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Civil Servants Transported!

category national | rights, freedoms and repression | press release author Wednesday November 24, 2004 13:52author by BertieWatch Report this post to the editors

Minister for Finance publishes two reports from Decentralisation Implementation Group

The Minister for Finance, Mr. Brian Cowen T.D., today (24 November 2004) published two reports submitted to him by the Decentralisation Implementation Group (DIG) chaired by Mr Phil Flynn. The recommendations in both reports have been accepted by the Government.

The first report deals with the selection of organisations/locations for inclusion in the first phase of moves. The second deals with the financial implications of the office accommodation aspects of the programme and the procurement methodology. Both reports are available on the decentralisation section of the Department of Finance website at www.finance.gov.ie.

The Minister said “It is less than a year since this major Government programme was announced. It has since been demonstrated clearly that there is substantial interest in the programme among civil and public servants. The reports being published today, and the earlier reports from the Flynn Group, show that implementation of the programme is well on track.”

The first report published today lists fifteen Government departments/offices which should be the first to relocate outside of Dublin. This would involve twenty-one projects, twenty locations, nearly 3,500 jobs and the transfer of eight headquarters. The report contains a schedule showing indicative construction start and completion dates for the procurement of office accommodation in the new locations. All except four projects would get underway in 2005: eight would finish in 2006, nine in 2007 and four in 2008.

The Group suggests that a more individualised approach to implementation be adopted for the State agencies. It identifies seven agencies/locations, involving over 700 jobs, which should receive initial priority attention. The report also contains recommendations about how decentralisation of Garda Headquarters and the Defence Forces (500 jobs in all) and ICT posts (nearly 1,000 jobs) can be advanced. It says it will report again in the spring of 2005 and will deal in that report with the locations/organisations not specifically listed in the current report (i.e. approximately 4,700 jobs).

The second report being released today contains a financial assessment of the office accommodation aspects the decentralisation programme. The Minister explained that the detailed costs/savings figures provided by the DIG could not be published because of the commercially sensitive nature of the material. However, the key findings are:-

· in the years 2006 to 2010 there is an increasingly negative cumulative cash flow as the site acquisition, construction and lease exit costs exceed the proceeds from the disposal of surplus owned property in Dublin and the rental savings;
· thereafter, the rental savings act to reduce, and eventually eliminate, the negative cumulative cash flow to the State;
· from 2026 onwards the cumulative discounted cash flow becomes positive; and
· at the end of that period, the State owns all the buildings in the decentralised locations and the annual rental savings would continue to accrue.

The Minister said he would be dealing with the capital costs of procuring office accommodation in the decentralised locations when he announced the revised multi-annual capital investment envelopes on Budget day.

The Group is recommending a twin-track approach to the procurement of office accommodation in the new locations. A PPP approach, involving Design Build Maintain and Finance, is to be adopted for the larger projects – assuming that it demonstrates value for money in each case. A Design and Build approach is to be used for the smaller projects where the value of the project would not be sufficient to generate an economically viable proposition for private sector investment.

Finally, the Minister said that a separate report had been prepared by Deloittes for the DIG dealing with the potential non-property costs and savings which could arise under the programme. This report is also being made available today on the Department of Finance’s website.


ENDS



Note for Editors

The Group recommends that the civil service departments/offices set out in Table 1 of its report (reproduced below) be included in the first phase of moves.

Table 1
Location Organisation Posts
Clonakilty Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources 91
Drogheda Department of Social and Family Affairs HQ 215
Drogheda Department of Communications, Marine & Natural Resources 47
Killarney Department of Arts, Sport and Tourism HQ 141
Kilrush Revenue Commissioners 50
Listowel Revenue Commissioners 50
Newcastle West Revenue Commissioners 50
Limerick Department of Foreign Affairs 125
Longford Irish Prisons Service 159
Loughrea Department of Transport 40
Newbridge Department of Defence HQ 202
Portlaoise Department of Agriculture HQ 392
Sligo Department of Social & Family Affairs 100
Trim Office of Public Works HQ 333
Tullamore Department of Finance 135
Total 2130

The Group also recommends that the organisations set out in Table 2 of its report (reproduced below) be regarded as potential “early movers” and should plan accordingly.

