Header Item Written Answers Nos. 260-272
 Header Item Garda Operations
 Header Item Ministerial Communications
 Header Item Independent Review Mechanism
 Header Item Departmental Reform
 Header Item Departmental Reform
 Header Item Prisoner Health
 Header Item Inspector of Prisons Reports
 Header Item Protected Disclosures
 Header Item Garda Strength
 Header Item Garda Deployment
 Header Item Garda Training

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Dáil Éireann Debate
Unrevised

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Written Answers Nos. 260-272

Garda Operations

 260. Deputy Billy Kelleher Information on Billy Kelleher Zoom on Billy Kelleher asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if there has been an assessment or audit of the costs that the almost 2 million false breath tests have had on the Garda budget; if overtime payments were made to members of An Garda Síochána while carrying out the fake breath tests; if there was a reduction in policing services to the public due to the fake breath test scandal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51919/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I have requested a Garda report in relation to the specific queries raised by the Deputy and I will be in contact with the Deputy directly immediately on receipt of a response from An Garda Síochána. 

As the Deputy will be aware, I have previously put on record my deep concern at the serious failures of the Garda organisation in relation to mandatory alcohol testing checkpoints.

During his public meeting with the Policing Authority on 23 November, the Commissioner apologised for the significant organisational failure and acknowledged the resulting public disquiet. The Commissioner informed the Authority that the decision to take a future-focused, restorative approach allowed An Garda Síochána to focus on strategic reforms, changes to culture and embedding the Code of Ethics and performance management system, along with improving data quality. 

The Government established the Policing Authority to ensure oversight of policing practices, shed light on problems and identify solutions through its structured engagement with An Garda Síochána. I fully expect the Commissioner to urgently address the issues highlighted by myself and the Policing Authority in relation to the breath test data discrepancies, and I welcome the continuing  oversight of the Policing Authority in this respect. This Government has put in place significant Garda resources, both human and financial, but, as the Policing Authority has emphasised, cultural change within An Garda Síochána is of critical importance.  

This is why one of the Policing Authority’s first acts was to introduce a Garda Code of Ethics. Adherence to that code must become a fundamental part of our policing. I previously made clear to Commissioner Ó Cualáin that Garda management must ensure that all members are committed to the values the Code sets out. I am confident that he and his colleagues understand the importance of ensuring that cultural change goes hand in hand with systemic improvements. The Policing Authority has a critical role to play in supporting and overseeing this process.

Moreover, it is important to remember that the expert Commission on the Future of Policing is undertaking a significant root and branch analysis of policing in Ireland. I have no doubt that this report will inform the Commission's work to bring about the transformation of policing in this country. However, I fully acknowledge the vital work undertaken everyday by the women and men of An Garda Síochána to ensure the safety and security of the people of Ireland.

I remain dedicated to doing everything in my power as Minister, in conjunction with the Policing Authority, to ensure ethical and excellent policing, robust oversight and the modernisation of An Garda Síochána to ensure it can operate effectively and professionally in the public interest.

Ministerial Communications

 261. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if the email accounts of his predecessor and her special advisers were examined as part of the trawl for documents relevant to the Charleton Tribunal; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51925/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan While the email accounts of the then Tánaiste and Minister for Justice and Equality and her advisors were not specifically examined as part of the recent trawl for documents, I can confirm that the email accounts of officials working in relevant areas of the Department were searched and that this exercise would of course encompass emails sent from or to the then Minister and her advisors on any such matters.

I would point out that all discovery orders issued by the Tribunal were complied with fully. The Department has also made extensive voluntary disclosure of other matters including three protected disclosures, reports from the Garda Commissioner under section 41 of the Garda Síochána Act and, most recently, the two email threads that were uncovered following a trawl of documents in the Department. In acknowledging receipt of the emails, the Tribunal made reference to my Department's already extensive discovery which has allowed the Tribunal to place the current documents in context.

I am assured that in the event of further documents being located that may be of relevance to the Tribunal's work that these will of course be furnished to the Tribunal and I would point out that, the Deputy will be aware, the Taoiseach has announced that there will be an external examination of the way in which my Department fulfilled its obligations in relation to discovering documents to the Tribunal, to conclude before Christmas. That is a step I welcome."

I can assure the Deputy that any further Discovery Orders to be made by the Tribunal will also be complied with in full and the Tribunal has been assured of my full and ongoing support in that regard.

Independent Review Mechanism

 262. Deputy Róisín Shortall Information on Róisín Shortall Zoom on Róisín Shortall asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the reason the opinion from counsel on findings of the 320 cases that precipitated establishment of the independent review mechanism has not been provided to complainants; if these opinions will be made available to complainants in the interest of transparency; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51926/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Deputy is referring to the 320 cases which were considered by the Independent Review Mechanism (IRM).

