Minister Donohoe welcomes fourth Progress Report on the implementation of the Civil Service Renewal Plan

16th May, 2019

The Minister for Finance & Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today published the fourth Progress Report on the Civil Service Renewal Plan
Speaking following publication of the Progress Report Minister Donohoe said: ‘I am very pleased to publish the fourth Progress Report on the Civil Service Renewal Plan, which outlines the significant achievements that have been reached since the Plan was first introduced in 2014. The actions in the Plan are guiding the development of the civil service and the Report shows the important steps that have been taken to date and the range of reforms that have been put in place to improve the service for those who work in it and those who depend on it .’

The Civil Service Renewal Plan, published in 2014, set out a vision for the civil service – achieving the best possible results for Government, a better service for customers and a better place to work for staff. It built on the strengths of the civil service to ensure it has the capacity and capability it needs to meet challenges and to deliver an excellent service to the State. The programme of reform was developed to create a more unified, professional, responsive, open and accountable civil service and is overseen by the Civil Service Management Board (CSMB).  This is the fourth such report since the Plan was initiated and it captures the progress made across all of the actions in the Plan. 

Robert Watt, Secretary General of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform remarked that: ‘As a civil service, we are at the heart of Irish society – everything we do impacts on our country, its organisations and, most importantly, its people. We have seen enormous change in the environment in which we work and across the system and the Renewal Plan, along with a number of other key strategies, is helping to transform how the civil service conducts its business’.

“The changes we are making will help the civil service to ensure that it can deliver effectively into the future.  I would like to acknowledge the key role colleagues in the Civil Service Management Board are playing in changing the civil service and that of staff who continue to embrace change and reform.  While we can be proud of what we have achieved together thus far we also are ambitious to achieve more into the future.”


The Minister also said that: ‘Clearly, the civil and the wider public service, through the Public Service Reform plan ‘Our Public Service 2020’, are undergoing enormous transformation.  We need to maintain the momentum and achieve the best results we can for the resources we are investing in reform.  I am looking forward to the next phase of renewal which will build on the progress made to date and identify new priorities’.




Further Information:

The Civil Service Renewal Plan included 25 headline actions with each of the actions at various stages of implementation and delivery. The implementation of the Civil Service Renewal Plan has been carried out on a phased basis:

  • The first phase of implementation focused on establishing governance structures, creating momentum and initiating a number of actions;
  • The second phase successfully translated this progress into tangible results;
  • The third phase focused on actions that directly impacted on staff, enhancing the capability of all civil servants and supporting the development a high performing and more accountable workforce; and
  • The current phase is focused on continuing to consolidate, deepen and embed the actions of the Civil Service Renewal Plan across all Departments/Offices.

Significant progress has been made in delivering this ambitious programme of reform and significant achievements include:

  • The establishment of the Civil Service Management Board which has collective responsibility for the delivering the actions in the Civil Service Renewal Plan;
  • The development of a common Governance Standard for the civil service;
  • Further implementation of the Shared Services Programme; the Public Service ICT Strategy and Government Communications Programme;
  • The Civil Service People Strategy was launched in October 2017, setting the strategic direction for Human Resource Management across the civil service while also recognising that each organisation is unique and has its own challenges;
  • Open recruitment competitions have been held for a wide range of general service, professional and technical grades;
  • A wide range of initiatives to improve gender balance across the civil service have been developed and are being implemented within Departments and Offices. These include an action plan to improve gender balance at senior levels;
  • ‘OneLearning’ has been established to centrally operate and maintain the new L&D model and to manage the delivery the new common suite of L&D programmes;
  • Introduction of structured and transparent talent management programmes to develop future leaders;
  • A more effective and simplified performance management system (PMDS) has been delivered, including training for almost 10,000 line managers to support and improve the management of performance;
  • A new scheme for recognising innovation and excellence across the civil service was introduced in 2015 through the Civil Service Excellence and Innovation Awards. The awards celebrate the significant contributions that civil servants make to the civil service and recognise innovations in policy and service delivery across the service;
  • An approach to professionalisation has been agreed in the areas of HR, ICT and Finance, with most progress made in the HR area;
  • A new civil service-wide mobility scheme has been introduced for Clerical Officers and Executive Officers which will be extended to other grades up to Assistant Principal level in due course;
  • A standardised project management approach has been introduced and supported with the establishment of a Project Managers’ Network and training from OneLearning;
  • A new system of Organisational Capability Reviews to assess and strengthen performance and capacity across Departments is being implemented;
  • Publication of a Guidelines and Best Practice Handbook to guide the establishment of new Departments and/or restructuring of existing Departments;
  • Significant progress in relation to the development of a national data infrastructure; and
  • Organisation of two Civil Service Employee Engagement Surveys to date which asks civil servants for their views on working in the Civil Service, focusing on areas such as employee engagement, well-being, coping with change and commitment to the organisation. Departments/Offices are tasked with responding to the challenging areas arising from the findings.