Minister Donohoe launches public service framework for future development & innovation: Our Public Service 2020

13th December, 2017

New reform plan to focus on:

  • Driving public service reform and making it a key priority for Government
  • Delivering better services for the public
  • Driving innovation for our future
  • Building robust and agile organisations
  • A new approach to reform focusing on the evaluation of impacts and outcomes for the public


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D., today (Tuesday) launched Our Public Service 2020. This new framework for driving development and innovation will build a stronger public service to deliver better quality services for everyone over the period from 2018 to 2020 and beyond.


Key achievements of the reform programme to date as noted by the OECD in their Assessment of Ireland’s Second Public Reform Plan 2014 – 2016, include the Civil Service Renewal Plan; the establishment of the Office of Government Procurement and the National Shared Services Office; and one-stop-shops such as Intreo for jobseekers and Local Enterprise Offices for businesses.


Our Public Service 2020 aims to build a stronger and more engaged public service that:

  • is more responsive to the public’s needs;
  • enables public servants to reach their full potential through professional development;
  • is equipped to deal with future challenges.


The framework is built across three pillars and includes both new initiatives and actions that build on reforms already in place. They include

  • Delivering for our public: For example, the continued development of digital services under the Public Service ICT Strategy is one key way that we will deliver improved public services.
  • Innovating for our future: We will encourage new thinking and innovative ideas about how we can do things better.
  • Developing our people and organisations: We will improve strategic human resource management and workforce planning. This will help ensure the right mix of skills and tools are there to support public servants in delivering quality services.


Launching the plan, Minister Donohoe said: ‘This is a really important milestone in our reform agenda, as we mark our entry into a new phase of improving our public service. Great progress has been made so far on the reform agenda. Our Public Service 2020 shows we can still achieve more, and build a public service to meet challenges and opportunities up ahead. Our focus is also on using new and more innovative ways to deliver improvements that will benefit everyone’.


Minister of State for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment, Patrick O’Donovan T.D., said: ‘Our Public Service 2020 encompasses a range of other strategies, such as the Public Service ICT Strategy and the Open Data Strategy 2017 – 2022. It is designed to support this broader landscape of change over the longer term. Not forgetting what we have already achieved, Our Public Service 2020 will build and expand upon key reform achievements such as shared services and centralised procurement, and provide new ways for the public to connect’.


Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, Robert Watt, said: ‘Technology has increased expectations for public services. Making better use of new technology and data will support the drive for greater digital delivery of services. As public servants, we must continue to engage with the public and learn to better utilise modern service delivery channels. This framework allows us to do that.’


Implementation of Our Public Service 2020 will begin in 2018. For the first time, both civil and public service leaders and managers will jointly drive the reform programme as part of a Public Service Leadership Board. This will ensure there is shared ownership of the actions right across the public service.





Notes for Editors


Public Service Reform – Background

There have been two programmes of public service reform in Ireland since 2011. The first Public Service Reform Plan was published in November 2011 and the second Reform Plan (Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016) was published in January 2014. Since then, significant reforms have been made which have made the work of the public service more transparent, made decision-making more accountable and service delivery more effective and efficient. Achievements since 2011 have been outlined in five separate progress reports, all of which are available on In particular, the Final Progress Report, published in July 2017, sets out the key reform achievements since 2011.



Our Public Service 2020

Our Public Service 2020 builds on the significant progress made since the reform programme started in 2011. It includes new initiatives and builds on those already in place, and it also lays the path for future improvements beyond 2020.


Developed collaboratively over 18 months, the framework is informed by extensive engagement across the civil and public service, as well a public consultation, the first ever on public service reform, which was held over the summer of 2017.  The submissions made to this public consultation can be accessed here. It has also been informed by the OECD Assessment of Ireland’s Second Public Reform Plan 2014 – 2016, particularly around outcomes, evidence, governance, and innovation.




This is the first time that responsibility for reform is shared across the entire public service, and a robust and flexible governance structure is being put in place to oversee the implementation of the framework. A Public Service Leadership Board (PSLB) drawn from Secretary General/CEO level will provide overall leadership, and each government department and major office will complete an individual implementation plan in collaboration with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.


All documents in relation to Our Public Service 2020 can be found here.