The reports provided by counsel and containing their recommendations to the Minister in each case constitute legal advice and they are, accordingly, subject to legal professional privilege. Issues of public policy arise here and I do not believe that it would be appropriate that I should waive that privilege in this instance. I can say, however, that in compliance with a discovery order made by the Disclosures Tribunal, my Department did provide the full reports in relation to those cases covered by the order.

As the Deputy will be aware, the IRM is the process which was set up by the Government in May 2014 to consider allegations of Garda misconduct or deficiencies in the way that Gardaí had carried out investigations. 

A panel consisting of 2 Senior Counsel and 5 Junior Counsel was established for the purpose. All were selected on the basis of their knowledge of the criminal justice system. Recommendations were received in all 320 complaints referred to the panel and my predecessor accepted all of the recommendations. The process of issuing decision letters to the complainants largely concluded in February 2016.

While the report and recommendations from counsel were not provided to complainants, my predecessor sought to ensure that the letters which issued to complainants informing them of the outcome of the review of their particular complaints should not only set out the recommendation of counsel but also outline, in so far as possible, the reasons for that recommendation, subject to any legal constraints there may be. To that end she appointed a retired judge, Mr Justice Roderick Murphy, to advise on the preparation of the letters which issued and independently vouch for the fact that the summaries of counsel’s conclusions and the reasoning behind them, as was outlined in the letters, were a fair reflection of counsel's advice.

Departmental Reform

 263. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if he or a previous Minster for Justice and Equality required the review group of the Toland report to assume this monitoring role in view of the fact that the review group was prepared to meet twice yearly over the ensuing two years to review progress in the implementation of the 18 recommendations therein; if so, the number of times the review group met; the outcome of the meetings including written reports; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51927/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan In the weeks following the Toland Review in 2014, the Department of Justice and Equality began a process of consultation and engagement to develop a Programme for Change and a delivery plan to implement the recommendations following that review.  

Since 2014, considerable progress has been achieved on the delivery of that Programme, including but not limited to, reforming the organisational culture, leadership and management of the Department. 

As part of the engagement process with key stakeholders following the Toland Report, then Minister Frances Fitzgerald hosted a round table meeting with all of the Justice and Equality organisations in November 2014 at which Kevin Toland and a number of other members of the Toland group attended.

Over the past three years progress on implementation has been monitored and reviewed regularly by my Department's Management Board and by its independent Audit Committee. The Department’s website has been regularly updated on the progress in implementation and the comprehensive report prepared for An Taoiseach has also been published on the website. Following a request a progress report was sent to the Justice Committee in December 2015 with the Committee acknowledging the “significant progress” which had been made to that point in implementing the report. Updates on progress have also been provided to this House through parliamentary questions, most recently in July of this year.

Change is a continuous process and in keeping with best international practice, earlier this year my Department contracted management consultants to do a stocktake of progress on implementation to date and assist the Department’s Management Board in prioritising further reform measures for the next three years. I envisage that this process, in which both my predecessor and I participated, will be helpful to the Change Implementation Group which will assess progress in implementing the recommendations of the Toland Report and ensure the acceleration of the outstanding issues, such as structure, effective communications and the relationship with An Garda Síochána.

Departmental Reform

 264. Deputy Catherine Connolly Information on Catherine Connolly Zoom on Catherine Connolly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the extent to which each recommendation of the Toland report has been implemented; those that have been completed; and those not yet begun, in tabular form; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51928/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan Report of the Independent Review Group (Toland Report) 2014

