Manifesto Memories

The Irish Times reports

NEARLY 50 hospital consultants and almost 1,000 nurses of different grades are set to leave the health service before new pension changes come into effect at the end of February, the first official figures show.


In other parts of the public service about 1,130 staff in the education sector are understood to have applied to leave

This brings back memories (misty water-coloured memories) of pre-election promises

Additional Reduction in Back-Office Public Sector Numbers: As set out in our Reinventing Government plan, Fine Gael will reduce the size of the public service by 10% – just over 30,000 – without undermining key front-line services in health, policing and education, through over 105 reforms to cut back-office bureaucracy and delivery improved value for money. This means that Fine Gael will reduce back-office administrative positions in the public service by an additional 18,000 over and above the 12,000 reduction partners to seek further efficiencies in work practices

I guess these are back-office consultants, nurses and teachers.

How Not To Fill An Important Job

The Secretary-General of the Department of Finance is probably the most important job in the Irish civil service. With Kevin Cardiff’s imminent departure, the job has been publicly advertised and a shortlist arrived at.

Given the negative ramifications of the past mistakes made by the Department, one might have hoped that all efforts would be made to ensure that a good field of candidates is obtained and that the recruitment process would be run in a professional manner.

How’s it working out? Well, yesterday’s Irish Times confirms a story that has been run before, namely that “No expenses were paid for candidates travelling to Dublin to be interviewed for the position.” The government may as well have put up a sign to say “those working outside Ireland are not welcome”.

In addition, we are now informed

THE GOVERNMENT’S choice of a successor to Kevin Cardiff as secretary general of the Department of Finance is now expected to come from within the public service.

With morale in the department extremely low as a result of the economic crisis and the controversy over Mr Cardiff’s departure, appointing an outsider is being viewed within the Government as a risky strategy.

Appointing an external candidate to “shake up” the department would serve only to further demoralise staff, according to one source familiar with the process.

The article tells us that

The recruitment process, which includes the creation of a shortlist and up to two rounds of interviews, is being run by the Top Level Appointments Committee (TLAC). Five of the committee’s nine members, including chairwoman Maureen Lynott, are from the private sector.

At this point, a public statement from the TLAC that they are running a process with the sole aim of appointing the best-qualified person to the job would be welcome. A re-think on the policy of not paying for travel expenses would also be welcome.

Eddie Molloy on Finance and the Public Service

I know Philip linked yesterday to the first of his articles but I think it is worth having a thread on Eddie Molloy’s two articles on the Department of Finance and the public sector (here and here.) To my mind, most of his opinions are spot on. I can certainly relate to his opinions in relation to the misplaced belief in generalists and in the absence of management skills. But, of course, most of this material has been aired before. The question is whether the current crisis is likely to generate sufficient momentum to finally generate the kind of reforms that people have been talking about for many years.