Centrally, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is coordinating reform across a range of issues including workforce planning, performance management, leadership, mobility, shared services, procurement, alternative models of service delivery, property management and eGovernment. The Department is driving increased capacity and capability for change, centrally and across the various sectors of the Public Service, to ensure that the focus is firmly on implementation and delivery. The implementation of such reforms to date has been facilitated by the Public Service Croke Park Agreement and the Haddington Road Agreement. The latter agreement has been extended by the Lansdowne Road Agreement which runs to September 2018.
The Reform and Delivery Office (RDO) which was established within the Department is overseeing and driving this reform agenda with committed milestones for delivery of actions and tight governance structures and reporting mechanisms. The activities of the RDO are centered around five main areas: Public Service Reform Programme Management; Alternative Models of Service Delivery: Business Consulting; Government Reform; and Civil Service Renewal.
Government Departments and major Offices produce Integrated Reform Delivery Plans on an annual basis, which place centrally driven initiatives in the context of organisational and sectoral reforms. Progress made on these Plans is overseen by the Reform and Delivery Office.
A strong governance model for Public Service reform is in place. The Cabinet Committee on Social Policy & Public Service Reform, chaired by the Taoiseach, meets regularly to review progress on the implementation of the Reform Plan and address strategic issues arising.
The Cabinet Committee is supported by an Advisory Group of Secretaries General, which includes the Secretaries General from the main ‘sectoral’ Departments and a number of others. This Group provides support and advice on strategic / policy issues to the Cabinet Committee. In addition, a Reform and Innovation Network, primarily comprising Assistant Secretaries responsible for leading reform in each Department / Office, meets regularly to oversee and monitor the delivery of Public Service Reform at a strategic level and provide assurance to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform and to the Cabinet Committee that Public Service Reform is being successfully delivered.
The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin, T.D., published the results of a Civil Service Customer Satisfaction Survey 2015 on 6 May 2015. The purpose of the survey was to ascertain satisfaction levels with services received, as well as more general perceptions of, and attitudes to, the Civil Service. The survey was carried out to meet a commitment in the Government’s Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016 to “Run regular surveys of Civil Service customers to more fully understand user experiences, expectations and requirements”. The survey was undertaken by Ipsos MRBI on behalf of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. The results show that over three in four customers were satisfied with both the service received (77%) and the outcome of their most recent contact (76%), while service levels are mostly meeting or exceeding expectations (83%). These figures are consistent with the last such survey, undertaken in 2009.