Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Sun May 14, 2006 6:08 pm

U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

U.S. Department of Education
400 Maryland Avenue, SW
Washington, DC 20202

need I go on

The difference between back office and central administrative control cannot be stressed enough and your assertion that I work in the public sector is misplaced I work in a fee based environment so I have nothing other than an altuistic interest in this.
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby a boyle » Sun May 14, 2006 6:26 pm

area of ireland 70,286 km squared
area of metropolitan paris 14,518.3 km squared

the country is tiny , tiny . i know that traffic makes it seem big , but is it really really small. what is proposed is not decentralisation but moving to the suburbs. the only parts of the country that are any distance from dublin are west cork , west kerry , and donegal.
a boyle
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Sun May 14, 2006 6:32 pm

So why move everything around if it has such a small population; surely you can see that the type of professional services required to run a government simply don't exist in any location in this country other than Belfast or Cork and to a lessor extent Limerick and Galway.

How much would PPHARS have cost if the Deloitte consultants had to drive to Galway each time they had to meet a senior CC?

Put simply taking your figures of above Ireland would have a population of 60m if it had a similar population density of the Paris basin; it doesn't and throwing jobs around to unsuitable locations will ensure that it never acheives a sustainable density.
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby kite » Sun May 14, 2006 6:41 pm

[quote="Thomond Park"]So why move everything around if it has such a small population]

:o Too right, moving the Dept. of Agriculture staff from Cork to Macroom under the mask of decentralisation is nothing more than freeing up land for the FF mafia to make more millions.
All the better to stuff into those brown paper bags my friend??
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby jimg » Mon May 15, 2006 12:53 pm

so how kerry foods runs itseld is very important

Yes, Kerry Group have their headquarters in Tralee. They don't have their staff catering operations to Aunascall, their HR dept. in Fenit, their IT staff in Castlegregory, their accountants in Lixnaw, etc. It would be nuts from a business point of view and decentralisation (as proposed) is simply nuts. It will add 100s of millions to the annual costs of running the civil service. Even ignoring all the milage for meetings, how will it be possible, for example, to offer any sort of IT support for an office of 50 civil servants in a village in Mayo? It will require massive duplication for basic support services which will result in huge inefficiencies.

If the government were serious about decentralisation, they would pick ONE location - say Shannon for example - and move the entire civil service there. But this plan isn't about creating regional balance or easing the infrastructure pressures in Dublin. It's a cynical political excercise to help certain TDs retain their seats at massive cost to the public purse.

The idea that technology can overcome all the blindingly obvious flaws with this plan is naive. This stance reminds me of paperless office advocates who stuck to their confident predictions for decades even as all empirical evidence demonstrated trends which completely contradicted their theories. I've used video-conferencing on and off for years and it is actually less productive than telephone conferencing. Despite the wishful thinking of some, this reality is being recognised and video-conferencing is actually used less, in my experience, these days than ten years ago. And telephone conferencing is FAR less productive than sharing an office with the relevant people. Anyone who claims otherwise has little experience of business or commerce.
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Mon May 15, 2006 4:02 pm

Well put Jim I agree that this government has totally ignored the technical support required

Decentralisation protests could spread - Siptu
Monday, 15th May, 2006

Promotional prospects at Enterprise Ireland and the Combat Poverty Agency are being linked to workers' willingness to relocate under the Government's decentralisation plan, Siptu claimed today.

Branch organiser Owen Reidy said he expected the industrial action taking place at Fás over the issue, to spread to other State and related agencies.

Mr Reidy said similar conditions being attached to Fás workers' terms of employment have emerged at Enterprise Ireland and the Combat Poverty Agency.

He said a Freedom of Information (FoI) request has revealed that positions arising from a voluntary early retirement scheme at Enterprise Ireland are contingent on a commitment to relocate to Shannon.

A Department of Finance memo regarding the signing of leases on new two premises for the agency at East Point in Dublin stated the contracts - due to be signed within weeks - must make provision for decentralisation.

Mr Reidy said the agency was seeking early opt-out clauses in the lease in an attempt to "lock staff into decentralising to Shannon". The new premises are intended to consolidate workers currently based at four locations around Dublin.

The Department of Social and Family Affairs is also insisting that future contracts include a clause making relocation to Monaghan a condition of employment, Mr Reidy added.

He said decentralisation "is now in disarray right across the State agency sector". He warned that although the union would continue to use labour relations mechanisms, it would also consider industrial action.

He also rejected criticism of trade unions from the Minister of State at the Department of Finance Tom Parlon, who has responsibility for body co-ordinating decentralisation.

