27/09/2007

Civil Service Reform Top Priority, Minister Says

Civil Service reform and efficiency savings will be crucial in delivering the Executive's Budget priorities, the Finance Minister emphasised today.

Peter Robinson told members of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy at their annual conference in Newcastle, that government should be prepared to do more to produce tangible dividends.

This should include establishing an all-powerful scrutiny body to seek out efficiency savings and ensure delivery throughout the public sector.

The Minister said: "I believe we need to become more radical in our approach to identifying ways of improving the efficiency, performance and delivery of the public sector in Northern Ireland.

“For that reason I want to suggest today the creation of a new high level efficiency taskforce – the Performance & Efficiency Delivery Unit (PEDU) – supported by a small number of staff, to re-examine the scope for generating cash-releasing efficiencies and improving delivery and performance within Departments and across the wider public sector.”

Mr Robinson said that while its composition would have to be finalised, it must have clear objectives.

He said: “The PEDU will have authority to scrutinise and review, critically, the nature of spending in all areas. It will be asked to identify radical options to produce deliverable efficiency savings over and above the 3% level already set by direct rule Ministers. It may be that differential savings levels across the public sector will result from this.

“What I want from the process is challenging recommendations as to what we should and should not be doing within the public sector, as well as plans to ensure that those services we must deliver are provided cost-efficiently."

Mr Robinson said that Civil Service reform is a top priority for government, including the reduction of administrative costs and absenteeism.

Meanwhile, it was reported today that the Civil Service has cost the taxpayer an approximate £25 million during the last financial year due to sickness absence.

(LC/SP)

Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

26 November 2012
Minister Disappointed At Decision On Public Service Pension Reform
Finance Minister Sammy Wilson has today made clear his disappointment that the Executive has failed to agree to the use of a Legislative Consent Motion (LCM) that would allow for the reform of public service pensions in Northern Ireland.
04 May 2021
David Savage Appointed New Governor Of Maghaberry Prison
A new Governor of Maghaberry Prison has been appointed. The Northern Ireland Prison Service (NIPS) selected David Savage as the new Governor and he took up the post on Monday 03 May having served as Deputy Governor at the Prison since 2019.
13 April 2021
Xperience IT To Create 16 New Jobs
Lisburn digital transformation specialist Xperience IT is to invest over £1.5million and create 16 jobs as part of plans to expand its business offering with a new IT service platform.
13 April 2021
Call For Funding To Fix NI's 'Appalling Waiting Lists'
Health Minister Robin Swann has called for "significant funding" to be allocated to fix Northern Ireland's "appalling waiting lists". Mr Swann detailed his ambitions for the re-building of Northern Ireland's health service, while stressing the need for sustained investment to deliver the plans.
11 September 2009
Ambulance Service Efficiency Savings Proposals Approved
Health Minister Michael McGimpsey has approved proposals by the Ambulance Service which will result in around 66,000 additional paramedic hours across Northern Ireland. The proposals will see an extra 26 Rapid Response Vehicle (RRVs) on the ground enabling paramedics to bring life-saving treatment to patients more quickly.