  Status of Recommendations

RecommendationCulture:Status
1A “Programme for Change” should be supported and facilitated by management resources from other parts of the Civil Service or from outside to assist the Department to migrate to a new culture, leadership, management and operating model which delivers a high performance organisation and one which provides strategic oversight and added value to its agencies. These resources should be appointed on a temporary or time bound basis, to provide both management and change management skills. The Department will require approximately 4 - 6 management resources from other parts of the Civil Service or from outside to lead the cultural and structural changes required to transform the Department. There should be a specific programme for change with specific timelines, accountability and the following terms of reference:Programme for Change introduced.
1aSenior team start with acknowledgement of negative aspects of the present culture and come up with a straw man definition of future culture needed. Culture and Values charter developed with implementation team led by the Secretary General
1bEngage with broader organisation and key external stakeholders to get their input on future culture and the key changes and actions to make it a reality.Completed
1cStart by focusing on changing closed and secretive cultural model to being as open and inclusive as possible considering appropriate confidentiality, and define clear specific behaviours and actions that will be underpinned by new model. Culture and Values charter developed. A Change Team led by the Secretary General is supporting the embedding of the values across the Department.
1dChange insular and defensive to engaging and learning. Remove silos through the leadership model, MAC and better inclusion of agencies. A number of initiatives have been put in place to support and underpin cultural change. As identified in research, changing culture is a long term process.
1eEstablish more structured / formal engagement with agencies.Governance Frameworks / Agreements implemented and schedule of formal meetings in place
1fClarify and implement performance management.Performance agreements and Governance Frameworks / Agreements put in place with Agencies. Enhanced oversight of performance in implementing Strategic Programmes.
1gSet and share key performance objectives for the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretaries and key Agencies. Key Performance Objectives set for Agencies through Performance Agreements. Key performance objectives set for the Secretary General and Assistant Secretaries through CSMB and PMDS respectively.
1hEnsure the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretaries are all included in performance management.SG performance management implemented under the CSMB workplan. PMDS for Assistant Secretaries in place since 2015 and subject to interim and annual reviews in line with other grades.
1iRun annual staff surveys and 360 assessment surveys for the Secretary General and the Assistant Secretaries. Completed - Departmental survey held in early 2015 in line with recommendation. Subsequently aligned with Civil Service Employee Engagement Surveys introduced in 2015 and held in 2015 and 2017. 360 assessments for Secretary General and Assistant Secretaries.
2Internal event, opened by Minister and chaired by the Secretary General, to share the changes with the Assistant Secretaries, Principal Officers and Assistant Principals, Chairs and CEOS of Agencies and then cascaded face to face throughout the Department so that everyone in the Department hears the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ directly.Completed
 Leadership and Structure: 
3Fundamental organisational review and redesign:

The Department’s wide remit should be supported by strengthened leadership and more effective management:
Completed bar restructuring of Department
3aStart with clear definition of remit and purpose of the Department and each agency. Completed
3bRestructure the Department into clear Justice and Home Affairs portfolios and assign the redefined Divisions to align with the new structure. While a definitive division into two portfolios would require further detailed analysis, it is recommended that Justice should include civil and criminal law reform, crime and security, and international policy; Home Affairs should include policing, prisons, courts, equality and integration.Detailed analysis completed by external consultants (2017). This recommends that the Department be divided into Home Affairs and Justice and Equality portfolios, but with different constituent parts to those recommended in the Toland Report.
3cArrange for the appointment of a Deputy Secretary General to lead and take responsibility for the Home Affairs portfolio. Deputy Secretary General appointed by open competition (2016)
3dValidate strategy and resources required to implement objectives.Progress on implementation of strategy objectives monitored through the Department's Strategic Implementation Plan (2015) - "One Plan" (from 2016). Formal review monthly by the Management Board and half year progress reports published (2015).

HR Strategy and Workforce Plan developed (2017)
3eReview Workforce Plan to determine extent to which revised structure can create efficiencies, and carry out an associated skills gap analysis. The Department has developed a Workforce Plan in respect of the existing structure in accordance with DPER guidelines, following engagement with Divisions, A/Secs and Management Board (2017). Will be reviewed in the context of new Departmental structure.
3f Carry out a systems review to support new organisational model, covering in particular data management and sharing, document and correspondence tracking, file management and IT renewal. Programme of work in regard to Data and Information taken forward in conjunction with the OGCIO; Justice Hub development, eSubmissions, JARC, IT refresh, records management policy developed, correspondence tracking system implemented; new eDocs system in pipeline.
3g Secretary General to lead a change and renewal programme based on this report, public service reform across the justice sector, and the Justice portfolio, and to be the Accounting Officer for the full Department.Secretary General has led the Programme for Change. Secretary General is the Accounting Officer for the Department. A Change Team, led by the Secretary General, is working to embed the values set out in the Culture Charter across the organisation.
3hBenchmark, where possible, against best practice Departments within Ireland in regard, inter alia, to IT support systems, document management, managing agencies, etc. Department partnering with OGCIO in relation to support systems and document management. Benchmarking has not yet been progressed.
4Prepare a new management model (Minister to the Secretary General / Department to Agencies / Department): New Management Model implemented
4aThe Secretary General defines and owns a management operating protocol and routines for the Minister and the Department: 
4a(i)Clarity on purpose.Yes. Defined in the Corporate Governance Framework.
4a(ii) Clarity on respective roles / decision rights / delegated authorities.Yes. Defined in the Corporate Governance Framework.
4a(iii)Clarity on priorities.Yes. Defined in the Corporate Governance Framework.
4bAgreed performance measures . One Plan plus Corporate Governance Framework. Framework of assignments under PSMB. Preliminary dashboard under development as part of Hub project.
4cClear routines and processes for monitoring, reporting, intervening, reviewing and approving.Weekly MB meetings; monthly MinMB meetings; eSubmissions system implemented; Strategic programme management reporting system in place.
4dAgreement by Minister / Secretary General / Heads of Agencies. Yes
4ePlan to ensure continuity during leadership changes.The Department has a Workforce Plan and is working with DPER and PAS in relation to a more structured approach to leadership continuity.
4fMinister sets out the programme and goals to be implemented by the Department. Minister and Secretary General to establish formal process for agreed prioritisation and shared political / management oversight of progress, performance and problems through regular Min MAC or other similar format including agreeing purpose, agenda, frequency and attendees on their appointment.

