Protocol and General Division
Download Protocol and General Division...
Department of the Taoiseach Role and Activities
Role of the Department of the Taoiseach and Structure of the Department
European Union Affairs
Public Service Reform
Economic Policy Division
Social Policy Division
Northern Ireland Division
Corporate Affairs _____________
Role of the Department of the Taoiseach The Department’s role derives from the constitutional and ceremonial role of the Taoiseach as Head of Government. The Department’s three key functions are:
providing support services to the Taoiseach, Government Chief Whip and Ministers of State
supporting the efficient functioning of Government
supporting Government policy direction and co-ordination
The core tasks of the Department include:
Supporting the Taoiseach in his role as Head of Government (including all policy, management and communications aspects of that role)
Supporting the Taoiseach in his constitutional and parliamentary duties (including provision of comprehensive briefing for Dáil appearances, PQs, Leaders Questions etc)
Supporting the Taoiseach in his North/South and international duties (including the European Council, North/South Ministerial Council, British-Irish Council and leading on key bilateral relationships, eg with US, UK, major EU countries, China, trade missions etc)
Supporting the Taoiseach in his engagements outside government (including meetings/speeches with business, trade unions, international delegations, the churches, community, voluntary and other civic society groups)
Private Office of the Taoiseach
Secretariat to the Government
Office of the Government Chief Whip
Government Protocol Service
Government Press and Information Service (including online services and media monitoring)
liaison with the President and the Houses of the Oireachtas
providing advice to the Taoiseach on policy matters that are a national priority
leading and participating in cross-Departmental initiatives, including through the Cabinet Committee system
Service to the Government The Department supports Government decision-making by providing a comprehensive and effective service in preparation for and following Cabinet meetings. This remit includes effective communication with other Departments to ensure an integrated response across the Government agenda, and promoting the translation of policies into consistent, coherent and appropriate service provision.
Cabinet Committees As the range of issues considered by Government becomes more complex the Cabinet Committee system provides a mechanism for more efficient decision making and more effective use of Government time. They have become an important part of the machinery of Government and a core part of the work of the Department.
Essentially Cabinet Committees:
(i) allow more detailed consideration of policy options by relevant Ministers and Ministers of State before they are submitted to Government for final decision
(ii) co-ordinate issues which affect a range of Departments and where direct political oversight is necessary
(iii) provide accountability for implementation of major cross-departmental strategies through joint progress reports by relevant officials
Generally, as the issues that Cabinet Committees consider are cross cutting and complex, the Taoiseach and Department are seen as the honest broker. Cabinet Committees are usually (but not always) chaired by the Taoiseach, and the Department of the Taoiseach provides the secretariat to each Cabinet Committee, preparing agendas and circulating papers etc.
In most cases, the Department also chairs a Senior Officials Group (which includes political advisers as appropriate) to prepare papers for the Cabinet Committee as well as dealing with issues which don't need attention at political level. Each Senior Officials Group includes the Department of Finance as well as relevant line Departments.
Current Cabinet Committees include Economic Renewal, European Affairs, Public Service Transformation, Social Inclusion, Health and the Irish Language.
Legislative Programme & Political Reform The Government Chief Whip plays a key role in ensuring that the Government’s legislative programme is implemented. He chairs a Legislative Committee which drafts the Legislative Programme for each Oireachtas session for Government approval and monitors progress in the drafting of the Bills listed on it. His Office also schedules Dáil time to process Government Bills. The Government Chief Whip also plays a key role in advancing the Government’s priorities for the reform of Dáil procedures. Communications The Taoiseach is the focal point for the articulation of Government policy whether through major addresses, statements and questions in the Dáil or through media engagements. The communications/media element of the role of Taoiseach has been greatly accentuated in recent years with the proliferation of 24/7 news outlets. The Government Press Office located in the Department provides a comprehensive information service to the national and international media and to the public on behalf of the Government, the Taoiseach and his Department, and promotes a coordinated approach to media matters across Government Departments. Over the past year the Department has facilitated the development of an enhanced web-based service to the media and the public. Merrion Street.ie the new Government news website went live in July 2010. All Government press releases are accessible on
the site via RSS feed. The site uses audio, video, text, photographs and is linked to Youtube, Flickr, Facebook and Twitter.
Northern Ireland The Taoiseach is the pre-eminent political leader on the island of Ireland, as well as the leading representative of the nationalist tradition in Ireland. In recent years, building the relationship with unionism has been an essential part of that role.
Along with the British Prime Minister, he represents the foundation of the relationship that brought about peace.
In practical terms, he leads for the Government at twice-yearly meetings of the North/South Ministerial Council and of the British-Irish Council. He also leads the development of the bilateral relationship with Britain and the US, both of which continue to be strongly influenced by issues related to the North, through his engagements with the Prime Minister and President respectively. International The Taoiseach represents Ireland at the European Council, where he frequently attends meetings with other Heads of State and Government unaccompanied. The European Council is playing an increasingly important role at the centre of the political life of the European Union. The Department ensures the most effective participation by the Taoiseach in its meetings, including through maintaining key contacts in Prime Ministers’ offices around Europe and at high level in the European Institutions. The Department ensures a strategic and coherent ‘whole of government’ approach to EU business, bringing together other Departments to identify and advance work on priority concerns.
Ireland's current economic situation places a premium on the Taoiseach's taking on a strong leadership role in the international arena, in terms of trade and investment promotion, improving our bilateral and multilateral relations and working to restore and enhance our international reputation.
The EU and International Division provides a dedicated service to the Taoiseach to support him in discharging his responsibilities in this area, including ensuring a whole of Government perspective and drawing on the advice, information and resources of other Departments and agencies, as well as other sources.
Public Service Transformation Comprehensive Public Service Transformation is a key element of national recovery and the transformation programme needs to be driven with energy and innovation. The Department of the Taoiseach has played an important role in the transformation programme over many years and was centrally involved in the OECD Review of the Public Service and the Task Force on the Public Service, which led to the Transforming Public Services programme. More recently, the Department has worked closely with the Department of Finance in the negotiations that led to the Public Service Agreement and the implementation phase that is now underway.
