Labour proposes major changes in business of government

jacko

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major list of proposals

Press releases » Media centre » The Labour Party

-Legislation on the issue of cabinet confidentiality, to ensure that it cannot be used to cover up necessary investigations.

- The restoration of the Freedom of Information Act to its original form and scope and the extension of its remit to the Garda Síochána and other public bodies.

- The introduction of Whistleblowers legislation.

- Spending limits for local and Presidential elections and the reduction in the ceilings for European and general elections.

- Reform of the system of appointments to state boards to ensure that the process is transparent and that those appointed have the requisite knowledge and skills.

- Legislation to further restrict contributions to political parties and candidates and to require greater disclosure of donations.

- Repeal of the Official Secrets Act, retaining a criminal sanction only for breaches which involve a serious threat to public policy (the international relations of the State, the conduct of a fair trial, national security and the like).

- A statutory register of lobbyists, and rules concerning the practice of lobbying.

- Rules to ensure that senior public servants (including political appointees) cannot work in the private sector, in an area involving a potential conflict of interest with their former public employment, until at least two years have elapsed.

- A 50 per cent increase in Dáil sitting days, with sittings four days a week, a shorter summer recess and significantly reduced breaks at Christmas and Easter.

- A break-up of the Government monopoly on legislation and its stranglehold over the business of the Dáil

- A restriction on the use of guillotine motions and other procedural devices that prevent full debate on Bills and other measures.

- A petition system for the Dáil, similar to that operating in the European Parliament.

- An independent Fiscal Advisory Council, separated from decision-makers in government, to undertake fiscal macroeconomic projections and monitoring, independent of Government and reporting to the Dáil and the public.

- Bring forward the annual Estimates cycle, so that it becomes more timely and relevant, with the Book of Estimates accompanied by a detailed performance report on what the previous year's spending had achieved.

- Oireachtas Committees to be given powers to publish reports on the economy, efficiency and propriety of the Estimates and to give the Dáil an assessment and evaluation of the merits of individual expenditure proposals.

- A role for the Ceann Comhairle in deciding whether a Minister has failed to provide reasonable information in response to a question.

- A repeal of the "gag" clause that applies to the officers of public bodies and prevents them from expressing an opinion on the merits of Government policy

- A requirement that the Attorney General's advice to Government be published if it is publicly relied upon as justifying or requiring the passage, defeat or amendment of a Bill or the development or amendment of a policy or programme, unless the advice is given in the course of litigation or in relation to pending or contemplated litigation.

- The provision of adequate powers for parliamentary inquiries into matters of public interest and importance, if necessary by an amendment to the Constitution..

- A reformulated code of laws, replacing both the Ministers and Secretaries Acts and the Public Service Management Act, which would spell out the functions, powers and duties of Ministers in charge of each Department of State. The law that defines the relationship between Ministers and their Departments to enshrine three basic propositions:

- if the Minister takes a decision personally, he or she should say so and account for it

- if the decision is taken by the Department, under a delegated power, then the relevant, named official should say so and account for it

- the Minister would then have to account for the degree of supervision he or she exercised over the Department in relation to the exercise within it of delegated powers.

- Legislate for a system of delegation of specified Ministerial powers to specified officers who would, to the extent of the authority delegated to them, be accountable both within the Department and also directly to the Oireachtas for the exercise of those powers.

- Ensure that each Minister is responsible for the supervision and oversight of his or her Department to ensure that adequate standards are maintained; outputs are delivered as determined or agreed; and procedures are in place to enable the Minister to respond to problems of administration and to give an account to the Dáil and to the public generally.

- The responsibilities of Secretary Generals to be strengthened by assigning to them authority and accountability for ensuring that the Department and its officers perform their functions in a non-political and impartial manner, in accordance with law and with the highest ethical standards of conduct and integrity and in accordance with any prescribed code of conduct.

- The Secretary General to be required to ensure that risk management and other internal controls are in place so that public funds are safeguarded; functions are performed effectively, efficiently and economically; laws, regulations and approved policies are complied with; and records and reports are adequate, reliable and accurate.

The Secretary General to be given specific responsibility for ensuring that legal advice or opinion is brought to the personal attention of the Minister if it casts substantial doubt on the constitutionality or validity of a statute, statutory instrument or departmental scheme, practice or course of action
 


Cato

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Sounds like a decent start, but much more is needed.
 