Mr Parlon, who has responsibility for the Office of Public Works (OPW), said rivalries between trade unions over posts promotions are holding up the plans.

Mr Reidy said independent observers were critical of the plan for the same reasons as the unions. "There was no planning, no consultation with the stakeholders, and no foresight. It was a gimmick, a rabbit pulled out of a hat on Budget day.

"Now we [unions] have to deal with it and for whatever reason, the Government don't seem to able to address the problems we've raised," Mr Reidy told .

He suggested the focus should be on civil servants where there is greater interest in decentralisation but insisted the plan was unsuitable for State agencies.

Siptu has organised a protest against decentralisation next week outside the OPW headquarters that is due to be attended by members in semi-State agencies represented by the union.

What exactly is Parlon's point?
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Thu May 25, 2006 6:30 pm

Harney concedes 'issue' with decentralisation

25 May 2006 16:58
The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, has acknowledged that 'there is an issue' in relation to the decentralisation of staff in semi-state organisations such as FÁS and Enterprise Ireland.

Ms Harney said she did not want to interfere in the industrial relations procedure currently underway at FÁS.

However, she has acknowledged that staff in those agencies could not simply transfer to other departments or organisations if they did not want to decentralise.


Earlier, delegates at the IMPACT trade union conference called on the Government to reconsider its current proposal on decentralisation.

A number of speakers criticised the plan to relocate Government departments and state agencies out of Dublin, describing it as ill-conceived, unfair to workers, and damaging to the delivery of services to the public.

A number of motions were passed urging IMPACT's executive to seek full redress for all members, disadvantaged as a result of their wish to remain in their current locations.

Delegates also instructed their negotiators to negotiate the removal from the decentralisation process of public bodies, State agencies and other organisations where the majority of staff are opposed to decentralisation.

The trade union, which has spearheaded opposition to the Government's public service re-location plans, represents professional and technical public servants, the majority of whom have refused to leave Dublin.

IMPACT representatives are due to meet the Minister of State, Tom Parlon, next Tuesday to discuss the plans.

Meanwhile the Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern, has said he does not agree with SIPTU President Jack O'Connor that decentralisation is now a central issue that could derail the current partnership pay talks.

Speaking at a conference on the modernising and management of public services, he said that if there is any pressure associated with decentralisation, it is to relocate the over 10,000 public servants who want to move as soon as possible.

Looks like the end
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby KerryBog2 » Thu May 25, 2006 7:40 pm

Thomond Park wrote:Looks like the end

"This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Thu May 25, 2006 8:46 pm

Can I take that to mean that neither the middle nor the end will manifest themselves?
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby KerryBog2 » Fri May 26, 2006 11:56 am

Thomond Park wrote:Can I take that to mean that neither the middle nor the end will manifest themselves?

Exactly. An Irish solution to an Irish problem. Bumble along, blathering "Shur it will be allright, it will come right. That's fine, grand, loike"

No thought was put into decentralisation. Some gombeen politico heard about private sector outsourcing, thought it was "a good thing" and decided to do the same with the civil service.

Ireland's real issue with the civil service is economy of scale, not location. Ireland has the same population as the greater Birmingham area but, to keep abreast of what is happening in Bruxelles, it must try to maintain a civil service capable of doing so. I believe in decentralisation, but it should be done properly as part of an overall plan, with appropriate controls and benchmarks. Start by tackling the health boards, have one board for the country, cut out the dead wood, job duplication, etc. and put the money saved into the key area - healthcare - not spending on administration. Then implement a phased (say 10years) programme to move "back-office" functions in the various Departments and create an "International Dept" that would handle EU matters for all departments. But will the mandarins give up that power, travel and their business class flights to Bruxelles? ..............
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Fri May 26, 2006 12:16 pm

There is as you say far too much duplication of administration in this country and moving entire bodies to remote locations will only intensify such duplication as clientist TDs complain that their constituents in Donegal now have to travel to Cahersiveen for a particular service.

I agree that a certain number of support functions should be decentralised over time and that the locations chosen must reflect the structure in the NSS which is linked [url=http://]here

PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby DGF » Mon May 29, 2006 12:54 pm

I saw Minister Dermot Ahern interviewed on 'The Political Show' over the weekend. Asked about whether the decentralisation plan complemented the National Spatial Strategy he said that he thought it fitted in perfectly because it was all about 'spreading development as widely as possible around the state'.

And there was me thinking spacial strategy was about avoiding that entirely and concentrating development in a few key areas to provide a counterweight to the development of Dublin...