The Department has responsibility for the management of a number of significant specific elements of the Public Service transformation programme including the Senior Public Service, the Organisational Review Programme and the better regulation agenda. In addition, the Department provides the secretariat to the Cabinet Committee on Transforming Public Services and other key groups and manages a range of other transformation initiatives, particularly in the communications area. Importantly, the Taoiseach and his Department have a key role in terms of the overall leadership, coordination and advocacy of the Public Service transformation programme.
Department of the Taoiseach March 2011
Philip Hamell Assistant Secretary Government Secretariat
Support for Cabinet Briefing and dissemination of outcome of Cabinet Meetings National Security Committee Dialogue with Faith Communities Cross-govt coordination: - International Financial Services Industry - Marine policy
Protocol and General
Protocol to Taoiseach State ceremonial Liaison with and advice to President Government Legislation Programme Dáil Reform Taoiseach’s political accountability for Law Offices Moriarty Tribunal
John Callinan Assistant Secretary EU and International Division Supporting Taoiseach as member of European Council through HOSG network International organisations – UN, OECD etc at Head of Govt level Trade missions – planning and support Organisation of bilateral visits – incoming and outgoing
Philip Kelly Assistant Secretary Public Service Reform
Transforming Public Service Programme Office - supporting Cabinet Cttee - participation in Cork Park Agreement Implementation Body - promotion and advocacy of reform agenda (e.g. Taoiseach’s Awards) Organisational Review Programme (assessing Departmental capacity)
Martin Fraser Assistant Secretary
Social Partnership (Industrial Relations) Continuing engagement with employers and trade unions on pay and workplace relations Employment regulation issues Pensions policy
Whole of Government coordination on: - economic renewal - competitiveness - innovation - labour market policy - climate change policy - social inclusion - national disability strategy - life-cycle perspective on social programmes
Taoiseach’s role in North South Ministerial Council and British Irish Council
Personnel and Management Services
Social dialogue/social partnership
Political accountability for CSO
CrossDepartmental coordination of allisland agenda items Relations with UK and US at head of/whole of Govt levels Programme of Commemoration, especially of 1912-22 Centenaries Specific bilateral frameworks e.g. Scotland, Newfoundland
Finance, including transparency on expenditure IT support Support for Private and Constituency Offices of Taoiseach and Minister(s) of State G.I.S. - staffing and support
0.5 P.O. 1 P.O.
Northern Ireland Division
National Reform Programme under Europe 2020
Senior Public Service (establishment and development) Better Regulation Unit - supporting Regulatory Impact Analysis - implementation of policy on economic regulation - Annual Regulatory Forum
Economic and Social Policy
2 P.O.s (1 on loan from D/Foreign Affairs)
GOVERNMENT SECRETARIAT Government Meetings The primary role of the Government Secretariat is to provide an effective service to the Government in advance of, at, and following Government meetings. This includes ensuring that Memoranda for Government meet the requirements set out in the Cabinet Handbook, preparing the agendas for and minutes of Government meetings, compiling briefing for the Taoiseach for the meetings and communicating Government decisions to Ministers and Departments concerned once they are made. In 2010 there were 78 meetings of the Government, over 1,000 Memoranda were cleared for the Government agenda and over 1,000 Government decisions were issued. Support for Departmental Co-ordination Mechanisms Government Secretariat also provides an ongoing service to the Department as a whole in relation to co-ordination of the Department’s consideration of draft Memoranda for Government and distribution of PQs addressed to the Taoiseach. In 2010, 710 PQs (419 oral and 291 written) were answered. Support to Interdepartmental Co-ordination Mechanisms Government Secretariat operates as a support to the processes of the Government and on occasion where required takes on tasks with a whole of Government perspective, e.g. chairing / participating in ad hoc working groups / interdepartmental committees established from time to time. eCabinet The Government Secretariat is responsible for the operation and maintenance of the eCabinet system, a dedicated IT system for distributing Government Memoranda (including draft Memos for Departmental consultation), compiling the Government agenda and minutes and distributing Government decisions. Other Activities Where requested, the Secretariat also provides advice on the Code of Conduct for Office Holders under the Ethics Acts and on the FOI Act provisions dealing with Government records. Priorities for 2011 Support Government meetings Prepare agenda and circulate memoranda and decisions to agreed timelines Manage advices to the President Support appointment of new Government in accordance with Constitutional and statutory requirements.
Protocol and General Division The Division provides a protocol service to the Taoiseach in respect of his official engagements and plans/organises certain major State events (such as the National Day of Commemoration). The Division also assists the Taoiseach in discharging his duties in relation to the President, the Offices of the Attorney General, DPP and Chief State Solicitor, the Law Reform Commission and Constitutional Reform; and deals with administrative matters relating to the Moriarty Tribunal. It also assists the Government Chief Whip with his work in relation to Dáil Reform and the Government’s Legislative Programme. The Division also co-ordinates FOI requests received in the Department, maintains statistics on them and ensures compliance with certain statutory requirements under the FOI Acts. Major State Events In 2011, the Division will plan and organise a number of significant events, including the Presidential Inauguration in November, the National Day of Commemoration (NDOC) in July and the Commemoration of the 1916 Easter Rising (in April). The Division (in consultation with D/Foreign Affairs) plans and organises the elements of inwards State Visits involving the Taoiseach (e.g. the Government lunch). The next scheduled visit by a Head of State is Prince Albert II of Monaco on 4-6 April (the meeting and lunch with the Taoiseach being on Monday 4th). No other inward State visits have been finalised as yet but a visit from the UK at Head of State level is envisaged. Relations with the President The Division assists the Taoiseach in his Constitutional duties relating to the President. The Taoiseach meets the President (usually 5/6 times a year) to brief her on domestic and international matters and the Division co-ordinates the briefing material for these meetings. Government Legislative Programme The Government Legislation Committee, which is chaired by the Chief Whip, drafts the Government’s legislative programme and monitors progress towards publication of Bills. The Division prepares a memorandum for Government on legislative priorities for each Session and provides regular progress reports for consideration by the Committee during the Session. Constitutional Reform In addition to a Referendum on Children’s Rights, the prospective Government partners have signalled a comprehensive programme of Constitutional Reform in relation to the Institutions of the State (i.e. Dáil, Seanad, President, Government and the Courts/Judiciary). The Division assists the Taoiseach (who is the member of the Government with overall responsibility for Constitutional Reform) with his duties, although individual reforms will be progressed by line Departments. This Department in the past has been involved in setting up bodies/fora to consider Constitutional Reform, such as the Informal All-Party Committee on the Constitution. Dáil Reform In addition to institutional reform, the prospective Government partners have signalled extensive proposals to reform the way the Dáil works, including proposals relating to the legislative process; the committee system; enhancing the roles of TDs; and the annual Budget process.
