IMPACT rejects bizarre HSE payroll plan

Thursday 3rd October 2013

IMPACT has refused to accept a bizarre HSE plan to outsource payroll for the new Children and Families Agency. Management has admitted its proposal would cost the cash-strapped public health service €250,000 a year. IMPACT says the work can be done by existing staff at “little or no additional cost.”

The union also says the proposal would breach an agreement reached in the recent Haddington Road talks, which says shared services in HR and payroll must be kept in-house as a preferred option.

IMPACT’s Health & Welfare Division’s executive committee yesterday rejected the HSE plan and the issue has been referred to the Labour Relations Commission under Haddington Road procedures.

IMPACT national secretary Louise O’Donnell said it would be madness to spend an extra quarter of a million a year, particularly when management is seeking talks on shared payroll services across most of the health sector including the HSE and voluntary hospitals.

“The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform recently told us that health service management claims it has 1,500 surplus staff. Now it’s telling us it can’t find ten people to reallocate to this work. Instead it wants to squander €250,000 of public money each and every year. Either it’s madness or there’s a more sinister privatisation agenda at play,” she said.

The union has urged the HSE to urgently start preparations for in-house payroll provision for the Children and Family Agency (CFA) after it emerged that only limited work had been done so far. The agency is due to come on stream in January.

IMPACT says the cheapest and best solution is for the HSE to provide the CFA with payroll services on a shared-service basis. The union points out that management has constantly argued for more shared services, which are central to the reforms required under both the Croke Park and Haddington Road agreements.

In meetings with HSE management, IMPACT has also put forward other options for providing payroll services using existing resources, including the possibility of redeploying staff to work on CFA payroll under Croke Park redeployment provisions. The union disputes management claims that it would need up to ten additional staff to keep the service in-house. This is because, even under HSE privatisation plans, most of the payroll work would be done by HSE staff.