4f(i) Agenda: 1. Government priorities. 2. Strategy. 3 Key issues. 4 Department / agency performance
Agreement with Minister on PfG and other priorities. Monitored through the OnePlan. Progress reports provided for MinMB meetings. Corporate Governance Framework for the Department developed and published.
5Agencies role and relationship management: Defined through Governance Frameworks / Agreements
5aEnsure clear definition around the role of the Department and role of agencies to ensure the Department and agencies are very clear on who is responsible for what and to ensure all grey areas are clarified.Governance Frameworks / Agreements
5bDevelop criteria for what should be or should not be within the Department and its Agencies’ remit. Assess agencies against those criteria. Decide how to deal with agencies that fall outside of those criteria. The Department is not empowered to "decide how to deal with agencies that fall outside those criteria". Department continues to have agencies that are not aligned to its remit, although a number of agencies have or are in the process of being transferred to more appropriate Departments. (Charities Regulatory Authority transferred in July 2017; Taillte bodies due to transfer in January 2018)

Guidance/training for staff dealing with agencies has been developed under the Governance Framework.
5cDefined roles, relationship, key objectives and performance measurements with top 5 agencies immediately (within 6 weeks) and then with all agencies over the next 6 months. Defined through Governance Frameworks/Agreements in place with agencies.
5dProvide internal staff guidance to support consistent implementation of the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. Governance Framework; staff participated in Governance professional certificate and other courses
5eAccelerate mergers, where appropriate, and shared administrative services for agencies / groups of agencies. Equality Authority merged with the Human Rights Commission in November 2014. Merger of Taillte bodies progressing; Enhanced provision of ICT Shared Services and extension of Financial Shared Services for agencies
6External support from within the overall governance of the civil service system and the Senior Public Service, to ensure that the Secretary General leadership pool is developed, skill and performance reviewed and managed in both preparation for role, as well as independent review of both overall Department performance and personal performance through a robust performance management system. Civil Service Management Board; Secretary General performance review through CSMB
7Define new role / fit for purpose MAC including, at appropriate intervals, key agencies: Management Board with extended membership established in 2015
7aStrategic. MB meetings specifically on strategy. Criminal Justice Strategic Committee. Horizon Groups.
7bLine of sight on major live issues and review of early warning on emerging issues. Early warning system in place
7cFact driven. Yes
7dCore monthly meeting focused on strategy / performance / key issues / cross department and agency priorities to include Secretary General, MAC and special advisors. In addition:Minister/MB monthly meetings; weekly MB meetings.
7d(i)Deep dive into c. 3 divisions / agencies per month so that each is subject to annual review. Periodic deep dives undertaken by MB
7eWeekly issues meeting (of shorter duration) of core MAC members to:Yes. This is a standing agenda item for MB and Minister/MB meetings
7e(i)Discuss and update on current and emerging issues. Standing agenda item
8An Garda Síochána relationship management: 
8aAgree the following areas for significant improvements regarding relationship with An Garda Síochána and take action to address them:The independent Policing Authority has been established to oversee AGS performance; Department and Policing Authority agreements; Governance agreement supported by formal meetings at various levels; Communications Protocol governing communications between the Department and An Garda Síochána close to finalisation; Department's Culture and Values Charter; Garda reform programmes including significant cultural reform; Garda Culture audit.
8a(i)Ineffective Departmental oversight of, and confused, passive and disaggregated Departmental relationships with, An Garda Síochána.See above
8a(ii)Maintenance of formal and informal relationships.See above
8a(iii)Shared culture of secrecy.Culture and Values Charter; Garda reform programmes
8bDefine as a Department and then with An Garda Síochána how to resolve those issues.The independent Policing Authority has been established to oversee AGS performance; Department and Policing Authority agreements; Governance agreement supported by formal meetings at various levels; Communications Protocol governing communications between the Department and An Garda Síochána close to finalisation; Department's Culture and Values Charter; Garda reform programmes including significant cultural reform; Garda Culture audit.
8cThe Minister, through the Department, needs to hold An Garda Síochána accountable as a critical and resource intensive public service, while respecting their operational independence, by a combination of dealing with the relationship issues, establishing and managing key priorities and ensuring they are delivered on. Establishment of Policing Authority. Strengthening of GSOC and Garda Inspectorate powers.Policing Authority established. Powers of GSOC and Garda Inspectorate strengthened.
8dThe Garda Inspectorate is a tool for the Minister and the Department, which should be used better and more extensively, and the Garda Inspectorate should be valued by An Garda Síochána management. The reporting relationship with the Garda Inspectorate should be separated from the Garda Division to underpin its independence. The Commission on the Future of Policing is looking at the totality of oversight arrangements in policing. The Department considers that policy issues arising from or in respect of the Garda Inspectorate and GSOC could report to the Policing Authority. However the Policing Authority does not deal with complaints against individual members.
8eIn acknowledging its role in the interest of the public good, the reporting relationship with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission, as a minimum, should also be separated from the Garda Division to underpin its independence. The Review Group suggests that the proposed Garda Authority could fulfil that function. See above
8fThe Review Group recommends that in future the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission could benefit by having available in its leadership, a lawyer or Judge with prosecutorial experience.A High Court Judge was appointed Chairperson of GSOC
8gThe Secretary General should take a leadership role in defining how issues should be dealt with by the new Garda Authority, to ensure that this leads to better and not worse clarity and accountability.Policing Authority providing public oversight of policing services in Ireland; Tripartite governance meeting chaired by the Secretary General (Department, Policing Authority and An Garda Síochána).
8hRecognising that some legislative amendments are in preparation, conduct a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of 2005 Garda Síochána Act to determine if legislation is required to strengthen oversight bodies and ensure their independence. Policing Authority established and powers of GSOC and the Garda Inspectorate enhanced.

