Dáil Éireann - Volume 614 - 14 February, 2006

Written Answers. - Decentralisation Programme.

  550. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science if, in relation to decentralisation proposals that are relevant to her Department, she is satisfied that sufficient numbers of staff at secretary and assistant secretary level are currently willing to decentralise; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5034/06]

  551. Mr. Kenny asked the Minister for Education and Science if the Secretary General of her Department has consulted officers at assistant secretary level regarding decentralisation; the number who have expressed an interest in decentralising; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [5049/06]

  Ms Hanafin: I propose to take Questions Nos. 550 and 551 together.

In 2004 the Department of Finance requested each Secretary General or head of office to discuss the question of decentralisation with his or her senior officers at assistant secretary level. In total, up to 60 posts at this level are due to relocate under the decentralisation programme. The decentralisation implementation group reported in September 2004 that, at that stage, 19 individuals indicated that they would move or were likely to move and a further 19 would consider moving at a later stage.

Since then, vacancies at this level, including in this Department, are being filled by the top level appointments committee on the basis that the successful candidate will decentralise at the appropriate time. I do not consider it appropriate [1386] to indicate the individual preferences of officers at this level in my Department but I am confident that there will be a sufficient cadre at this level to provide continuity of leadership and management experience as the decentralisation programme is rolled out in the coming years. The senior management of my Department are all actively involved in the preparation of the implementation plans for decentralisation to meet the timescale emerging from the work of the decentralisation implementation group which is co-ordinating the effort.