Where the proposed reforms can be implemented by changes to Dáil procedures, the Division will assist the Chief Whip in developing and implementing proposals as required. Moriarty Tribunal The Division deals with administrative matters pertaining to the Tribunal, which is funded through the Department’s Vote. The focus is now on the Tribunal completing its work and issuing the Second (Final) Part of its Report as soon as possible, compatible with fair procedures. Following this, the winding-up of the Tribunal (including the Sole Member inviting and dealing with applications for third party costs) will proceed as quickly as practicable. Relations with the Legal Offices (i.e. Offices of the Attorney General, Chief State Solicitor and Director Public Prosecutions) and the Law Reform Commission The Legal Offices come under the aegis of the Department. The Division assists the Taoiseach in discharging his responsibilities in relation to administrative matters pertaining to these Offices.
Secretary General’s Office Relations with the Office of the President Provides support to the Office of the President in relation to:
Programme of visits to EU member States: Visit to Spain on 21-23 March. Incoming State/High-level Visits: o Prince Albert of Monaco, 4-6 April. o British State Visit o Possible US visit Advice in relation to certain invitations, correspondence, travel in NI and abroad, security matters and the arrangements for meetings with the Taoiseach.
The National Security Committee Meeting both on a regular basis and in times of special need, the Committee reviews security assessments in the context of domestic and international developments. It does not have responsibility for operational matters. The Secretary General to the Government briefs the Taoiseach on any issues arising. Ministerial transport and protection Recommendations to be developed with D/Justice and Garda Síochána to meet target that cost of Ministerial transport to be halved Government jet/ MATS aircraft Recommendations to be prepared with D/Defence and the Defence Forces for new code of practice for use of government jet, ensuring transparent and cost effective travel. Structured process of Dialogue with Churches and Faith Communities Since the process was inaugurated in February 2007, general and bilateral meetings have taken place between Government and the Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Ireland, the Presbyterian Church, the Methodist church, the Religious Society of Friends, the Muslim, Jewish and Baha’i communities and the Humanist Association. A dialogue at official level has also continued with the churches, faith communities and nonconfessional organisations. UN Alliance of Civilisations Arising from the dialogue initiative with Churches, support is provided to the Department of Foreign Affairs in relation to The Alliance of Civilization (AoC) under the auspices of the United Nations. The 4th Global Forum of the UNAOC will be hosted by Qatar and will take place on 10-12 December 2011. Human Rights Ireland’s examination under the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism of the United Nations Human Rights Council will be on 6 October, 2011. The Government report on Ireland is due to be submitted on 4 July, 2011. Assistance will be provided to D/CEG (Chair) in preparing this report and responding to the views coming from civil society, NGOs and ultimately with the examination by UNHRC on Ireland’s record.
Cabinet Committees: Cabinet Committee on Irish and the Gaeltacht o A continuing Committee under successive governments. Commemorations/Exhibitions Centenary of the Easter Rising Centenary of the Great War The development in coming months of a commemorative framework for the period to 2016, based on a preliminary consideration by the Taoiseach and Government of the appropriate scope and depth. In addition to the Centenary planning arrangements related to the Independence struggle, other anniversaries of national and international significance will require attention, e.g. The City of Derry will be the inaugural UK City of Culture in 2013. The assistance of the Taoiseach was requested to ensure that the dual heritage of the city would be strongly presented. Following the success of Expo2010 in Shanghai, the co-ordination of national preparations for Expo2015 to take place at Milan should commence this year. Following the planning phase, project delivery for Italy should commence in 2013 and continue to end 2015. Further attention is required to consolidate the arrangements arising from Expo2010 in China, including reproductions by Chinese Municipal authorities of the Ireland pavilion as exhibition centres, the twinning of 3rd level colleges in Ireland and China, the agreement of student exchange and placement programmes and the development of a Confucius Institute at UCD as a joint venture supported by the Governments of Ireland and China. A high level official and business delegation from the City of Tianjin (pop 10 million) will visit Ireland from 10-17 March to progress arrangements for development of an Irish themed amenity zone (several Dublin streets replicated and the national pavilion from Expo. Several Irish entrepreneurs are involved. (Tianjin is the port city for Beijing – 20mins by rail. It is developing rapidly as an internal tourism/amenity resort.) The continuing development of certain annual commemorative initiatives of recent years:o Military commemoration at GPO, Dublin at Easter (re-instated since 2006). o Daniel O’Connell commemoration at Glasnevin cemetery, Dublin (May), inaugurated 2007. o Great Famine commemoration at changing provincial locations in Ireland (May), inaugurated 2008. o Great Famine commemoration – outreach to diaspora (May), inaugurated 2008. o National War Memorial Gardens, Islandbridge, Dublin (July) in partnership with the Royal British Legion (inaugurated in 2006) Planning will continue with Glasnevin Cemetery Management, OPW and Defence Forces re optimal timing and content of an annual Michael Collins commemoration, possibly on the anniversary of his death (22 August).
International Financial Services Division
Role of the Division The Division works to ensure the continued development and success of the international financial services industry in Ireland, with the support of Government Departments, agencies and the industry, by acting as a facilitator, through the mechanism of the IFSC Clearing House Group (CHG) and the various Working Groups which operate under the aegis of the Department. The Division arranges and notifies all Groups of agreed dates for meetings throughout the year and acts as the Secretariat to each Group. It also responds to requests from Departments, industry and agencies for bilateral meetings on specific items of importance.
Preparation of a new strategy review for the future development of the international financial services industry
Advancing the key recommendations of the strategy, through the structure of the Clearing House Group (CHG) and the other IFSC Working Groups, to ensure that the progress outlined is achieved
Development of a Green IFSC Initiative as set out in both the Report of the High Level Group on Green Enterprise and the Smart Economy document
Working with IFSC Ireland to support the marketing efforts of IDA Ireland and Enterprise Ireland in attracting new companies to Ireland.