Government decision in 2017 to further increase powers.

A paper reviewing how the principles of police oversight have been implemented in the Garda Síochána Act 2005 and the Garda Síochána (Policing and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 2015 is being considered.
9Establish a corporate secretariat office, resourced with strategy and planning expertise that reports directly to the Secretary General and deals with:Corporate Secretariat office established in 2014
9aInterfacing with the Minister.The Corporate Secretariat provides service to and works closely with the Minister, the Secretary General and the MB. It coordinates provision of documentation including briefs, reports and submissions.
9bCoordinating briefs and drafting speeches for the Minister.See above
9cEnsuring all relevant documentation is given to the Minister in a timely manner. See above
9c(i)Providing support to the MAC in terms of strategy and planning: Assisting the MAC, in ensuring the Department Strategy is developed and implemented.Support is being provided by the Reform and Development Unit; the establishment of a dedicated strategy unit is also recommended.
9c(ii)Appropriate priorities, resource plans and implementation milestones in place both with agencies, within the Department and at overall Department level:Yes – Performance Agreements in place.
9c(ii)(1)Ensure review mechanisms are functioning - Oversee the implementation of a strategy performance management plan which should assign accountability for initiatives and develop milestones and metrics which make tracking their progress more transparent (half-yearly reviews chaired by the Secretary General and attended by MAC).OnePlan Strategic programme management and reporting system developed and implemented
9c(ii)(2)Enable the Secretary General to make sure the strategic agenda is properly defined and managed within the Department and with agencies. Yes
9c(iii)Assisting the Secretary General / MAC in taking lead on identifying, resourcing and managing key strategic issues to make sure the external, long term view is developed and used. Yes. Horizon Groups established to take a longer term view
9c(iv)Supporting the MAC capacity to scan both the internal and external landscape, and key and emerging issues, to make sure broader consequences and bigger picture factors are fully taken into consideration:Standing agenda item at weekly meetings
9c(iv)(1)For example Planning / Strategy unit would assist the MAC to make sure the Department is adaptable and flexible in its structures, operations and approach, and assist MAC in ensuring that the Department is managing and adding the maximum value to any agencies within it.Ongoing process with further steps required as part of process of restructuring
10Develop a HR function with the appropriate HR functional skills, that is capable of providing both thought leadership and support to enable the Department transformation:Yes. Head of Strategic HR appointed. Strategic Business Partner model implemented.
10a This will involve the development of a new Human Resource Action Plan.Completed - HR Strategy and Workforce plan.
10bThis plan should detail how the Department in its recruitment, training, retention and succession planning will ensure that its staff have the ability and capacity to deal with the new leadership, management and oversight challenges in the transformed Department. Yes
10cSenior staff being appointed to any additional agencies being established by the Department should be recruited by open competition by the Public Appointments Service. Yes
10dAn impact analysis should be completed on the effect that a new agency will have on the existing role and staffing of the function within the Department. This should be part of the Business Case for any resource implications of a new agency.Impact analysis is built into all proposals that involve creating a new body and formed part of the business case for resourcing of the Insolvency Service of Ireland and the Charities Regulatory Authority
11Department reorganisation to address structural issues in communications / press office including: Head of Communications appointed and communications unit established
11aReporting directly to the Secretary General and with an upgrade in the skills and expertise of the team to ensure it meets the Department needs. Yes
11bEstablishing clear policy with political side / agencies / internal. Yes
11cEngaging with the media. Yes
11dAgreeing with Minister and Secretary General who does what, and working in close collaboration with and having direct access to the Minister.Yes
11eDevising and implementing new procedures for dealing with complaints / PQs / Communication issues (with a goal to make sure that senior personnel are not consumed with routine issues at the expense of their management functions).A new Communications Strategy was published in 2016 and is monitored on an ongoing basis.

