15 million extra public-service hours to be used to roll out reform plan

The Government has published details of the next phase of its Public Service Reform Plan, which Minister Brendam Howlin said "set the basis for a new public service".

It sets out objectives and actions for the next three years to protect and improve services.

The weighty plan includes action right across the public sector, including efforts to improve the digital reach of the Government, and access for the public to digital services. Some specific actions in that area include:

- The installation of 100 Mbps broadband in all second level schools by the end of this year;

- The new local government portal localgov.ie to offer one-stop-shop access for all citizens to all local authority services;

- Implementation of the new postcodes system to will help emergency, postal and other service providers (including online services) to locate all households.

The plan also proposes using alternative models to improve service delivery and more openness, transparency and accountability.

Public Expenditure and Reform Minister Brendan Howlin said the new public sector pay deal would be used to deliver the plan.

"The Haddington Road agreement will act as a key enabler for the delivery of the next phase," he said.

"The agreement will deliver an additional €1bn reduction in the cost of public service pay and pensions by 2016 (and) provide an additional 15 million working hours across the public service."

Meanwhile, Junior Finance Minister Brian Hayes has praised the public sector unions for keeping the industrial peace.

"There is no other country in western Europe that has gone through the scale of that reduction in a circumstance where we have effectively had industrial peace, and I recognise the role of the public-sector unions in recognising the scale of the challenge that we face."

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