The IFSC Clearing House Group (CHG) provides a broadly-based forum to identify and consider issues of major concern to the long- term development of the international financial services industry in Ireland, including the strategic development of new business opportunities and the progress of relevant legislation, and it identifies the need for responsibility to be assigned for overseeing and reporting to the Government on any appropriate initiatives in this area. The Clearing House Group is chaired by the Secretary General of the Department of the Taoiseach and its membership includes representatives of industry associations and of prominent figures from the international financial services industry. It also includes representatives from the Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Finance, the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, the Central Bank, IDA Ireland, Enterprise Ireland, the Revenue Commissioners and the Stock Exchange.
The IFSC Banking & Treasury Working Group is concerned with banking, asset financing and corporate treasury, together with taxation issues which arise for all areas of the international financial services industry in Ireland.
The IFSC Funds Working Group considers the administration and management of investment funds and examines the future of the funds industry in Ireland.
The IFSC Insurance Working Group considers issues of relevance to the continued development, expansion and competitiveness of Ireland as a reputable centre for the provision of insurance products and services.
The IFSC Pensions Working Group is involved in the promotion of Ireland as a prime location for the centralised management of pension funds. The Department of the Taoiseach, the Department of Finance, the Pensions Board, IDA Ireland, and Financial Services Ireland (FSI) are all members of the Pensions Group.
The IFSC Asset Management Working Group considers issues of relevance to the development of a broader-based institutional asset management business in Ireland. The focus of the Working Group is to advise the IFSC Clearing House Group on the fiscal and regulatory measures needed to promote Ireland as a centre for international asset management activities; to identify impediments (fiscal, regulatory, skills or otherwise) and suggest appropriate remedies; and to validate and support the implementation of an appropriate marketing strategy.
European Union Affairs The Division works to support the Taoiseach in relation to EU matters generally and, in particular, to ensure the most effective participation by the Taoiseach in the business of the European Council. As Head of Government, the Taoiseach has a crucial role in ensuring a ‘whole-of-government’ approach to EU business. Entry into force of the Treaty of Lisbon has seen the European Council (ie EU Heads of State or Government) playing an increasingly central role in the key policy matters facing the Union. Since the appointment of Herman Van Rompuy as its permanent President, the Council has met more frequently. The recent economic crisis has also seen several ad hoc meetings of Heads of State or Government of the euro area take place. This increased tempo is likely to continue. The Division provides policy advice and analysis, facilitating coordinated ‘whole of government’ policy positions, and ensuring useful and appropriate briefing. Central to this effort is the need to maintain high level contacts with other Prime Ministers’ Offices and with senior officials in the European Institutions, as is drawing together intelligence gathered by our Embassies in other Member States. There is a growing tendency for important matters to be prepared ahead of summits by ‘Sherpas’, representatives of the Heads of State or Government. The Assistant Secretary in EU Division fulfils this function. In this, we collaborate very closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs, and other Departments as appropriate The Division chairs and supports the work of the Senior Officials Group on European Affairs, which aims to ensure a strategic approach to items on the European Union agenda, identifying key policies and objectives for Ireland, and ensuring coordinated approaches across Departments. This Group works not only to coordinate on live policy matters, but also to take a more medium-long term perspective on Ireland’s interests and positioning. The Division also provides the Secretariat for the Cabinet Committee on European Affairs. Through the work of the Inter-Departmental Coordinating Committee on European Union Affairs (ICCEUA), which has been chaired by the Minister for State for European Affairs, the Division oversees the transposition of EU law in Ireland and related infringement cases. It maintains an online database to facilitate this work. The Department uses its central position and influence to press for continual improvements in this area and, in particular, to ensure that Ireland meets its commitment at European level to stay below a 1% transposition deficit. The Division works to strengthen Ireland’s bilateral relations with other Member States and the EU institutions, including in proposing and supporting incoming and outgoing visits. Key Priorities in the Period Ahead Economic Issues: The Heads of State or Government of the euro area will meet on 11 March. This meeting is intended to reach a coordinated euro area position ahead of the meeting of the European Council on 24/25 March, which is expected to take decisions on a comprehensive package of measures to address Europe’s economic crisis. Some of these are of particular importance for Ireland, including reform of the current European Financial Stability Facility (EFSF) and creation of a permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) to take its place in 2013. Interest rates applying within these facilities arise as part of this discussion.
On foot of German and French pressure to adopt a ‘Competitiveness Pact’ for the euro area, the European Council is to acknowledge a decision of euro area Member States to commit to taking “further steps to achieve a new policy of economic coordination”. President Van Rompuy is preparing this work through the ‘Sherpa’ network. Each euro area Member State has been consulted bilaterally and a meeting at 17 has also taken place. A further ‘sherpa’ meeting is planned for 8 March. A key issue for Ireland in this regard is corporation tax. More broadly, managing Ireland’s relations with its EU partners in the context of implementation of the EU/IMF Programme will be an important priority in the period ahead. Tax: not withstanding the above, the Commission is, in any case, due to bring forward its long-awaited proposal for a Common Consolidated Corporate Tax Base (CCCTB) in the near future, possibly in advance of the March European Council. Ireland has said that, while sceptical as to any possible benefits of the proposal, it is prepared to engage constructively in discussions. Multi-Annual Financial Framework for the Union: Negotiation of the new ‘financial perspectives’, or EU budget, for the period post-2013 will begin in earnest this year. A proposal from the Commission is expected in June. Defending Ireland’s interests, especially on the CAP, will be key. Ireland’s Presidency of the European Union, January-June 2013 Though part of a longer time frame, planning is already taking place for Ireland’s Presidency of the EU in the first half of 2013. Inter alia, this is seen as an opportunity to redress some of the recent damage to Ireland’s reputation within the EU.
