State agency payroll savings outstrip civil service

Wednesday 13th June 2012

Total payroll and non-pay savings of almost €163 million were delivered by civil servants and non-commercial state agency staff in the second year of the Croke Park agreement, a figure expected to rise to over €184 million a year when this year’s non-payroll initiatives are fully implemented.

The second annual report of the Croke Park implementation body, published today, gives separate payroll figures that show non-commercial state agencies achieved savings of €64 million, compared to €58 million in the civil service. This was largely due to bigger staff cuts in the state agencies – 1,103 compared to 1,000 – in the year up to end of March 2012.

Non-commercial state agencies are undergoing substantial rationalisation and have incurred a massive 17.5% staff cut since 2008, compared to just over 8% in the civil service. In numerical terms the reduction was 2,288 in state agencies and 3,146 in the civil service.

Non-pay savings in the two sectors are aggregated in the report, which identified €891 million in annualised payroll and non-pay savings delivered across the entire public service in the second year of the four-year agreement. This is in addition to savings of €597 million achieved in the first year, giving a total of €1.49 billion in ongoing annual savings so far.

The report points out that savings have been achieved against the background of growing demand for social welfare services. The number of welfare recipients rose by 20% to 1.45 million between 2008 and 2011, while numbers on the live register have increased 280% to 285,000 in the last five years.

A range of additional services has been introduced and the number of claims processed has increased by 13%, with over 2.3 million claims cleared and an average 11% reduction in processing times for all schemes. At the end of last year there were 60% fewer claims awaiting decision compared to the end-2009 peak.

The reorganisation of agriculture department regional offices will reduce their number from 58 to 16 and has already delivered annual payroll savings of over €26 million and non-payroll savings of €2.5 million.  Teagasc closed 13 more offices in the second year of the agreement, bringing the total number of closures to 36, while implementing reforms to maintain services in the face of massive increase in demand for its services.

The rationalisation of the OPW’s property portfolio chalked up savings of €10 million. Non-pay savings were also achieved in the Department of Justice and Equality (€6.8 million), Jobs, Enterprise and Employment (€1.5 million), social protection (€1.7 million), the DPP’s office (€1.9 million), and revenue (€500,000). The report also outlines substantial productivity improvements in the paymaster general’s office, workplace relations bodies, revenue and the passport service.

Read the second annual report of the Croke Park implementation body, including a summary of main findings, HERE.

Read the first annual report of the Croke Park implementation body HERE.