Minister Hayes on delivering Better Debt Management


Today (16-May-2013) in Dublin’s Alexandra Hotel Minister of State for Public Service Reform, Brian Hayes spoke to a seminar about the Government’s Debt Management Project.  This seminar, organised by Stubbs Gazette, brought together stakeholders from across the Public and Private sectors to discuss the way forward for this area.

This Project, led by the Reform and Delivery Office in the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, is engineering a root and branch overhaul of how monies owed to State authorities are both managed and recovered.

“We are talking about massive accumulated debts owed to vital public services.  At a time of scarce public resources ‘no action’ in this area is not an option.  Outstanding debt of €400 million of owed to local authorities, and in excess of €300 million in the area of Social Welfare illustrate the need of urgent and effective action.  Particularly when, every month, the Government is spending €1 billion more than it is taking in in revenues.”

The Government’s Debt Management project one of several major initiatives instigated under the 18 month old Public Service Reform Programme.  This project is focused on an in-depth analysis of the five areas which account for some of the largest debts owing to the State.  These areas are reflected in the composition of the Board driving this project forward, and include senior managers drawn from the Agriculture, Local Government, Courts, Health, and Welfare sectors.

“Since entering Government we have been steadily building capacity to implement our reform agenda.  I am confident that the expertise and structures we have brought in and developed are responding to the public hunger for better services and better value for money.  ‘Quality of spend and service’ is the mantra driving reforms in Public Procurement, Shared Services, and eGovernment.”

Currently the Department is evaluating tenders to assess the current debt management landscape.  The approach is to assess current management practices against alternative models such as external service delivery, centralised and or shared services, and employee-owned Mutuals, Co-ops and Social Enterprises.  The results of this assessment, to be completed over the summer, will thereafter be presented to Government for decision.

“Everywhere the talk is about cutting and taxing, here we are acting to reform.  These are reforms which by responding and adapting to circumstance and best-practice, will result in better services for the citizen and better value for the taxpayer.  I look forward to this project soon becoming practice, one that will set precedents for our continuing drive to reform our public services for the better.”

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