Cato

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FG came out with something related today as well;

Reinventing Government

Reinventing Government to protect frontline services and get the economy back on track – Bruton

Making Government smaller and better to get things done

Speaking at the launch of “Reinventing Government”, Fine Gael’s plan to radically overhaul public services and change the way Government does its business, Party Leader Enda Kenny T.D. and Enterprise Spokesman Richard Bruton T.D. stated that fundamental change needs to take place to ensure that State services are protected and the economy is put back on track.
(Full document available by clicking here)

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny T.D. stated:

“The public sector has a key role to play in rebuilding Ireland. We believe that the vast majority of public servants do an absolutely vital job and recognise that many public servants feel they are being unfairly targeted as a result of a crisis they did not create. The current crisis represents an opportunity to release the full potential of all who serve the public and a chance to say, “Never again”, to the behaviour of the past that has cast such a shadow on our future. “Reinventing Government” is the action plan designed to grab that opportunity.”

Deputy Bruton went on to say:

“Reinventing Government must be a foundation stone of economic renewal instead of the present model of Government which is serving only to make things worse.

“Thousands of public servants are presently trapped in a system that is failing them. Fine Gael has a plan to make a step change in the way our public services are run that will reward effort and ingenuity and penalise waste and inefficiency. Ministers and senior civil servants will evaluate projects and take responsibility for outcomes while managers will be freed up to innovate and motivate their colleagues to serve the needs of the public.

“Among the actions set out in Reinventing Government to make Fine Gael’s vision of Government a reality are:
· The abolishing of over 145 state bodies and companies including the dismantling of the HSE and FAS and their replacement with better, more cost effective alternatives;
· Saving over €5billion, or 1 euro in 10 spent by public bodies, by confronting waste, duplication and inefficiency;
· Externally recruiting new high level specialists in banking, taxation and macro economic forecasting to improve the Dept. of Finance’s capacity to deliver on key tasks;
· At least 1/3rd of all appointments at a senior level in the Public Service (above PO level) will be made from outside the current system for a period of 5 years;
· All lobbyists will have to be registered with the Standard’s in Public Office Commission and recent restrictions to the Freedom of Information Act will be reversed.
· We will establish an Independent Fiscal Council to advise Parliament on issues such as borrowing levels, debt reduction and taxation planning. The Fiscal Council will be accountable to the Oireachtas Finance Committee.

“Unless there is a fundamental change in the way Government does its business, it will continue to be part of the problem rather than the solution. We need a Public Service that is smaller, better and one that gets things done. Through the systems and plans outlined in “Reinventing Government”, Fine Gael will make that happen.”

www.finegael.ie/upload/ReinventingGovernment.pdf
 

jacko

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well there's something that will be easily agreed at the programme for government talks after the election.
 

Red_93

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What are you on about? Everyone knows that labour are a policy free zone, policy lite populists. How dare they try and pretend they have policies by producing continuous policy documents/press statements on what they'd do if in government. These are not real, labour are unable to produce policies, only FG and FF can and do produce policies. These charlatans!
 

seabhcan

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- if the Minister takes a decision personally, he or she should say so and account for it

- if the decision is taken by the Department, under a delegated power, then the relevant, named official should say so and account for it

- the Minister would then have to account for the degree of supervision he or she exercised over the Department in relation to the exercise within it of delegated powers.
I don't know how these would work in real life. Would it really make a difference?
 

wombat

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Interesting contrast in priorities - Repeal the Official Secrets Act on one hand, abolish 145 quangos on the other
 

The Dude

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Move this under political humour - sure we all know Labour have no policies, right :rolleyes:
 

Desperate Dan

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Not a single mention of Departments restriction to stop over payments for land purchase, as with roads they can be obtained through CPO.
 

The Dude

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Not a single mention of Departments restriction to stop over payments for land purchase, as with roads they can be obtained through CPO.
Funny, because in the case that you're oh so deftly alluding to, the seller of the land received less than the going rate for the land at the time
 

Mushroom

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That reads well - almost as well as the Green Manifesto for the 2007 election.

Of course, it won't be worth a gob of snot when the Ministerial Portfolios are being divvied out.

Here's what Labour and the Green Scum and Sinn Féin (as well as the usual suspects ) actually do on the ground:-

John Drennan: Divided Dail unites -- to give itself a pay rise - John Drennan, Columnists - Independent.ie

"Though some minimalistic cuts are revealed in the anticipated expenses of TDs and senators, one source noted that "when the increases are taken in the round, TDs and senators will not be losing a penny in salaries and expenses next year''."

Thanks Eamon.
 

Mushroom

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Funny, because in the case that you're oh so deftly alluding to, the seller of the land received less than the going rate for the land at the time

So your point is that Mrs. Gilmore was too stupid to hold out for the full rate?
 

The Dude

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So your point is that Mrs. Gilmore was too stupid to hold out for the full rate?
No, my point is that those yearning for a scandal to taint Gilmore are grasping at straws, and making inaccurate statements about 'overpayments' like the comment above.

The price of an asset is determined by what someone is willing to buy it for.
 


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