A new Customer Charter was also published in 2016.

Given the sensitivity of many PQs, involvement of senior personnel cannot be substantially lessened.
 Audit and Risk Management: 
12The internal auditor should report directly to the Audit Committee with the Chair of the Committee having a reporting line to the Secretary General and, where appropriate, to the MAC.This was already the case.
13Appoint a minimum of two or three non-public service audit committee members with the right financial, risk and management expertise.Yes. External membership increased.
14Ensure the risk register is provided to, and reviewed quarterly with, the Minister and MAC and assessed against performance, Departmental and agencies issues and internal audit reports so that risk management meets its purpose.Yes
 Corporate Functions and IT Systems: 
15Need to resource and accelerate implementation of the Department’s Blueprint for Communications, Information, Records and Data in the Justice and Equality Sector.Yes. Three pathfinder projects were implemented - eSubmissions, eJARC and Our Sources. These are now live. Justice and Equality Hub in development.
16Better use of technology and data management systems. Modernise and streamline systems, and stop duplication and unnecessary work, including duplication of electronic and paper files.eSubmissions has been rolled out and was the first project on the Government cloud. A Justice Hub is under development to provide access by sectoral organisations to shared Team Rooms, access to new Portal etc., with potential for interoperability in the Criminal Justice and INIS areas.
17Need for integrated systems that provide accurate and timely information.See above
 Benchmarks: 
18

Need to identify what national and international benchmarks, including in EU member states, should be adopted by the Department in order to implement relevant metrics and benchmarks:Horizon Group has examined benchmarks and reported to the MB in 2017.



Given the diversity of justice and legal systems internationally, no readily available benchmarks were identified.



An IGEES (economic evaluation)Unit has been established within the Department and is working

to develop an appropriate set of metrics.
18aIn terms of best practice within Ireland, the Review Group recognises that the Department is leading a public service reform programme in the justice sector, which can be benchmarked against similar programmes in the civil service, local government, education and health sectors.Programme for change closely aligned with Civil Service Renewal objectives.



Benchmarking not completed.

18bThe Review Group believes that Ireland can learn from the structure of the Australian model. While there is only one Secretary who reports to the Attorney General and Justice Minister, there are three strong Deputy Secretaries who are responsible for the clearly defined sub-groups:

i. Civil Justice and Legal Services;

ii. Strategic Policy and Coordination;

iii. National Security and Criminal Justice.
Relates to restructuring of Department - see 3b

Prisoner Health

 265. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the progress made in relation to health care in prisons with particular reference to the action taken by each prison following the report carried out by the former inspector of prisons regarding the fact that each prison would conduct a staffing needs analysis and health care needs assessment of prisoners; and if he will make a statement on the matter.  [51975/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan The Irish Prison Service has advised that, on foot of the recommendations of the Committee for the Prevention of Torture, and in line with the observations made by the former Inspector of Prisons, it has sought approval for the appointment of an Executive Clinical Lead, who is to  ensure the maintenance of clinical governance in respect of healthcare provision and will lead on the oversight and management of health services across the prison estate.

When appointed, the Executive Clinical Lead will have responsibility for the management of prison healthcare services and will be central to the undertaking of a comprehensive review of those services. The Terms of Reference for this review are to be agreed by the Department of Justice and Equality and the Department of Health once the Executive Clinical Lead is in place.  This review will, amongst other things, include an examination of international best practice, an assessment of the current and future needs of the prisoner population, and an analysis of the provision and resourcing of health and personal social services currently available to the Irish prison population.

Inspector of Prisons Reports

 266. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan his plans to address points in the Inspector of Prisons Annual Report 2015 and 2016 in relation to concerns regarding the use of restricted regimes and the need to monitor same; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51976/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan I recently published the Office of the Inspector of Prisons Annual Reports for 2015 and 2016. In these reports, the Acting Inspector notes that she has encountered prisoners on various restricted regimes and that she recognises the challenge faced by the Irish Prison Service in seeking to keep these prisoners in safe and secure custody. She also states that her office will continue to monitor the regimes of such prisoners to ensure compliance with the law and their human rights.

  The restriction of a prisoner's regime can arise is a number of circumstances. Such restrictions are as provided for in the 2007 Prison Rules, as amended. For example, Rule 63 provides that a regime can be restricted so as to provide for the protection of vulnerable prisoners. In this case the prisoner may either at his own request or when the Governor considers it necessary -  in so far as is practicable and subject to the maintenance and good order and safe and secure custody -  be kept separate from other prisoners who are reasonably likely to cause significant harm to him/her.

