131. Deputy Jonathan O'Brien asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality her plans to develop a research capacity within her Department and relevant agencies to support innovative best practice and evidence based initiatives; the resources she has allocated to this; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [12643/16]


Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Frances Fitzgerald): My Department, as part of its ongoing programme for change, designated a Chief Information Officer whose brief includes strengthening the research capacity and drawing together existing sources of research relevant to the strategic goals of the Department and its associated bodies. There are a number of events currently planned to engage with the research community to establish how best to move forward in accumulating evidence and data to support evidence-based practice and a more innovative approach to policy formulation. There are a number of existing research elements in the organisations associated with my Department and it is intended that their work be linked and augmented by additional research over the coming years. There are, of course many sources of research external to, but highly relevant to, my Department and the plan is to support collaboration and make connections between related fields of practice.
As data becomes more readily available as a result of this and other initiatives, my Department is enhancing its capacity to make use of evidence in both an operational and a longer term strategic context and is working with the Central Statistics Office on developments around administrative data.