Tuesday 6 December 2016

We need to make public service effective as well as affordable

Senior civil servants bear much of the responsibility for bad political decisions

Published 05/01/2014 | 02:30

From left, Derek Fowlds, Paul Eddington and Sir Nigel Hawthorne in 'Yes Minister'
From left, Derek Fowlds, Paul Eddington and Sir Nigel Hawthorne in 'Yes Minister'

PUBLIC service reform is firmly on the Government's agenda for 2014.

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Minister for Transport Leo Varadkar, junior finance minister Brian Hayes and public spending minister Brendan Howlin were urging change last week in the remuneration system in the public service. All three would like to see better performance rewarded and failure penalised, with Varadkar going so far as to suggest that poor performers should be fired. Education minister Ruairi Quinn is also proposing sanctions to deal with under-performing teachers and the Government is due to publish a new scheme of performance management for the public service within the next few months.

Once the Irish bubble burst in 2008, there were two issues to be addressed about the public service -- affordability and performance. Only the first of these has seen much in the way of practical action.

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