156. Deputy Donnchadh Ó Laoghaire asked the Minister for Justice and Equality the actions that have been taken by An Garda Síochána to put in place a director of data quality as recommended by the Garda Inspectorate report, Changing Policing in Ireland; his views on the value of such a position; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [5139/18]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The Garda Inspectorate in its report "Changing Policing in Ireland" recommended that An Garda Síochána establish a new Garda civilian staff position of Director of Data Quality responsible for data quality assurance across the organisation and specific line management of relevant Divisions.
The Government on 11 April 2017 agreed that the governance of An Garda Síochána should be strengthened through the appointment of three additional civilians to the senior management team - a Chief Information Officer, an Executive Director - Legal and Compliance and an Executive Director - Strategy and Transformation. These latter two posts have been filled.
The competition for the position of Chief Data Officer is being undertaken by the Public Appointment Service (PAS) on behalf of the Top Level Appointments Committee as is generally the case with civilian service posts at this senior level. The competition was advertised by PAS on 17 November 2017 with a closing date for applications of 7 December 2017. I understand that the competition is currently being progressed by PAS and that it is expected that an appointment will be made shortly.
Reporting to Deputy Commissioner Strategy and Governance, the Chief Data Officer will have ownership of all organisational data and responsibility for data quality with line responsibility for the following operational areas: Data Management; Information management; Garda Information Services Centre; Garda National Vetting Bureau, Garda Síochána Analysis Service, Fixed Charge Penalty Office; Data Protection; and Freedom of Information.
Civilianisation is a key part of the Government's Five Year Reform and High-level Workforce Plan for An Garda Síochána. It has a substantial role to play in addressing critical skills gaps and capacity issues across the organisation. Already, as I have stated civilians have been appointed to newly created senior leadership posts at Executive Director level to take responsibility for the portfolios of Strategy & Transformation and Legal & Compliance. The Chief Data Officer when appointed will operate at this level. These newly created leadership posts support the major reform programme underway within An Garda Síochána and will assist in bringing diverse perspectives and management skills to the top levels in the organisation.
I have previously expressed my concerns regarding data issues within An Garda Síochána. It is imperative that data be managed and used correctly and effectively. The Chief Data Officer will bring further leadership at a senior level in relation to the management of data and I believe that this is a very positive development for An Garda Síochána.