Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016

Foreword by Ministers

Public Service Reform has been a key element of the Government’s strategic response to the economic crisis and is a central theme in the Programme for Government. On taking office in 2011, we established a dedicated Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, integrating expenditure management and reform for the first time.
The Government’s Public Service Reform Plan of November 2011 provided the basis for the most significant programme of reform since the foundation of the State. It set out in almost 200 detailed actions how the commitments to reform, including those in the Programme for Government, would be implemented. As evidenced in the second Progress Report that has been published alongside this new plan, we have made strong progress on the implementation of reform.

Ireland has a long and proud tradition of service to the public and the State and it is important to acknowledge the contribution of public servants to Ireland’s recovery in recent years. The achievements of the Public Service in terms of delivering reform, reducing costs and maintaining services against a backdrop of reduced staff numbers, yet increased demand for those services, should not be underestimated.

Two years into the implementation of the Reform Plan, it is timely to reflect on the progress made to-date and to set out our ambition for further reform of the Public Service. Given the fiscal situation, the primary focus of our first phase of reform was necessarily on cost reduction and efficiency measures. As we reach a more sustainable fiscal position, this next phase of reform has the ambitious goal of a Public Service that will have positive outcomes for all stakeholders, including citizens, businesses and public servants themselves.

In this updated Reform Plan, we set out how this will be done. Public Service Reform is complex and often presents challenges, not least as it involves around 290,000 staff in hundreds of diverse organisations working together to deliver better services. As we embark on the next phase of reform, we know that real change will not be possible without the ongoing commitment of public servants. We look forward to working with them to deliver the best possible public services for the people of this country.
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Brendan Howlin, T.D.
Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform
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Brian Hayes, T.D.
Minister of State for Public Service Reform and the Office of Public Works
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