International Affairs The Division's role is to support the Taoiseach in: (a) strengthening Ireland's bilateral relations at Head of Government level with other countries and, in particular, in developing trade, tourism, investment and cultural links with them; (b) participating in key international fora such as the United Nations and OECD and major summits between the EU and other global regions such as ASEM (Asia), EU - LAC (Latin America), EU - Africa, EU - Med. (Mediterannean countries) and Eastern Partnership (Ukraine, Georgia etc.), aimed at developing shared responses to the challenges and opportunities arising from globalisation; and (c) promoting Ireland's core values - such as respect for human rights, democracy, disarmament and the peaceful settlement of disputes - at international level. The Division provides a dedicated service to the Taoiseach in carrying out his responsibilities in international affairs, whether in terms of engaging in Dail or Government business, meeting bilaterally with other Heads of State or Government, participating in the work of multilateral organisations or otherwise. The day to day work involves filtering and assessing a very considerable volume of information and advice on a wide range of international issues from a range of sources, including the Department of Foreign Affairs and other Departments and reducing it to manageable proportions for the Taoiseach’s attention/clarifying issues/mediating/adding value. The overall objective is to ensure that the Taoiseach receives the best possible advice and other supports in the timeliest manner. The particular services provided by the Division to the Taoiseach include making the necessary organisational and logistical arrangements for visits abroad and meetings with visiting Heads of State or Government, liaising with other Departments and agencies as required, providing advice, briefing/speaking material for meetings at bilateral and multilateral level, arranging for follow - up from such meetings and more generally, keeping the Taoiseach briefed on major international developments, in consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs as appropriate. The Division also participates in a number of relevant groups, such as the Foreign Trade Council, the Inter - Departmental Committee on Peacekeeping and the Inter - Departmental Committee on Development. The objective here is to ensure that the Taoiseach's views and a whole - of - Government perspective are brought to bear on the work of these groups. Key Priorities in the Period Ahead The two key priorities in international affairs in the period ahead must be (a) the promotion of trade, tourism, investment and Irish culture as the key to economic recovery and (b) improving Ireland’s international image in the light of recent reputational damage. A proactive role by the Taoiseach, as Head of Government, will be critical, whether in terms of leading bilateral/trade missions or spearheading cross – Governmental efforts on both fronts. Proposal for an Intensified Programme of Taoiseach - led Trade Missions: It is clear that the main way out of our current economic difficulties is economic growth through trade. It is proposed to develop an intensified programme of trade missions led by the Taoiseach. This would serve as a focus for a significantly enhanced effort to develop our trade and investment links with other countries and could have an important morale boosting effect domestically, by
showing the Taoiseach championing Irish companies to win exports abroad and jobs at home and by focusing people's minds on the future. Text withheld under section 24 (1) (c) - the international affairs of the State. Communications Along with Economic Policy Division, the Division is a leading a process aimed at developing an international communications strategy and campaign to enhance Ireland’s international image and reputation, and to refocus attention on to Ireland’s many strengths. Work is progressing to identify key messages and approaches. This will be brought to Government at an early date to seek approval for the further elaboration and development of the strategy. Climate Change: Climate change remains one of the major international issues of our times and features prominently in both EU and UN frameworks. Given the cross – cutting nature of the issue, and potential impacts on a wide range of other policy areas, discussion can from time to time warrant involvement or decision at head of Government level. Contribution to Global Peace and Development: The Taoiseach may wish to consider (in the medium term at least) whether there is any particular cause that he would wish to promote in the international arena, as a personal contribution to world peace and development. His predecessor, Mr. Brian Cowen, T.D., launched the Irish Government's Hunger Task Force Report in New York in 2008 in the presence of the UN Secretary General, while Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, T.D. addressed the UN General Asembly Special Session on HIV/AIDS in 2001 and a follow up UN High Level Meeting in 2006. There is a wide range of possiblilities (egs. Food Security/Hunger, AIDS/HIV, Disarmament/Non - Proliferation, Religious Tolerance, Drugs Awareness, Literacy, Sport) but of course, a decision on any particular one would require careful consideration. A concerted campaign by the Taoiseach on a particular cause would contribute to restoring Ireland's international image as well as being of benefit in its own right. Ireland's 2012 Chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe(OSCE): This could involve demands on the Taoiseach's time, depending on the events requiring attention during that period and whether or not an OSCE Summit (i.e. at HoSG level) has to be convened.
Transforming Public Services Programme Office The Transforming Public Services (TPS) Programme Office plays an important role in coordinating and supporting the change agenda across the Public Service, working closely with the Department of Finance and many other public bodies. The Programme Office is involved in a wide range of work and some of the current priorities are summarised below: Contributing to the implementation of the Public Service Transformation elements of the National Recovery Plan (e.g. the further reduction in Public Service numbers, reforming public bodies and service delivery, redeployment, shared services, business process improvement, eGovernment etc). Contributing to the implementation of the Public Service Agreement including through Sectoral Action Plans, the work of the Implementation Body and the planned review of the Agreement in the coming months, as well as more specific issues such as the review of PMDS. Advancing other TPS related commitments in areas such as the initiation of the Senior Public Service (other staff lead on this work); performance and governance frameworks for agencies; continuation of the Organisational Review Programme (other staff lead on this work); the next round of Strategy Statements; an extensive communications programme of conferences, presentations and the Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Awards 2011/12; and the promotion of innovative activity across the Public Service on business process improvement, customer service, eGovernment etc. The Department provides the chair and secretariat to a range of Groups such as the Cabinet Committee on TPS, the TPS Steering Group of Secretaries General, a wider group of all Secretaries General, the TPS Assistant Secretaries Group and the TPS Sectoral Centres. The Division is represented at Assistant Secretary level on the Public Service Agreement Implementation Body and is represented on the Public Service Management Co-ordination Group. The Division is also represented on a wide range of groups on particular transformation issues such as data sharing in the Public Service, HR Shared Services, the review of PMDS, the Board of the National Procurement Service etc. The Programme Office also take the lead on a range of other projects / initiatives in areas such as Strategy Statements, the Quality Customer Service Initiative, the Taoiseach’s Public Service Excellence Awards, Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Surveys and the overall communications programme to promote the transformation programme (which includes a very successful series of conferences and seminars, presentations by staff to various fora, the OneGov Newsletter and the OneGov website). The Office also provides regular briefings, PQ / LQ material and policy advice to the Taoiseach on a range of Public Service transformation issues. There are a number of priority issues for consideration by the Taoiseach in the coming months including: Deciding on the most effective structures to drive the next phase of the transformation programme and the manner in which they will operate across the Public Service including the future of the Cabinet Committee, a Public Service Board and an Office / Department
for Public Service Reform etc (having regard to the recent independent review of the Department of Finance). Deciding how to deal with the First Review of the Croke Park Agreement in May and its outcome, determining the savings attributable to the Agreement and the formal position to be taken on the reimbursement of pay cuts to the lower paid in light of the savings generated. More generally and more importantly, deciding on whether the Agreement is delivering what is required in terms of savings, particularly in light of the commitment in the EU / IMF Programme to look at further options in this regard by Quarter 3 if the necessary savings are not being delivered. Deciding how to proceed on specific elements of the transformation programme (e.g. in relation to how best to secure better savings from public procurement, shared services projects, the appointment of a CIO, eGovernment initiatives, the role of the Organisational Review Programme, the Taoiseach’s Awards 2012 etc), and how to proceed with legislative change to support the transformation programme in areas such as better information sharing, staff mobility and redeployment, increased powers of delegation and accountability, performance and governance of State Agencies and other such transformation issues as may feature in the Programme for Government. Alongside the necessary reduction in Public Service numbers, deciding how to get the most from the 300,000 or so staff that will remain after the current ‘downsizing’ and the need to invest in the transformation programme in the short term for a return in the medium to long term in areas such as eGovernment, human resources and shared services.
