1.4 Planned outcomes from this plan
The Public Service has undergone significant change in recent years. Many of the reforms in that time have focused on efficiency gains to reduce costs. This was necessary in order to reduce public spending in line with our fiscal commitments, while continuing to deliver important public services with reduced staff numbers. The success of the Public Service in meeting those targets should not be underestimated.
However, as we reach a more sustainable fiscal position, this new wave of reform has a more strategic and ambitious goal - the achievement, by 2020, of a Public Service that will have positive outcomes for all stakeholders, including citizens, businesses and public servants themselves. In doing so, this Reform Plan outlines the strategy, looking out towards 2020, for a new Public Service that focuses on achieving improved outcomes rather than the traditional emphasis on inputs and outputs.
Outcomes for CitizensOver the coming years, Public Service Reform will seek to drive improved outcomes in terms of how citizens engage with and experience public services. There will be changes that will have direct results for all citizens. It will become easier for the citizen to engage with the State, to obtain their entitlements and to understand their obligations. Information will be more easily available and there will be greater transparency in how those decisions that affect citizens are made. New delivery channels, better integrated services and greater flexibility will reduce the administrative burden on the citizen. A more strategic approach will be taken to planning and delivering services, to improve outcomes in health, education and justice, as well as in other areas.
Outcomes for BusinessesA modern, fit-for-purpose Public Service will provide Irish business with a real competitive advantage and will be a key enabler for growth. Public Service Reform will make Ireland a good place in which to do business. It will be easier for businesses to engage with the Public Service, working in partnership to develop enterprise and drive job creation. Increased partnership between the public and private sectors and new approaches to service delivery will provide greater opportunities for business in the coming years. Business customers will have a reduced administrative burden and a simplified landscape for their interactions with the State. This will be facilitated by greater use of digital channels and the increased integration of services. A greater focus will also be placed on regional and local economic and community development, acting as a stimulus for job creation and economic regeneration.
Outcomes for Public ServantsPublic servants have already made a significant contribution to the reform of the Public Service over recent years and will continue to drive and implement further change as the Public Service evolves. New ways of working and greater use of technology and data sharing will become the norm. Shared approaches to back-office functions will reduce duplication and allow for a strengthened focus on key strategic issues. The Public Service will invest in its people to increase and expand its capacity, capability and leadership skills, so that it can respond to future challenges. Building on the traditional values of fairness and dedication to public service, there will be an emphasis on creating a sustainable culture of efficiency and effectiveness, as well as improved cross-organisational planning and service delivery that is focused on outcomes for the service user. The Public Service will be more rewarding for, and supportive of, public servants and they will be better equipped to perform to a higher standard. Improved training and development, increased mobility and further integration of systems and structures will provide a more interesting and challenging environment for careers in the Public Service.
The Public Service will invest in its people to increase and expand its capacity, capability and leadership skills, so that it can respond to future challenges.
Having considered the overall context and framework for Public Service Reform, and the outcomes being targeted, Section 2 will address the strategic direction of reform over the period to 2020.