Table 2
Location Organisation Posts
Athlone Department of Education & Science 108
Carlow Department of Enterprise, Trade & Employment 313
Carrick-on-Shannon Department of Social & Family Affairs 220
Knock Airport Department of Community, Rural and Gaeltacht Affairs HQ 164
Mullingar Department of Education and Science HQ 299
Wexford Department of Environment, Heritage & Local Government HQ 258
Total 1362

The Group sets out in Table 3 of its report (reproduced below) seven State agencies and locations that should receive initial priority attention in terms of implementing the programme.

Table 3
Location Organisation Posts
Birr FAS 390.5
Clonakilty BIM 94
Drogheda Comhairle 47.5
Dundalk Sustainable Energy Ireland 40
Loughrea National Safety Council 12
Portarlington National Council for Curriculum and Assessment 28
Thomastown Health and Safety Authority 111
Total 723

author by Bertie Watchpublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 14:18author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Unbridled arrogance! None of the scientists want to go to Clonakilty and only about 5 of the existing administrative staaf wish to go. This "government" is prepared to run this agency with inexperienced unqualified staff.

author by RED BHOYpublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 14:50author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If my employers decided to move the work premises down the country Im sure Id get two choices- Move with them or sign on! Ive no pity for these whingers!!!

author by Bertie Watchpublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 14:54author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thata the spirit! Workers should have no rights! They should go and do what the boss says!

The only thing red about Red Bhoy is his neck!

author by Michael Henniganpublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 16:19author address author phone Report this post to the editors

RED BHOY - many employers would love to have a passive patsy like you!

So if you ended up in Clonakility - god help us, as the locals say - you would thank local resident Joe Walsh - former Minister for Agriculture, for having pulled the strings that got your agency there. He's a smart man as his supporters say but you would hardly be smart for not seeing through the political strokery.

author by Ellepublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 17:04author address author phone Report this post to the editors

If Red Bhoy's company wished to relocate they would do so (I would imagine) for sound economic reasons - in the case of civil and public servants our employers have not been able to advance one single sound reason for this proposal, economic or otherwise. As to the allegation that we are whingers...I would argue that civil and public servants far from whinging are concerned with the delivery of their services and the impact that this ill conceived idea will have on same. IMPACT have already come out strongly to highlight the loss of organisational memory which will result from the low levels of interest among state agency staff where organisations have been "fast tracked" - SIPTU will no doubt follow suit. Some of us have been given a reprieve and now we must in solidarity with our colleagues oppose the movement of those in the 7 agencies targeted. Tom Parlon is a bully and the only way to make a bully stop is to stand up to him!

author by Michael Henniganpublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 18:08author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Tom Parlon, a leading light of the non-Statist PDs did a good job rattling the tin ponny for public welfare for himself and other farmers - amounting to 65% of farm income.

What is ironic is that Parlon is in charge of a shambolic decentralisation programme while he opposes reform of the corrupt system for allocating land for development. By maintaining the staus quo where a political decision on rezoning can increase the price of land 20-fold - even 40 miles from Dublin- big scale projects such as the development of a second airport for Dublin or centralising all Government Departments on the periphary of the city, cannot be considered in contrast with what is done elsewhere.

Last May, Parlon was with Mary Harney when she said in an address to her party members at the launch of the Progressive Democrats' Local Elections' Manifesto: 'In this manifesto, we are... committed to ending private windfall profits arising from re-zoning decisions.' In an ad-lib, she had the gall to warn that she might have the Competition Authority investigate hoarders of development land- like her referrals of so many other issues to avoid having to make descisions.

Nothing has been heard from Harney on development land since.

author by Tonypublication date Wed Nov 24, 2004 19:49author address author phone Report this post to the editors

The semi-states are even more shambolic.

Apparently handful of FAS workers out of 400 want to move. In Bus Eireann - already a highly and neccessarilly decentralised entity - another handful want to go.

Not sure about the rest but I would not be surprised if Dublin Bus was next.

author by renpublication date Thu Nov 25, 2004 13:32author address author phone Report this post to the editors

Thinking about decentralisation and then the peak oil production report also on the newswire got me thinking about the long term logic of decentralising, increasing communication distances between departments as fuel becomes more expensive. Surely the aim of a smoothly operating civil service which is vital for a country structured like ours is not being served in the long term. Just a thought.

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