One of the key objectives of the Croke Park Agreement is to enable a radical transformation of our public services and how they are delivered to citizens and business.
This involves fewer and leaner organisations working more closely together to deliver services in a more integrated way.
It involves developing more innovative and efficient ways of working and delivering services, for example, by maximising the use of new technology and online services in particular.
It also involves:
- organisational rationalisation and restructuring;
- streamlining and simplifying systems, processes and procedures by utilising shared services and joint approaches to issues such as procurement; and
- minimising duplication by re-using data within the system, centralising processing, transaction and other functions.
These objectives are being taken forward in the Action Plans for each sector of the public service and of individual public service organisations.
In addition, a number of public service-wide initiatives have been progressed which will facilitate the achievement of a more integrated public service. These include:
- New standardized annual leave arrangements across all sectors; and
- A new single pension scheme for the public service. The Public Service Pensions (Single Scheme) and Remuneration Bill 2011 was published on 29 September 2011 and passed Second Stage in the Dáil on 19 October 2011.”
Some examples of the progress being made across the public service in these areas include:
- Changing work practices in the Prison service where significant productivity increases are being delivered.
- Additional working hours are being provided in the Education sector. In schools, these hours are being used to increase teaching time as a wide range of school activities such as teacher planning, training and meetings, including parent teacher meetings, are held outside the school day.
- Services are being reconfigured in the acute hospital area to deliver significant efficiencies.
- Steps are being taken to standardise annual leave entitlements across the public service and outdated practices such as ‘bank time’ are being eliminated.
- Despite fiscal constraints, many public bodies are succeeding in delivering service enhancements that will make a tangible difference to the public. For example, the HSE has completed the centralisation of medical card processing This is improving the service to the public and reducing the associated administration costs. It is now also possible to make an application for a medical card online and check the status of applications online.
- The public service is working to achieve efficiencies through greater use of shared services and joint procurement. For example, in the Education Sector a single student grant scheme will be in place for the start of the 2011/2012 academic year, replacing the current system where 4 different grant schemes are administered by 66 bodies. In future, a single agency will administer the grant scheme.
- Local Authorities have been developing a range of ePayment options on their websites including in the areas of waste charges, the Non-Principal Private Residence Charge, parking fines and dog licenses
- Government Offices and agencies are being rationalised and reconfigured to reduce payroll and non-payroll costs. Examples include the Department of Agriculture, Food and Marine which is undertaking a re-configuration and restructuring of its local offices, closing 42 and developing 16 enhanced offices and the Courts Service where a programme to rationalise the number of court venues is continuing.
- Plans are also being made to streamline the employment rights organisations.