31/10/12 - Deenihan outlines reform actions for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht organisations

• Annual savings of €1 million per annum in reduced administrative costs and fees
• Closer cooperation, shared services, new governance structures to be introduced

Wednesday, October 31st - Jimmy Deenihan TD, Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, has outlined the full set of reforms now being progressed for each of the 12 organisations that are funded by his Department.

These actions will provide annual savings of at least €1 million, will eliminate fees for board memberships, will reduce numbers on boards by up to 50%, and will introduce new governance and management models to ensure organisations work as efficiently as possible.

In November 2011 the Government agreed a Public Service Reform Plan presented by the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Brendan Howlin TD. The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht has 12 organisations in his remit which are contained in the Public Service Reform Plan (details below).

Following a period of assessment, consultation and review, earlier today the Government considered the progress made to date, and noted and agreed the range of reform actions to be undertaken.

Minister Jimmy Deenihan commented:

"I am progressing a pragmatic, common sense programme of reforms for the organisations funded by my Department. These reforms will save money at a time of scarce resources and will also modernise how these institutions cooperate and work with each other.

"I know that the organisations funded by my Department understand the challenge Ireland faces, and that we must do more with less in the years ahead. I also firmly believe that we have an opportunity for reform which should not be lost. I am ambitious for Ireland's cultural and heritage offering, and want to equip our organisations with the skills and structures they need in the challenging times ahead."

The range of reforms being progressed by the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht includes:

• Streamlining: A streamlining of all boards and advisory councils with fewer numbers and all serving without fees;
• Shared Services: Cooperation between institutions - in a real and practical way - across a wide range of services, like communications, procurement, security, retail service, and marketing;
• Support Services: Making greater use of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in providing support services - such as HR, IT, legal services and finance - to some institutions so that those organisations can concentrate on offering core services to the public;
• Recovery Agenda: Aligning the work of relevant organisations with the broader agenda of Government which is focussed on driving investment into Ireland and rebuilding our reputation overseas;
• Philanthropy: Encouraging organisations to proactively attract philanthropy and fundraise - nationally and internationally - to bolster the funding they receive from the taxpayer;
• Independence: Strengthening the programming, curatorial and operational independence of Directors.

Minister Deenihan concluded:

"As Minister for Arts, Heritage and Gaeltacht I am faced with a considerable challenge. Budgets have fallen for these organisations, and available resources will decrease in the years ahead.

"I do not believe that it is appropriate to simply allocate less funding to these organisations without also examining if there are structural reforms that we can make to help them run more efficiently, provide a better service to the public, and raise funds independently of Government.

"In progressing these reforms, I will be updating the legislation in the arts and heritage sector to streamline and refocus the work of organisations whilst ensuring the programming, curatorial, and operational independence of all directors. I want to thank the 12 organisations under the remit of my Department for working with us since last November, and engaging on a range of issues which arise in the reform agenda."

Ends


Note to Editors:

The 12 organisations funded by the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and included in the Government's Public Service Reform Plan are the National Gallery of Ireland (NGI), Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA), Crawford Art Gallery, National Archives of Ireland (NAI), National Museum of Ireland (NMI), National Library of Ireland (NLI), Irish Manuscripts Commission, Culture Ireland, Chester Beatty Library, the Heritage Council, An Coimisinéir Teanga (Irish Language Commissioner) and An Coimisiún Logainmneacha (Placenames Commission).

Some of the reform actions now being progressed include:

National Gallery of Ireland, Irish Museum of Modern Art, Crawford Art Gallery

• The boards of the three institutions to be scaled back to a maximum of 9 members each, including the Chair (a reduction of the order of between 40 – 50 %). All to operate on a pro bono basis.
• The three institutions to implement an agreed range of corporate support and operational shared services. A formal service level agreement to be put in place to govern delivery of those shared services.
• Legislation governing the National Gallery of Ireland to be updated.

National Archives of Ireland, National Library of Ireland, National Museum of Ireland, Irish Manuscripts Commission

• The existing National Archives governance model to be extended to the National Library and the National Museum. This new National Museum and Library Advisory Council, focussed on fundraising and philanthropic opportunities, to serve pro bono and to operate in place of the existing boards.
• The Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht to provide support services - in areas including legal services, finance, HR, IT, and procurement - to these institutions allowing more staff from these institutions to provide services to the public.
• The National Archives of Ireland to continue to operate, as currently, with a statutorily independent Director, within the ambit of the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, and with a reduced Advisory Council serving pro bono.

Culture Ireland

• The functions of Culture Ireland will be merged fully into the Department.
• The Culture Ireland brand and the associated Cultural Ambassadorship role will be retained.
• The work of Culture Ireland will be aligned more closely with the work internationally of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the IDA, An Bord Bia and Tourism Ireland.

Chester Beatty Library

• The library to continue to outsource administrative and other services as this will allow for the deployment of staff and other resources for the delivery of quality visitor services.
• The library to continue collaboration, co-operative work and shared services with other National Cultural Institutions.

Heritage Council

• Reducing the size of the Board, with board members serving pro bono, and eliminating statutory standing committees.
• Refocus a streamlined Council whose principal function would be in the areas of facilitating the grant-aiding of heritage from various sources, and engaging with and supporting local government and communities in capacity building and support.
• Updating the Heritage Act 1995.

An Coimisinéir Teanga (Irish Language Commissioner)

• The Office of An Coimisinéir Teanga is to merge with the Office of the Ombudsman.
• The statutory powers and functions of An Coimisinéir Teanga under the Official Languages Act 2003 will transfer to the Ombudsman and will be delegated to An Coimisinéir Teanga under the amending legislation.
• An Coimisinéir Teanga will continue to be statutorily appointed and exercise independent powers under the Official Languages Act 2003 and will also continue to be based in the Gaeltacht.

An Coimisiún Logainmneacha (Placenames Commission)

• The Placenames Commission, currently operating with a membership of 17, will be replaced with an expert committee with a membership of between 7 and 10 members operating pro bono.
• The work of this committee will primarily be undertaken online, with quarterly meetings being held to discuss complex issues.


 

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