Description:We are faced with the prospect of ‘smaller government’ and lower levels of public expenditure for the foreseeable future. Over the past three years Government’s focus has been on cost cutting rather than driving sustainable cost savings that will have long term budgetary and transformational effects. Greater emphasis needs to be placed on how to secure transformational reform and long term efficiencies.
The delivery of world-class public services in Ireland requires an ambitious vision and plan by Government, a rigorous implementation programme an strong interaction with the private sector. By working in partnership with the private sector, Government can do more with fewer resources. Currently, Ireland is the fourth lowest country in the OECD in terms of availing of the benefits of this approach to public service delivery.
Implication(s):Together with reform initiatives such as shared services, eGovernment and public procurement, there must be a comprehensive strategy for external service delivery in order to put public services back on a sustainable footing.
While the major areas of health, justice, education and local government have been earmarked for commencement, early action is needed right across the public sector in identifying suitable areas for external service delivery. Public bodies should be encouraged to put forward services that could be done more effectively and efficiently in partnership with industry and/or third sector bodies, going beyond the ‘core versus non-core’ debate of purely seeing this as a mechanism for achieving solely back-office savings. Any area or function for which outcomes or outputs can be specified should be considered for external service delivery, regardless of whether they are seen as ‘core’ or ‘non-core’, ‘front-office’ or ‘back-office’. All suitable services and business areas should be considered for delivery through identified categories: managed services, ICT services, business process outsourcing, construction services, facilities management and professional services.
In addition, the Irish public sector should:
- Draw inspiration from external service delivery internationally;
- Promote Irish examples that need to be addressed;
- Tackle administrative and other issues that may act as a barrier to roll-out;
- Make full use of the models for external service delivery.
Progress made by Government includes:
- Appointment of Kevin Daly as Commercial Delivery Manager within the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform;
- In July 2012, Government agreed a range of actions aimed at achieving a focussed and integrated approach to external service delivery of non-core processes with the objective of reducing costs and focussing staff on priority areas.
- All proposed new services across the public service will be first tested for external service delivery before any approval to provide the service internally will be granted.
- Work is underway to identify existing services that may be suitable for delivery by external providers with a view to selecting a number of major projects for priority implementation.
- The four major sectors of Health, Education, Justice and Local Government will prepare and implement a detailed benefits-driven external service delivery plan in their sectors.
Current Position:There has been far too little debate about the role the private sector can play in delivering public services. Other countries, many of which are known for the quality of their public services, make far more use of the private sector. While it is clear that there is no one-size-fits-all approach, the potential benefits are significant.
External service provision need not lead to job losses and is not akin to privatisation: public sector control can be maintained and service levels improved. There is considerable expertise in Ireland for delivering external services and there is a need for much more direct engagement with the public sector to explore the possibilities. An informed decision can then be taken as to how best to proceed. The net benefit will be more efficient and effective services, ultimately benefitting the taxpayer.
- Delivering_for_the_citizen_2013 (final).pdf - 2,844 Kbytes
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Last Updated: 08/21/2013