Legislation to Provide for Reduction in State Agencies & LA Mergers – 43% Reduction in State Agencies from 21 to 12-
The Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government Phil Hogan T.D, has announced that the Government had cleared for publication proposed legislation that will be a key facilitator in the Department’s Reform Programme in relation to agency rationalisation and local authority mergers.
The Minister said “The Local Government (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill 2012 will allow my Department to finalise arrangements for the rationalisation of its State Agencies, from 21 to 12. In order to achieve this, the Bill will allow my Department to abolish existing State agencies and to create a lesser number of new agencies merging their functions. This reduction in the number of state agencies will bring about valuable savings on pay and administration costs.
The Minister highlighted “by way of example the Bill will allow my Department to dissolve the Local Government Computer Services Board, the Local Government Management Services Board and An Chomhairle Leabharlanna. A single agency – The Local Government Management Agency – will provide the shared services in industrial relations, ICT, procurement and library services for all 34 local authorities. Furthermore, the two Limerick Regeneration Agencies will be dissolved with roles to be replaced through the development of the joint management arrangement for Limerick City and Limerick County Council as a step to the merger of the two Councils.
The Government also approved the introduction of amendments to the Local Government Act 2001, to be brought forward at Committee Stage of the Bill, to provide for the establishment of appropriate management arrangements for Limerick City and County Councils and North and South Tipperary County Councils prior to their respective mergers in 2014. The principal objective of the change will be to enable the same person to be manager for more than one city/county council.
The Minister concluded that: ‘I am committed to the Programme for Government’s overarching objective of Public Sector Reform by making substantial cuts to the number of State bodies and companies. As part of the rationalisation programme the total number of State bodies within my Department’s remit will be reduced by 9 from 21 to 12 and Limerick City and County Councils will be merged as will South Tipperary and North Tipperary Councils.’
Across the Department’s group of agencies, staff numbers are currently 783 Whole Time Equivalents, compared to 951at end 2008 – a reduction of 168 (18%). Ultimately, agency numbers are targeted to fall to 712 (a reduction of 25%) by the end of the rationalisation process. Local authorities have reduced staff numbers by 8,433 from 37,243 whole time equivalents to 28,810 since 2008.
“As we move forward it is vital that we must provide services in a more streamlined and efficient manner and it is very important that we continue to make savings whenever and wherever possible and I will continue to pursue this agenda of reform into the future, “ concluded the Minister.