Modernisation of public sector can be led from within – Naughten

In News by Denis Naughten

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The expertise needed to modernise the public service already exists within the public service itself and nobody knows better how services need to improved than the people who deliver the services at the front line on a daily basis, according to Denis Naughten.

“Fine Gael believes that working together Government and the Public Service can transform the way Government services are delivered. We have already seen with the General Register Office how it is possible to use the expertise within the public sector to effect real change and modernisation,” stated Denis Naughten.

“Civil servants from the Departments of Health and Children, and Social and Family Affairs created a strategy to computerise the GRO, redesign work processes and the organisation of GRO to support a modern civil registration system. It is so good in fact that the Northern Ireland GRO has basically adopted the same system and others are looking at doing so.

“The system has won international awards but, more importantly, it has delivered real benefits to Irish taxpayers. For example now you don’t have to queue for a birth certificate to apply for child benefit, it happens automatically now when you register the birth.

“Nor do you have to head down to the Register Office to get a marriage certificate when you are applying for the pension. Registrars don’t have to spend hours searching through dusty old registers and copying certificates by hand, it can be done by the click of mouse in seconds.”

Denis Naughten continued: “The results of modernising the GRO are better services for the public, and a better place to work for registrars and staff. That’s what public service modernisation is all about: giving public servants the tools and the resources to deliver a better and more cost effective service to the public.

“There are plenty of other examples of excellence right across the public service and the challenge for the new Government and for the public service is to use these examples as the road map to ensure that world class excellence is the norm for Irish public services.

“Contrary to what some commentators have said public sector workers have also suffered, for example the average teacher has taken a 17% pay cut and is facing the prospect of larger classes and fewer resources. Nor are we through the worst of it just yet. By 2014 we will be spending more servicing the national debt than we will be spending on our schools and universities.

“Rather than undermining public sector pay we believe that we have to modernise how we do our work – from Dáil Eireann through every stand of the public sector right through to the dole queue.

“If we are to get through this crisis then as politicians, public servants, business people, we are all going to have to raise the level of our game and do better, more of the same just won’t cut it.”

Fine Gael has set out its plan for a modern pubic service, called Reinventing Government, which is available at www.finegael.ie/upload/ReinventingGovernment.pdf