Public Service Modernisation Division Better Regulation Unit A key function of the Better Regulation Unit is to promote the use of Regulatory Impact Analysis, through developing guidelines and other work tools, maintaining the Better Regulation website and delivering training and presentations. It also chairs the interDepartmental RIA Network and examines all legislative Memoranda to Government from a RIA perspective. The Unit provides the Secretariat to the Senior Officials Group on Economic Regulation which is chaired by this Department and which is responsible for driving implementation of the Government Statement on Economic Regulation, published in October 2009. The Government Statement includes a range of actions aimed at ensuring that the regulation of key economic sectors is as efficient and as effective as possible. The Senior Officials Group in turn meets with regulators as part of a broader Regulatory Liaison Group (secretariat also provided by the Unit). The Unit represents Ireland at EU, OECD and other relevant international official-level fora and also participates in groups and structures chaired by D/Enterprise, Trade & Innovation which has overall responsibility for the Government’s administrative burden measurement and reduction programme. Priority Issues/Questions for the Immediate Term 1. Finalise the Stress-Testing of Regulatory Frameworks A key commitment in the Government Statement on Economic Regulation is that Departments would undertake “stress-testing” exercises of economic regulatory frameworks to ensure they are fully capable of responding to any shocks which may occur in the sector or in the wider economy. Stress-tests are expected from the relevant Departments, signed off at Ministerial level. Work on the stress-tests is at an advanced stage and once completed a report will be drafted and submitted to Government highlighting the key conclusions, findings and areas for action arising from the exercise. 2. Decision on 2011 Annual Regulatory Forum The Annual Regulatory Forum was established as a formal interface between central Cabinet Ministers and regulators charged with monitoring progress on the implementation of the Government Statement by both Government Departments and regulators. The Forum met for the first time in February 2010 and consideration will need to be given to whether/when the Forum should meet in 2011. 3. Develop response to the 2010 OECD/EU Commission Review of Better Regulation in Ireland This Review was published by the OECD last November as part of its programme of reviews, funded by the EU Commission, covering each of the original EU-15. The Reviews have focused on systems and process issues such as Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA), administrative burden reduction (which is the responsibility of D/ETI) and other Law Reform projects including sectoral consolidation; Statute Law Revision and Restatement. The Government agreed in October 2010 that the Senior Officials Group on Economic Regulation would have responsibility for developing an appropriate response to the recommendations contained in the Report and this work is set to be progressed in the immediate months ahead.
4. Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) An issue for early consideration by the new Government is whether and how existing RIA arrangements should be strengthened (e.g. through the introduction of a statutory requirement to undertake a RIA, a requirement to publish RIAs before Government Decisions are taken etc). Issues for Medium-term consideration 1. Initiate preparations for managing the Better Regulation agenda in during the next Irish Presidency of the EU which commences in January 2013. 2.
Evaluate the certified professional (post-graduate) Diploma in Regulatory Governance course which is being delivered by UCD and the IPA during 2011 and is aimed at boosting regulatory capacity across Government Departments and key sectoral regulators. Subject to such an evaluation and availability of resources, consider recommissioning the course to run in 2012.
Social Partnership (IR & Workplace Change) Division Social Partnership (IR & Workplace Change) Division is tasked with driving economic and social progress through the mechanism of social dialogue and maximising industrial relations peace and stability. The work of the Division currently includes: Maintaining ongoing contacts with employer and trade union representatives in the context of economic renewal measures and industrial relations matters. Liaising closely with D/Finance and D/Enterprise, Trade and Innovation in relation to the independent review of statutory wage-setting mechanisms. Monitoring pay trends and developments and industrial disputes in the private sector and providing regular detailed briefing. Working with Government Departments in relation to the outstanding commitments contained in the Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Agreement 2008 – 2009, including in the areas of employment rights legislation, public procurement and employee representation. Participation in groups chaired by the D/Social Protection to progress implementation of the National Pensions Framework. Priority Issues/Questions for the Immediate Term 1. Manage implementation of the Independent Review of statutory wage-setting mechanisms The National Recovery Plan 2011 – 2014 (Section 2.3.1) and the joint EU-IMF Programme for Ireland committed to the establishment of an independent review of REA (Registered Employment Agreement) and ERO (Employment Regulation Order) arrangements. The Review, was announced on 9th February last and is being conducted jointly by Kevin Duffy, Chairman of the Labour Court and by Dr. Frank Walsh, Lecturer in Economics, UCD. A key priority in the immediate period ahead will be to manage the implementation of the recommendations arising from this review which is expected to be completed by early April. 2. Clarify approach to Employee Representation and Anti-Victimisation The Towards 2016 Review and Transitional Agreement 2008 – 2009 (Section 9.1 – 9.3) provides for the establishment of a review process to consider the legal and other steps necessary to enable the employee representation mechanisms that had been established under previous national pay agreements – and in legislation – to operate as they had been intended. The Agreement also includes a commitment on legislative proposals to prohibit the victimisation of trade union members and to prohibit the incentivisation of persons not to be members of a trade union. A key issue to be addressed in the immediate period ahead will be whether/how these commitments should be advanced. 3. Clarify status of the Employment Protection Legislative Programme The Transitional Agreement also includes a number of legislative commitments in the employment protection area. These include the Employment Law Compliance Bill; the Employment Agency Regulation Bill; transposition of the Temporary Agency Workers Directive; the Industrial Relations (Amendment) Bill and legislation to give effect to the commitments in the Agreement on transposing the optional pensions provisions of the Transfer of Undertakings Directive and on providing an exemption for certain categories of vulnerable workers from competition law (via the Consumer and Competition Bill). This legislation is at various stages of development and clarity will now be needed on which elements of this programme will proceed and over what timeframe.