Ah well, now that the probation officers aren't going to Navan and FAS looks like turning down Birr, the number of locations may be about to decline somewhat from the original 53 that were proposed.
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Fri Jun 23, 2006 4:30 pm

From the property section of today's Indo............

"Decentralisation has affect on house prices:

HOUSE prices have risen by 15% in the last 12 months in four key towns which are due to benefit from decentralisation within the next 18 months. The strongest demand has been for four and five bedroom homes in these areas.

According to a survey by Real Estate Alliance, these increases are due to the direct impact of decentralisation. The key towns affected include Carrick-on-Shannon, Mullingar, Athlone and Carlow.

Harry Sothern of Sothern Real Estate Alliance reports that a four bedroom house in Carlow, which sold for €260,000 in 2004, has risen by 23% to €320,000 at present. Over the same period a three bedroom semi has risen 18% to around €228,000.

In Athlone a three bedroom end of terrace house has risen by 21% in the last three years to €219,000. Local agent Healy Hynes of Hynes Real Estate Alliance says that most of this increase came in the last 12 months. He also points out that in the last two years, prices for four bedroom semis in Athlone rose 19.1% to €249,000.

Real Estate Alliance Chairman, Eddie Barrett says that the 1,500 new jobs being created in Carrick-on-Shannon is also increasing demand for new property in the region. He also called for a review of planning restrictions to ensure more rural sites became available for those civil servants who are moving to rural areas as a result of decentralisation.

It would appear that de centralisation is failing to provide 'cheap housing' for those being decentralised and that much of the money will end up in the hands of the site farming community in places that were not designated in the National Spatial strategy.

For anyone in any doubt the above comments from Mr Barrett make it very clear that no matter how little regulation is in force the IRDA type mindset will only be happy with a total free for all
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Thu Jun 29, 2006 7:58 pm

Costs review means civil service exodus plan `is now doomed'
Irish Daily Mail
Thu, 29 Jun 2006, Ronald Quinlan
PLANS to continue moving 10,000 civil servants out of Dublin are on hold - amid increasing indications the entire scheme is close to collapse.

The original plan was to move 10,300 civil servants out of the capital to locations around the country by 2007. But now the buying of sites for the Government departments due to decentralise has been suspended while senior officials look again at the costs.

This effective freezing of the acquisition process - until the review of the programme by the Department of Finance is complete - has thrown the entire decentralisation programme into chaos.

Sources said last night that any department that has not already acquired a new site will have to wait while the `financial fallout' of the scheme is assessed by officials.

The latest development comes just six weeks after Taoiseach Bertie Ahern admitted in an interview that the original plan had been too ambitious.

Mr Ahern said it was more likely the plan would not be completed until 2012.

But the decentralisation scheme took a further knock less than two weeks later when it emerged the Taoiseach had decided to rethink plans to relocate 2,300 workers employed by State agencies.

The original decentralisation plan, announced by former finance minister Charlie McCreevy, proposed moving the civil servants from Dublin to 53 locations around Ireland.

Since its inauspicious start, the initiative has failed to take off - with civil servants based in the capital showing worryingly low levels of interest towards the programme.

For example, it emerged earlier this year that just five of the 100 people working for the Valuation Office and nine of the Heath and Safety Authority's staff of 110 want to leave Dublin.

Adding to the Government's woes has been the dispropor- tionate number of low-ranking civil servants willing to move in comparison to senior officials.

And the latest revelation will place additional pressure on the Government as the prospect of next year's general election looms larger on the political horizon.

Among the locations where properties have been identified for the scheme but not yet purchased or leased are: Carrickmacross; Clifden; Edenderry; Enniscorthy; Kilrush (lease); Loughrea; Mullingar; New Ross; Waterford; Wexford; Youghal; Claremorris; Drogheda; Limerick (lease), and Listowel (lease). These properties cannot now be purchased or leased for use by a Government department until the cost review has been completed. according to well placed sources at the Department of Finance.

And in a further twist to the saga, an official statement posted on the Government's decentralisation website indicates no Dublin properties have been freed up by the anticipated exodus of civil servants. The statement reads: `Since it is too early in the process for any significant relocation of staff from Dublin, there has been no property disposed of in Dublin to date as a direct consequence of decentralisation'.

In a further note, the website states: `Ultimately, this will involve the disposal of surplus space. `However, no firm decisions have been taken at this stage as to which particular office buildings will be disposed of post decentralisation'.

