Dáil Éireann - Volume 461 - 13 February, 1996

Written Answers. - Departmental Reviews.

182. Mr. J. Walsh asked the Minister for Social Welfare if he will give details of each review, study, task force, ad hoc inquiry and consultancy report being currently undertaken by his Department; the cost of each report; the date of publication of each report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [3197/96]

Minister for Social Welfare (Proinsias De Rossa): As part of its normal business, the Department has a wide range of reviews of its activities in progress at any one time. Most of these are carried out by the staff of the Department as part of their normal work. Not all of these reviews result in formal reports. Due to the extent and nature of these internal reviews, it would not be practical to list them in any particular detail.

There are, however, certain key reviews being carried out at present within my Department, under the aegis of groups such as the Expert Working Group on the Integration of Tax and Social Welfare and the Commission on the Family. It is intended that the reports of these groups will be published [1050] in due course. Since secretarial services are provided for these by civil servants in my Department as part of their range of duties it is not practical to identify the precise costs associated with each report. In the case of the Commission on the Family, the carrying out of some research is planned at a projected cost at this point of less than £20,000.

From time to time, the Department engages external assistance to assist in reviews of particular aspects of its operations, to assess the impact of its policies and to advise on new policy initiatives. The following are details of studies currently under way where external costs arise and where formal reports are to be provided:

1. Task Force on Security for the Elderly.

Cost: £23,000 (publicity)

Report due: February 1996.

To examine the situation of those elderly people who cannot avail of the tax allowance initiative announced in the budget because their incomes are below the relevant tax exemption limits.

2. Independent Customer and General Public Survey.

Cost: £40,000

Report due: May 1996

Consultants: Market Research Bureau of Ireland

3. Occupational Pensions Survey.

Cost: £98,000

Report due: Mid 1996

Consultants: ESRI

Some 10 per cent of the cost of this study will be met by the Pensions Board.

4. Household Income and Poverty Survey.

Cost: £198,000

Report due: 1996 and 1997

Consultants: ESRI

A variety of reports are to be provided over these two years.

5. Review of Social Welfare Rates.

Cost: To be finalised

Report due: June 1996

Consultants: ESRI

6. Review of the Combat Poverty Agency.

Cost: £36,600

Report due: March 1996

[1051] Consultants: Goodbody Economic Consultants Ltd

The purpose of the review is to identify and describe the full range of the agency's activities to date and to identify priority objectives for the agency in the light of the changed environment in which it now operates.

9. Review of Financial and Administrative Systems.

Cost: £67,000

Report due: June 1996

Consultants: Coopers and Lybrand

These systems are essential to meeting the demands of financial management and accounting initiatives introduced in recent times.

10. Networks Redesign

Cost: £396,000

Report due: February 1996

Consultants: Telecom Éireann and Digital Equipment Corporation

Design of new telecommunications network.