Quote of the week
“…this Government is driving forward significant change, underpinned by its historic mandate.”
– Government Public Service Reform Plan
The Irish government is determined to reform government, including the way it delivers services.
There are two drivers. The upfront one, promoted by an Irish government Reform Plan, is to improve service to citizens. The less obvious one relates to the government’s fiscal target of reducing the deficit to 8.6% of GDP in 2012 and to below 3% of GDP by 2015.
The changes will affect public servants: the goal is to shrink the public service by 12% from 2008 levels by 2015.
The ways in which Ireland will improve government service delivery will come as no surprise to those who follow these things. Use of technology to “support enhanced customer service channels, to improve information sharing and to reduce transaction costs” is on the agenda, as it is with most governments.
There is already a single portal with over 300 online services, and it is clear that there will be a move to drive citizens to the web. One innovative idea is an online voter registration portal.
One initiative that has had little take up in Canada is the creation of a single Public Services Card that will give citizens easier access to services and (presumably) drive back-office integration.
Money will be saved not only be reducing public service salaries but also by finding partners in other sectors to deliver non-core services.
And shared services initiatives will be launched to cover HR, payroll and pensions. All this is driven by a Cabinet Committee on Public Service Reform and implemented by a Reform and Delivery Office.
In short: the kind of initiatives that we have been seeing in governments looking to reduce costs in a comprehensive plan.