  Rule 62 provides a further example of a restricted regime. This is where the Governor may decide, for the maintenance of good order in the prison, to remove a prisoner from general association or structured activity to reduce the negative effect that a prisoner or prisoners may have on the general population.   A smaller number of prisoners may have their regimes restricted for medical (Rule 64) or discipline reasons (Rule 67).

  The Prison Rules 2007 provide that the imposition of restricted regimes is closely monitored by the Irish Prison Service (IPS). The IPS Statistics Unit commenced the collation of a Quarterly Census of Restricted Regime Prisoners in 2013 and this is published quarterly on its website (www.irishprisons.ie  ). The Director General of the IPS chairs a high level group to look at measures which can be introduced to reduce the number of prisoners held on restricted regimes. The objective of this group is to ensure that all prisoners receive a minimum standard out of cell time to engage in exercise or activity consistent with IPS policy on the elimination of solitary confinement. That policy is also available on its website

  In June this year, I made a Statutory Instrument entitled “Prison (Amendment) Rules 2017 (no. 276 of 2017)" which brings into effect that provision relating to solitary confinement contained in the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners - known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. The Mandela Rules define solitary confinement as being restricted to one’s cell or room for more than 22 hours a day without meaningful human contact. As a result of this SI, and subject to any restrictions imposed under and in accordance with Part 3 of the Prisons Act 2007 and Part 4 of the 2007 Prison Rules, all prisoners have a right to spend a minimum of 2 hours out of their cell with an opportunity for meaningful human contact.

  The number of prisoners on 22/23 hour lock up has decreased from 211 in 2013 to 9 currently - a decrease of 202 or 96%.

Protected Disclosures

 267. Deputy Clare Daly Information on Clare Daly Zoom on Clare Daly asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan if his attention has been drawn to an allegation of senior gardaí in Blanchardstown perverting the course of justice as a result of the political connections of a person (details supplied) arrested under the Public Order Act 1994; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51986/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy knows, the Protected Disclosures Act was enacted in 2014 to introduce specific protections for whistleblowers. The core provisions in the Act provide for protection from dismissal and other forms of penalisation for the making of a protected disclosure, and for the protection of the identity of persons making disclosures. I am not, therefore, going to discuss the details of any correspondence which I or my Department may have received on behalf of any member of the Garda Síochána alleging Garda wrongdoing. I am sure that the Deputy appreciates that the protection of whistleblowers rightly prioritises the confidentiality of the process, which is central to the efficacy of that process.

Nevertheless, I can say that I have received a Protected Disclosure which makes certain allegations about inappropriate actions taken by certain Gardaí. In line with my duty of confidentiality and to protect the identity of any person who makes a protected disclosure to me I cannot provide any further details at this stage.

My Department has procedures in place for the handling of protected disclosures made to me as Minister. The correspondence concerned is being examined in accordance with those procedures to determine the appropriate action which should be taken in relation to it.

Question No. 268 answered with Question No. 89.

Question No. 269 answered with Question No. 250.

Garda Strength

 270. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the number of gardaí available for duty throughout the country in each of the past seven years to date in 2017; the extent by which it is expected to augment these numbers in the future; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52035/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

  The Garda strength on 31 October 2017, the latest date for which figures are available, was 13,378.

  As the Deputy will be aware this Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.

  I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide. I look forward to attending the attestation of another 200 trainee Garda on Friday which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end – a net increase of 500 since the end of 2016.

  I am also pleased to say that Budget 2018 will maintain this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. A further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. This will see Garda numbers reach the 14,000 mark by the end of 2018.  

  In addition a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training early in 2018.

  This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, in the coming years.

  I have set out the information requested by the Deputy for each of the past seven years to 31 October 2017, the latest date for which figures are readily available from the Commissioner.

Overall Garda Strength 2010-2017 
201014,377
201113,894
201213,424
201313,093
201412,799
201512,816
201612,943
2017*13,378


  *As of 31 October 2017

Garda Deployment

 271. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the extent to which he expects extra gardaí to be deployed to the various stations throughout County Kildare over the Christmas period and thereafter; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52036/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, the Garda Commissioner is responsible for the recruitment and training of the Garda Reserve and the distribution of resources, including personnel, among the various Garda Divisions and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter. Garda management keeps this distribution of resources under continual review in the context of crime trends and policing priorities so as to ensure that the optimum use is made of these resources.

The Garda strength of the Kildare Division on 31 October 2017 was 354. There are also 20 Garda Reserves and 30 Garda civilian staff attached to the Division. When appropriate, the work of local Gardaí is supported by a number of Garda national units such as the National Bureau of Criminal Investigation, the Armed Support Units, the Garda National Economic Crime Bureau and the Garda National Drugs and Organised Crime Bureau.  