To think a sensible plan could have decentralised 5,000 jobs by now to places people actually wanted to go as well as where offices were actually already in the pipeline such as Limerick Cork or Galway
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Wed Sep 08, 2010 7:37 am

Deranged 'Big D' vision cost us dear

The Department of the Environment's new headquarters in Wexford, completed last June, cost €12 million, was another "design-and-build" contract for fully-fitted offices Department of Social Protection offices, Sligo, cost of €8.95 million. Photographs: Andy Mason The Office of Public Works headquarters in Trim was the most expensive project in the current programme, at €21.6 million.
Photograph: Gareth ByrneThe Office of Public Works headquarters in Trim was the most expensive project in the current programme, at €21.6 million.
Photograph: Gareth ByrneThe full price of ‘decentralisation’ has yet to be determined but the public interest in having an efficient administration is the real loser, writes FRANK McDONALD , Environment Editor

SIX YEARS ago, just after the Government’s “decentralisation” programme was announced, Tom Parlon – then minister of state at the Office of Public Works (OPW) – spoke at the unveiling of plans for an elegant 32-storey residential tower near Heuston Station and claimed that its quality would be reflected in new buildings throughout the State.

The tower, designed by Paul Keogh Architects, was never built. And despite the Government’s commitment in its 2002 policy on architecture that quality would be one of the key criteria for publicly-funded construction projects, most of the new “decentralised” offices are rather humdrum buildings – certainly not architecture with a capital A.

For Angela Rolfe, assistant principal architect at the OPW, the benchmark was the State’s first purpose-built departmental headquarters – the old department of industry and commerce in Kildare Street. Needing little alteration since it was built in 1939, it has stood the test of time primarily because of the high quality of materials and generosity of space.

But Rolfe could only deal with what was put before her and try to ensure that the standards set by the OPW for sustainability and accessibility were met by design teams, often acting for private sector developers. “We got some quite awful things. But those who put their minds to it and showed joined-up thinking tended to produce better buildings.”

Some were procured using traditional direct contracts, others were “design-and-build” packages giving developers the whip-hand, and still more formed parts of a “PPP bundle” – a batch of public-private partnerships, much favoured by the Department of Finance because of their value in taking capital projects off the Government’s balance sheet.

But PPPs can go horribly wrong too, especially if they’re in bundles. That’s what happened with plans to provide “decentralised” offices for the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Innovation in Carlow, the Department of Education and Science in Mullingar and the Department of Agriculture in Portlaoise – the latter two envisaged as headquarters.

They were all to be procured in a “PPP bundle” in partnership with Pierse Contracting, backed by Australian bankers Macquarie – until the financial package fell apart. Now, with only the Portlaoise project approved to proceed and the other two “subject to review”, lawyers are arguing whether the State is entitled to go ahead with Agriculture alone.

The net point is “whether we have rights to use the scheme as designed , or we don’t”, one OPW source said. Planning permission has already been granted for a large building to accommodate 595 staff, of whom 317 have already moved to Portlaoise and are working in three office blocks costing €530,640 in rent annually.

If the legal problem can’t be sorted out satisfactorily, the OPW would have to commission a new design and go back through the planning process. And when the vast Agriculture House in Kildare Street is eventually evacuated as planned, the prospects of getting a good price for it are not good, given the overhang of vacant office space in Dublin.

Other projects were more straightforward. In Athlone, for example, the OPW didn’t even have to buy a site for new Department of Education offices to accommodate 88 staff, because there was enough room for an extension to a building occupied by the same department. It cost €8.7 million, plus paying for a new roundabout to cater for the extra traffic.

THE SAME APPROACH was taken in Sligo, where new “decentralised” offices for 88 staff from the Department of Social Protection were the first to be built under the latest programme – for €8.95 million – on a site owned by the State. Furbo, west of Galway, also involved an extension of existing offices to house 13 civil servants. That cost €2 million.

The OPW’s own headquarters in Trim was the most expensive project in the current programme, at €21.6 million. Next in line was the Department of Defence headquarters in Newbridge, which cost €16.9 million, followed by the Irish Prison Service headquarters in Longford (€13 million) and offices for the Department of Agriculture in Clonakilty (€12.9 million).

The Department of the Environment’s new headquarters in Wexford, completed last June, cost €12 million, was another “design-and-build” contract for fully-fitted offices, with Scott Tallon Walker as architects. But main contractor Pierse had problems, sub-contractors walked off the site and the building was finished rather less well than the OPW had hoped.

Accommodating the embryonic Property Registration Authority in purpose-built offices in Roscommon cost nearly €9 million, though only 77 of an expected 230 staff have moved there, while €5.3 million was spent building a new office block in Buncrana, on the Inishowen peninsula, to house 102 staff from a section of the Department of Social Protection.

