent the Departmental and Agencies response to Brexit and to support me in my position at the Cabinet Committee dealing with Brexit. The designated official, at Assistant Secretary level, is supported by a staff compliment of five (one Principal Officer, two Assistant Principals, one Higher Executive Officer and one Clerical Officer). An additional staffing resource is currently being sought to support the Brexit Unit and it is hoped that an assignment will be made in the coming weeks.
The work of very many Business Units within my Department and our Agencies are impacted by Brexit. We are prioritising the Brexit challenges and will actively keep the staffing requirements under review through workforce planning.
Recently, a further additional €3 million in respect of Pay has been secured for my Department in Budget 2018, for the purposes of recruiting additional staff resources to further respond to Brexit and help meet the Government plans to double Ireland’s global footprint.