20. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which his Department plans to incorporate further reforms throughout the services with a view to achieving better value for money, improved economic impact and delivery of services to the public; and if he will make a statement on the matter. (Question 53472/17 asked on 14 Dec 2017)
Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Since the first public service reform plan was published in 2011, a comprehensive programme of reform has been implemented and this continues to be a key priority. This is important as the performance of the public service has major implications for the management of our finances and for economic development and employment creation.
The public service reform plan for the period 2014 to 2016 put the public ever more to the centre of what we do, both in terms of service delivery and of transparency, openness and accountability. The final progress report on this plan, published in July 2017, was sent to all Deputies and is also available at www.reformplan.per.gov.ie. The report set out a wide range of improved services for the public and savings across a range of projects. Work continues on implementing reforms initiated under the 2014-2016 plan, including the ambitious programme of reform initiated under the Civil Service renewal plan and other sectoral reform programmes. The plan aims to create a more unified, professional, responsive, open and accountable Civil Service that can provide a world-class service to the State and to the people of Ireland.
As the Deputy may be aware, my Department has been developing a new phase of public service reform, called Our Public Service 2020, which was published earlier this week. This will build on the achievements of the last six years and set a path for improvements beyond 2020. It aims to deliver better outcomes for the public, to support innovation and collaboration and to build public service organisations that are both resilient and agile.
Deputy Bernard J. Durkan: I thank the Minister for his reply. Does he remain satisfied regarding the extent to which ongoing reforms are likely to continue to be of benefit in a meaningful way to the public, the public sector and the taxpayer in general?
Deputy Paschal Donohoe: Yes, I do, although it is not something we can ever take for granted. It is the case that many of the reforms initiated in recent years in our State were instigated at a time of deep crisis. What we need to do now is to anchor the reform efforts of the Government and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform more to the desire that all of our civil and public servants have, which is to do a good job for the people they serve. From dealing with many Government Departments, I know that those who work in front-line services in particular are motivated by the desire to provide a good service to our citizens.
We must have a reform agenda in place that makes it even easier for them to do so.
An Leas-Cheann Comhairle: If Members are agreeable, there is sufficient time to accommodate Deputy Niamh Smyth’s Question No. 21, which is taken with Question No. 33, if we proceed directly to the Minister’s reply and the Deputy confines herself to one supplementary question. Is that agreed? Agreed.