4. Consider re-branding of “social partnership” as “social dialogue” More generally, a possible issue for early consideration relates to the re-branding of “social partnership” as “social dialogue” and decisions regarding the appropriate institutional arrangements required to support the model into the future. 5. Implementation of the National Pensions Framework The Division participates in the Implementation Steering Group chaired by D/Social Protection which will be addressing the following key issues over the next 2-3 months: Development of a new defined benefit model and reform of the Funding Standard in a response to the considerable difficulties currently facing defined benefit pension schemes and in order to ensure the long-term sustainability of this model of pension provision. Consideration of the implications for the proposed auto-enrolment scheme of the changes to tax and PRSI/Health Levy relief on pensions contributions envisaged in the National Recovery Plan 2011-2014. This Division will work to ensure that there is full consultation with trade union and employer representatives as these important proposals develop.
Senior Public Service The Senior Public Service (SPS) is currently in the process of being established. Its purpose is to promote a more integrated public service and to strengthen the senior management and leadership capacity of the public service. It will do this by breaking down barriers to mobility at senior levels across the public service, commencing within the civil service at Assistant Secretary level and above. This will enable the Government to draw on a single talent pool to lead the implementation of priorities, as well as providing opportunities for individuals to broaden their skills and experience. The SPS will support networking across senior levels of the public service to encourage the informal sharing of information and experience on common issues. It will put in place a more targeted approach to training, mentoring and other development opportunities to ensure that the competencies and expertise of SPS members correspond to the future leadership requirements of the public service. Immediate Priorities Development of a website to establish an identity for the SPS, provide information to the public and put in place a secure and confidential communication channel with members through which they can upload personal and career details (March 2011); Establish a database of skills, experience and development needs at Deputy/Assistant Secretary level in the civil service, which will feed into a development needs analysis and development strategy; (April 2011). Develop a protocol, for approval by Government, for the operation of the SPS and the timescale for its extension to the wider public service (April/May 2011) Put in place first moves at Assistant Secretary level within the civil service (May 2011 onwards) Medium Term Priorities Put in place a programme of training and networking events, and a mentoring/coaching service; Extend SPS to wider public service on a phased basis.
Economic Policy Role of section Supporting and advising the Taoiseach on economic policy. This includes briefing on memoranda for Government, briefs for meeting delegations, speeches and speaking points, replies to parliamentary questions etc. Ensuring a coherent approach across Departments and Agencies to job creation, enterprise and competitiveness policies. This is mainly achieved through the Cabinet Committee on Economic Renewal and Jobs, and associated Senior Officials Group, which co-ordinate development and implementation of relevant policies. Co-ordinating response across Departments and Agencies to unemployment and other labour market issues. The Senior Officials Group on Labour Market Issues co-ordinates policy between relevant Departments and Agencies, reporting to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Renewal and Jobs. Preparing and implementing Ireland’s National Reform Programme (NRP) under the Europe 2020 initiative. The NRP, which must be prepared in consultation with domestic stakeholders, involves national targets in relation to employment, education, R&D, climate change and poverty. Ensuring a joined-up approach to Climate Change policy. The Cabinet Committee and Senior Officials Group on Climate Change and Energy Security oversee international negotiations and domestic policy action. Leading specific initiatives\projects which cut across multiple departments\agencies. Examples include follow-up to the Innovation Taskforce and implementation of Innovation Fund Ireland, and development of an international communications strategy in response to reputational damage suffered by Ireland. Liaison with CSO and monitoring of economic indicators The Taoiseach has political responsibility for the CSO (normally delegated to a Minister of State) while regular briefing is prepared on latest economic indicators and statistics. Immediate Priorities Suggested priorities for incoming Taoiseach: ●
define and communicate economic strategy of new Government, including approach to further negotiations with IMF\EU and banking crisis
establish process (possibly via Cabinet Committee) to ensure early and co-ordinated implementation of enterprise, competitiveness and jobs priorities in new Programme for Government
pending any renegotiation, ensure delivery of key IMF\EU programme commitments (including 2011 expenditure savings)
put in place effective cross-departmental process for fiscal adjustment required in 20122014 Budgets (via comprehensive spending review)
finalise and submit Ireland's National Reform Programme under Europe 2020 (due endApril 2011)
implement international communications strategy to address reputational damage suffered by Ireland
development of action plan with measures to allow Ireland meet 2020 climate change targets.
Social Policy Overall Goal: To promote sustainable and inclusive development of Ireland’s economy and society. Role The Social Policy section provides briefing and policy advice to the Taoiseach on social policy issues, for example for proposals on the agenda for Government meetings, in advance of meetings, correspondence, as well as information notes as required. Through the ‘whole of government’ approach the Divisions seeks to add value to social policy considerations and actions by promoting coordination and cohesion across sectoral policies and strategies. The Division supports the Cabinet Committees on Social Inclusion, Children and Integration, which aims to bring a coherent and integrated approach to social policy issues; and the Cabinet Committee on Health, which oversees the health service reform programme and drives improvements in selected priority service delivery areas. Through its role as chair of the Senior Officials Groups that work to implement Committees’ priorities, the Division ensures that cross departmental/agency view is brought to tackling issues or exploring options to address complex problems. Depending on the particular issues the role can be to ensure coordination and cohesion across policies or programmes or to broker agreement and find ways forward. The Department does not have functional or programme responsibilities in these areas and the ‘neutral’ approach frequently enables progress in contested areas. The ‘whole of government’ approach is carried through in the Division’s involvement in a range of groups and structures such as those to address poverty and social exclusion, drugs misuse, coordinating and developing policies in relation to equality, Travellers, children and older people. The Division has been instrumental in developing and progressing the National Disability Strategy and ensuring the continued collaboration and engagement with disability stakeholders. The Division works to ensure that the Cabinet Committee on Health can operate effectively as a forum for regular exchange between Government and top level HSE on issues of major importance in the health services. Priorities o Need to ensure continued attention on at risk and emerging vulnerable groups. o Finalising poverty targets for inclusion in the National Reform Programme and coherence and linkages with the education and employment targets. o Priority health service delivery areas: A&E, waiting times, care in the community and the challenges identified around eligibility and resource allocation. o Advancing implementation of the National Disability Strategy over the next few years. o Developing specific strategies i.e., combined substance misuse; positive ageing.
