Dáil Éireann - Volume 481 - 15 October, 1997
Written Answers - Strategic Management Initiative.
Mr. Quinn Mr. Quinn
15. Mr. Quinn asked the Minister for Social, Community and Family Affairs the extent to which the strategic management initiative has been implemented in his Department; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16492/97]
Minister for Social Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern) Dermot Ahern
Minister for Social Community and Family Affairs (Mr. D. Ahern): The strategic management initiative (SMI) which was introduced in February 1994 required each Government Department to examine and review its performance under three main headings: the contribution it could make to national development, the quality of services provided to the public, and the provision of value for money to the taxpayer.
 My Department, which is a large service delivery organisation, has actively pursued the implementation of the SMI process and has made significant progress to date, particularly in relation to the quality and method of delivery of its services. Some of the more important developments include customer consultation is now conducted on a systematic basis through surveys and customer panels; a customer service training programme has been developed following research into best practice and consultations with customers and staff; participative structures are now in place which facilitate staff consultation and input on many issues; a management development programme has been delivered which is aimed at equipping managers in the Department with the necessary change management and leadership skills; improved targeting of control resources and better systems for the monitoring and evaluation of control activities have now been established; annual business planning now takes place by which targets, milestones and activities are set for each of the business units. Key performance indicators are now in place and these are actively monitored on a regular basis; a revised building and refurbishment programme is in place for public offices; an information systems strategy has been developed which is aligned to support the business direction and which will ensure capability of delivery systems into the new millennium; a national anti-poverty unit has been established within my Department which is responsible for cross-departmental initiatives aimed at addressing the issues of poverty and social exclusion.
The Department is committed to the principles of quality service set out earlier this year and an action plan based on these is being prepared for implementation over the next two years. The SMI process was given fresh impetus in September this year when the provisions of the Public Service Management Act were commenced. This Act provides the necessary legal framework for each Department to further develop the process. Work has already commenced, within the requirements of the Act, on outlining a statement of strategy for the next three years. This will involve building on the significant progress that has already been achieved to date and will provide on opportunity to re-examine the Department's existing mission statement, objectives, outputs and related strategies.
It is my intention that the deepening of the SMI process, with which we are now actively engaged, will further contribute to the development of my Department as a highly professional organisation with a strong commitment to quality service.
Dáil Éireann 481 Written Answers Strategic Management Initiative.