Dáil Éireann - Volume 525 - 26 October, 2000

Written Answers. - Public Service Benchmarking Body.

59. Mr. Howlin asked the Minister for Finance the progress that has been made in discussions with the public service unions regarding the proposed public service benchmarking body to examine public sector pay and conditions; when that body will be established; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23468/00]

[153] Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The Public Service Benchmarking Body was established on 19 July following discussions between public service employers and unions as provided for under the terms of the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. It has been asked to report by end-June 2002. Discussions with the public service unions about the grades to be specifically examined by the benchmarking body are ongoing at present and should be completed very shortly.

I will arrange for the Deputy to be provided with a copy of the press release announcing the establishment of the benchmarking body. This press release contains details of the body's membership and terms of reference.

I welcome the fact that the body has been established somewhat earlier than had been anticipated in the Programme for Prosperity and Fairness. I recognise that it is being asked to undertake a very complex and onerous task and I want to thank the individuals who have agreed to serve on the body. I would also repeat my commitment to providing them with whatever support, in terms of staffing and funding, that they need to undertake their task.

60. Mr. R. Bruton asked the Minister for Finance if the review committee on the Partnership for Prosperity and Fairness has considered bringing forward the timing of the benchmarking arrangement envisaged for the public service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [22281/00]

Minister for Finance (Mr. McCreevy): The Public Service Benchmarking Body has already been established ahead of schedule. It has also been asked to report by 30 June 2002, instead of by the end of 2002 as had originally been agreed. Given the scale of the task which the body is being asked to undertake, this is an extremely demanding target and it would simply not be practical to expect the body to report any earlier.