The Toland Report (Independent Review Group) published in July 2014 set out a series of reforms to be implemented over a two year timeframe. The Department has been implementing the Report, alongside the Civil Service Renewal Plan.
A summary of actions implemented to date:
- A Culture and Values Charter has been developed and published to all staff and on our website. A Change Team has been established to ensure that the objectives of the Culture and Values Charter are delivered and Values embedded. The aim is to achieve a more engaged, open and listening culture to better support the Department’s work. It follows extensive engagement with staff and stakeholders, including the Department’s agencies, civil society and other government departments.
- The Department’s Management Board has been reconstituted to enhance the strategic oversight of the Department and its agencies and to facilitate more effective management and governance. The Board meets weekly to review current/emerging issues and once per month for strategic discussions. 44 meetings were held in 2015. The management structures supporting the Secretary General’s Office have also been strengthened.
- In addition to the normal daily interaction and briefings, each month the Minister meets formally with the Secretary General and the Management Board to discuss matters of importance relating to implementation of Ministerial priorities, the work of the Department and any issues of concern that may arise.
- Since March 2014, the Department has put in place revised systems and procedures to ensure that correspondence is handled appropriately and, in particular, that it is brought to the attention of the Minister or relevant officials and followed up in a timely manner.
- New procedures were implemented to ensure that high priority correspondence, such as correspondence referencing section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act 2005, is ‘red-flagged’ and brought to the immediate attention of relevant recipients, including the Secretary General and the Minister.
- An annual Strategic Business Plan, first published in 2015, is prepared drawing together in one single plan all the strategic priorities across the Department which affords the Department’s Management Board a clear view in monitoring the Department’s work and allows more strategic targeting of resources. Twice yearly progress reports are also published. The One Plan for 2016 and the progress report to end June are available in the publications area of the website.
- New audit and risk management processes have been introduced.
- Performance and governance arrangements continue to be strengthened through Formal Performance/Service Delivery Agreements and Frameworks agreed with the range of agencies under the Department’s remit.
- Two Conferences/roundtables around the theme of Departmental and agency collaboration have been held in 2016, attended by senior representatives from the Department and sector bodies.
- A Criminal Justice Strategic Committee and a Civil Agencies Network also meet to further matters of common interest.
- A Governance Framework was published in accordance with the Corporate Governance Standard for the Civil Service.
- The Department recruited a Deputy Secretary to provide greater cohesion across the criminal justice portfolio.
- Following the appointment of a Head of Communications, an internal and external Communications Strategy has been developed and was published in August .
- In conjunction with h the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer (OGCIO) we are developing essential systems to improve how we work. eSubmissions for Ministerial and Secretary General's papers has been rolled out and is the first project on the Government cloud and others are planned to follow.
- Work has continued on developing the Irish Government Economic Evaluation Service (IGEES) Work Programme and a Research Programme
- A new Head of Strategic Human Resources was appointed in June 2016. A workforce planning process commenced in June 2016.
- The range of specific recommendations in relation to An Garda Síochána is being implemented which is a continuing priority for the Department.
There have been a considerable number of senior management changes. As noted above, a Deputy Secretary General was appointed in April 2015, with the consequential Assistant Secretary vacancy leading the Crime and Security area filled in October 2015 through lateral mobility under the Senior Public Service scheme. Three new Assistant Secretaries were appointed - two in early 2015 and one in April 2016 - following open competitions run by the Public Appointments Service on behalf of the Top Level Appointments Committee. Internal mobility transfers have also been implemented at Assistant Secretary level.