Friday 23 March 2018

Bruton confirms Kenny will take personal charge of policy reforms

Richard Bruton
Richard Bruton

Michael Brennan Deputy Political Editor

JOBS Minister Richard Bruton has confirmed that Taoiseach Enda Kenny is going to use his “action plan” model to push through more policy changes - increasing pressure on ministers.

It came after the Irish Independent revealed that Mr Kenny is going to take personal charge of driving reforms in the departments controlled by Health Minister Dr James Reilly and Social Protection Minister Joan Burton.


This will see an action plan drawn up to monitor the progress of change in two key areas they are responsible for - reforming the health system in the case of Dr Reilly and helping unemployed people to find jobs in the case of Ms Burton.


The move will increase pressure on the two most divisive ministers in Mr Kenny's cabinet.


Speaking during his St Patrick’s Day visit to Germany, Jobs Minister Richard Bruton said he knew that Mr Kenny believed in this approach – having seen it operate through the 'Action Plan on Jobs'.


“I think that is a model that the Taoiseach recognises as a way of getting change. Where you have complex reforms, I think that approach is one he is enamoured with and I can see how it could have relevance in other areas,” he told RTE’s Today with Pat Kenny show.


Under this action plan model, specific deadlines are set for implementing policies and there is constant pressure on ministers and civil servants to ensure no slippage. Mr Kenny chairs progress meetings where ministers are grilled if they are not meeting targets.


Mr Bruton said the Action Plan for Jobs had achieved 90pc of its targets on time.


“We now have 15 months of private sector employments growth behind us. I think this model of driving public service and encouraging and motivating public service to deliver to high standards is the only way we’ll crack any of these problems,” he said.


But the opposition have regularly pointed out that there are still over 428,000 people on the live register. The latest figures put the unemployment rate at 14.1pc, down from a high of 15pc last year.


And even though emigration has been cited as a factor in the drop, the number of people employed has increased slightly by 0.1pc to 1.849 million in the last three months of 2012 – compared to the same period 12 months earlier. This was the first such increase since 2008.

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