The long-term costs in maintaining so many buildings scattered around the country haven’t yet been calculated and were not taken into account at the time. This happened despite a history of problems with earlier “yellow-pack” buildings, procured using the design-and-build method; one block in Roscommon, for example, was said to be riddled with defects.

“All the Department of Finance care about is the capital cost. They’re not even asking questions about how much it costs to run these buildings,” one source said. And given the difficulties in getting developers to build a new office block as it was designed, right down to furniture layouts, this blind spot on maintenance is a store of future problems yet to unfold.

Indeed, most of the new buildings have yet to be formally handed over to the OPW. “We don’t have proper files, either because the electrical sub-contractor hasn’t been paid by the main contractor, so he hasn’t handed over certs and warranties, or the architect has gone away.” As a result, “final retentions” haven’t been paid on many of the new buildings.

Even the OPW’s insistence on such “sustainability features” as solar panels, wood pellet boilers, greywater recycling, integrated lighting and building management systems to regulate energy use could end up being problematic, because there are no maintenance staff on site, and few anyway with the expertise to deal with these new-fangled devices.

“No one thought about what would happen to the buildings afterwards. I mean, what happens on nice sunny day when all the windows start opening? Would you have someone fiddling with knobs in the plant room?” one architect asked. At the State’s new office block in Longford, staff interfered with automated windows that help to ventilate the building.

HAVING DEPARTMENTAL AND State agency offices all over the place incurs other costs, notably in mileage expenses for travelling long distances. On March 9th last, Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) paid out €2,443 in expenses to attendees travelling to meetings at its new offices in Clonakilty from Dún Laoghaire, Kilmore Quay, Dingle, Carna, Creggan and Greencastle.

After a business development meeting in Clonakilty on February 4th last, BIM paid out €2,151 in travel and subsistence expenses to eight staff from its headquarters in Dún Laoghaire, where they are still located and 75 of BIM’s 95 staff are based. The original plan was to relocate them all in Clonakilty, but resistance from senior staff has stalled this move.

There were only three volunteers from BIM staff in Dún Laoghaire to relocate in Clonakilty and, as in many other cases, they had to be augmented by staff transferring from other agencies as part of the “decentralisation” process through the central applications facility. In addition, a number of BIM’s regional staff are now based there.

The new office block in Clonakilty is shared by BIM’s seafood development centre with the Department of Agriculture’s fisheries division and the Sea Fisheries Protection Authority.

“The full implementation of decentralisation of BIM to the new centre will be carried out on a phased basis,” a spokeswoman said, in response to queries from The Irish Times.

In the case of the OPW itself, a bus leaves Dublin Castle every weekday morning to bring staff who don’t have cars to work at its new headquarters in Trim – an hour-long journey that’s repeated at 5pm, when they’re dropped back to Dublin. There’s also a mid-morning run taking car-less staff to Dublin for meetings. The bus costs €2,300 per week.

So what was it all about? “The original plan was to weaken the Civil Service so politicians could interfere more – that was its real purpose,” one seasoned observer said.

Certainly, it put money in the pockets of builders, developers, landowners, architects, estate agents, publicans and shopkeepers in all of the towns where State offices have been built.

The public interest in having an efficient administration is the real loser. Presumably, this will be taken into account in the review now under way and most of the projects marked as “deferred” pending its outcome will end up being cancelled by the Government – if only to stem the colossal waste of public funds on Charlie McCreevy’s deranged vision of the “Big D”.


Series concluded

The decentralisation table in yesterday’s edition incorrectly identified the Department of Enterprise as occupants of a new building in Wexford. It was built for the Department of the Environment

Where does one start; if you look at the opinions in this thread from 2003 when this was first mooted it was obvious that the entire built environment profession was opposed to this policy and articulated same clearly. Yet here we are 7 years later with an article that is depressing in its ability to list a string of errors that are by any stretch of the imagination breathtaking.

Sadly those that made the decisions retain power or lucrative follow on roles from their period of collosal governmental ineptitude.
PVC King

Re: De-Centralisation

Postby KerryBog2 » Fri Sep 10, 2010 10:43 pm

PVC King wrote:Where does one start; ................

Sadly those that made the decisions retain power or lucrative follow on roles from their period of collosal governmental ineptitude.

And where does Mr. Parlon work now?
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Re: De-Centralisation

Postby PVC King » Sat Sep 11, 2010 8:51 am

lets look at his career

Sector 1 Agriculture
Sector 2 Decentralisation/frittering away taxpayers cash
Sector 3 Construction

Amazing Wiki doesn't cover his IFA days but a generous soul nonetheless

You would not follow the sectors he has chosen for career at various times
PVC King


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