Northern Ireland & International Division Context of the Divisions Operation The elections in Northern Ireland in May will mark the longest period of devolved government there since the Good Friday Agreement. While this is one of a number of historic achievements of the Peace Process it should be borne in mind that the process nearly collapsed just over a year ago requiring the direct engagement of the Taoiseach and British PM, which led to agreement on the devolution of policing and justice in the Spring of 2010. The efforts of successive Irish governments working with British governments, US administrations and the EU and international community have transformed relations on this island between nationalism and unionism, between North and South and between Ireland and Britain. Threats to the process remain. Sectarianism and dissident activity continue to threaten the process. Securing peace and stability in Northern Ireland must remain a priority for the Irish Government and continue to be a priority agenda item in our relations with Britain and the United States. The role of the Taoiseach has been central to ensuring a positive dynamic in North South and East West relations, including the advancement of North/South related matters in the formulation of national policies. The issues involved are multi-faceted and cover all aspects of North South relations and involve a range of contacts with interlocutors in the public and private sectors and the community and voluntary sector. Key Role of Division In its close working relationships with government departments, particularly the Department of Foreign Affairs, the Northern Ireland & International Division operates specifically on behalf of the Taoiseach to: - ensure primacy of his priorities as Head of Government, - chair of the North South Ministerial Council and member of the British Irish Council; - relations with PM and President; - provide a whole-of-government viewpoint complementing the comprehensive intelligence gathering and commentary provided by the Department of Foreign Affairs; - maintains direct contacts with key political and community leaders in Northern Ireland; - ensures that information is available to the Taoiseach in a timely and relevant manner. Central to achieving the priority objective of securing peace and stability on this island is the continued successful implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrew’s Agreements. The principal institution in this regard is the North South Ministerial Council (NSMC) established to facilitate consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland, including on an allisland and cross-border basis. Other Activities - Within the context of North/South and East/West relations, the Division is involved in the development of a programme to commemorate the period 1912 -1922; - promotes bilateral engagement with Scotland in terms of increased cooperation; - examines the Department’s files on Northern Ireland for release to the national Archives; and - supports the work of the Ireland Newfoundland Partnership Advisory Council.
Medium to Long Term Objectives The medium to long-term objectives of the Division are to assist the Taoiseach in: -
ensuring the comprehensive implementation of the Good Friday and St. Andrew’s agreements, particularly through NSMC plenary meetings and BIC summits;
advancing North/South relations and the development of North/South cooperation, including as a key component of mainstream national policy frameworks;
building on the historically good relations between Ireland and Britain both in our joint approach to Northern Ireland but also on the basis of a new strategic policy and towards a full realisation of the normality of our relationship as two sovereign states; and
Strengthening Ireland’s relationship with the United States based on a new strategic policy, and internationally in the context of a post peace process era.
Immediate Priorities ● St. Patrick’s Day Visit to United States: The proposed visit of the Taoiseach to the US around St. Patrick’s Day is particularly important as it will provide the new Government with its first opportunity to communicate messages about Ireland on an international platform. The Taoiseach will require to be fully briefed for this visit which apart from the expected high profile meeting with President Obama, will also comprise a range of other meetings including with the First Minister and deputy First Minister (who will be in Washington at that time), new incoming members of Congress and key Irish American political and corporate leaders. ● Meeting with British PM: The Taoiseach has been invited to meet with Prime Minister Cameron. This would ideally take place at the earliest opportunity. (Note: possibility of the Royal visit taking place in May). ● NI Political Contacts: Contacts with political leaders in Northern Ireland would also be prudent. The elections in Northern Ireland will take place in early May. ● North South Ministerial Council Plenary: The Taoiseach will chair the next NSMC plenary meeting will be held in June in the South (date tbc) ● British Irish Council Summit: The next BIC Summit will be hosted in London during June (date tbc).
Corporate Affairs Division Structure The Division consists of Personnel Section, Finance Unit, IT Unit, Change Management and Training Unit, Management Services Unit, Archives and Library. Functions The Division provides support to the rest of the Department in achieving the Department’s strategic objectives. Its functions include:
managing the Department’s human resources in order to contribute to the organisation’s goals, while also promoting staff personal development goals.
Ensuring that the Department continues to meet its corporate legal responsibilities.
Delivering a financial management service that promotes and contributes to the effective use of the Department’s financial resources through the delivery of economy, efficiency, value for money and promptness in all expenditure.
Providing a reliable and effective information and communications technology (ICT) service that meets the Department’s existing and future needs and provides an efficient and effective library, registry, archives and other support services.
Implementing a modernisation programme that supports the achievement of the Department’s goals, and is aligned with the broader Civil Service modernisation programme and models of best practice.
Immediate priorities Implementing the Department’s Action Plan under the Croke Park Agreement. The Department has reduced its core numbers by 18% since 2008 and the Action Plan commits the Department to reducing its numbers by 2% below the Employment Control Framework by 2014. Between 2007 and 2010, the total budget was reduced by 18.2%, including a reduction of 8.3% in the pay budget. The Action Plan commits the Department to achieve further reductions of 14.4 % in the total budget (including -12.8% in 2011) and 4.2 % in the pay budget (including - 2 % in 2011). The Action Plan also includes a range of commitments regarding the redeployment of staff to other Departments and reallocation of staff to areas of greatest need, in accordance with the redeployment arrangements set out in the Public Service Agreement, performance management, recruitment and promotion, shared services new technology. Post election Managing the post election process and the formation of a new Administration involves coordination across a range of areas including, Personnel, Finance, MSU and Private Offices regarding arrangements including pay, for both outgoing and incoming staff as well as facilitating the specific requirements for staffing, accommodation, IT, etc. of the incoming Administration and providing for any possible restructuring of the Department.