Friday 24 November 2017

Longer hours for public servants are worthwhile, says report

On target: Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke
On target: Patrick O’Donovan. Photo: Tom Burke

Robin Schiller

An assessment of Ireland's Public Service Reform Plan has found that longer working hours have increased labour output in many sectors.

The report was made by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which reviewed the Government's reformation of the State's public service.

Among the key findings were that longer working hours, in many sectors, appeared to boost productivity in several sectors, when weighed against the cost of these extra hours.

The services that benefited from increased hours included An Garda Síochána, where the OECD review noticed more frequent police patrols in 2016.

The report stated there were 15 million extra hours worked by public service personnel last year, with €583m in compensation saved for workers.

By the end of 2016, there were 306,578 public sector workers, a 6pc increase on the 2013 figure.

In 2011, the Public Service Reform Plan committed to reducing the number of public service workers.

Minister of State for Finance and Public Expenditure Reform Patrick O'Donovan emphasised the need for a "robust and agile public service" in the current "uncertain and unpredictable global environment" as he launched the consultation of the Progress Report on the 2014-2016 Public Service Reform Plan.

Mr O'Donovan also said the final progress report showed that almost 90pc of the 227 ambitious actions in the second reform plan were either on target or completed.

The OECD report also found that outsourcing is not a systematically viable option for delivering public services.

The review noted the establishment of a number of outsourced initiatives, including Jobpath employment services.

However, it finds that outsourcing and alternative service delivery "have not emerged as systematically viable options for public service provision".

It added that this may stem from a cultural resistance towards outsourcing among managers and the political level, as well as industrial relations.

Irish Independent

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