As the Deputy will be aware this Government is committed to ensuring a strong and visible police presence throughout the country in order to maintain and strengthen community engagement, provide reassurance to citizens and to deter crime. To achieve this the Government has put in place a plan for an overall Garda workforce of 21,000 personnel by 2021 comprising 15,000 Garda members, 2,000 Reserve members and 4,000 civilians. We are making real, tangible progress on achieving this goal.

I am informed by the Commissioner that since the reopening of the Garda College in September 2014, close to 1,400 recruits have attested as members of An Garda Síochána and have been assigned to mainstream duties nationwide, 72 of whom have been assigned to the Kildare Division. I look forward to attending the graduation of another 200 trainee Garda on Friday which will see Garda numbers, taking account of projected retirements, increase to around the 13,500 mark by year end - a net increase of 500 since the end of 2016.

I am also pleased that Budget 2018 maintains this high level of investment in the Garda workforce and ensure that the vision of an overall workforce of 21,000 by 2021 remains on track. A further 800 new Garda Recruits will enter the Garda College. This will see Garda numbers reach the 14,000 mark by the end of 2018.

In addition a further 500 civilians will also be recruited to fill critical skills gaps across the organisation and to facilitate the redeployment of Gardaí from administrative and technical duties to front-line operational duties. There are plans to strengthen the Garda Reserve with new Reserves expected to commence training early in 2018.

This focus on investment in personnel is critical. The moratorium on recruitment introduced in 2010 resulted in a significant reduction in the strength of An Garda Síochána. We are now rebuilding the organisation and providing the Commissioner with the resources needed to deploy increasing numbers of Gardaí across every Garda Division, including the Kildare Division, in the coming years.

Very significant resources have been provided to An Garda Síochána, including an overtime allocation of €100 million announced in Budget 18, to support large-scale policing operations including Operation Thor, which is active in every Garda Division including the Kildare Division. Operation Thor involves a broad range of activities to tackle organised crime gangs and other prolific offenders as well as working with communities to prevent crime, including rural crime.

We have also invested heavily in the Garda fleet, with over 720 new vehicles coming on stream since the start of 2015 and a provision of €46 million for new Garda vehicles under the Capital Plan 2016-2021. 

These additional investments in policing make it possible to maintain and extend a range of intensive policing operations, including the continued targeting of burglaries and related crime via Operation Thor.

I am advised that a number of Garda initiatives are planned for the winter months including planned days of action around targets and areas as predicated by crime trends and analysis provided by the Garda Síochána Analysis Service and other covert and overt policing initiatives.

Garda Training

 272. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan Information on Bernard Durkan Zoom on Bernard Durkan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan the extent to which Garda training here remains on par with best international practice; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [52037/17]

Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Information on Charles Flanagan Zoom on Charles Flanagan As the Deputy will appreciate, it is the Garda Commissioner who has statutory responsibility for arranging for the training of personnel and I, as Minister, have no direct role in the matter.

In June 2009, The Garda Síochána's Training and Development Review Group presented its comprehensive findings on training in An Garda Síochána to the Garda Commissioner. The review group was assembled to review all training in An Garda Síochána and included leading members of public and private sector organisations. It was tasked with recommending ways to improve and reinvigorate Garda training to align to best practice and meet the new challenges of a changing society.

The Review Group conducted best practice site visits at nine international police training facilities. During these site visits particular attention was given to the training and development of new entrants. The various models of foundation police training observed internationally were considered in the analysis of the previous training programme, the B.A in Police Studies. The analysis identified areas for development of that programme and also established methods of enhancing the preparation of Student/Probationer Gardaí for core operational Garda duties. It was recommended that the development of a new training programme for student/probationers be structured over three phases of training. This modularised programme aims to address core policing skills through blended learning, Increased use of scenario-based practical training, drawing on problem based learning (PBL) methodologies. The current foundation training programme was developed and was first delivered to new entrants in September 2014. This new training programme is known as the B.A in Applied Policing programme. It is accredited by the University of Limerick, which oversees the delivery and quality assurance of the training programme in line with the requirements of Quality and Qualifications Ireland. I am informed that on four occasions each year a Board of Examiners meeting is convened by the University of Limerick to review and ratify results for the B.A in Applied Policing Programme. At these Board of Examiners meeting, the University of Limerick task external examiners who have international police expertise, to review and make recommendations regarding best practice in relation to the B.A in Applied Policing programme.

I am further informed that all instructors involved in the delivery of the BA in Applied Policing Programme have undergone a Certificate in Scholarship and Teaching with the University of Limerick. A number of instructors in this section are also completing a Level 9 Specialist Diploma in Teaching Learning and Scholarship in partnership with the 3rd Level Institution, University of Limerick.

In respect of leadership, management and professional development there is a dedicated section attached to the Garda College, which is responsible for developing, delivering and facilitating the leadership and development training for newly promoted personnel. All programmes delivered underpin the philosophies of the Training Review Report 2009 to achieve a commitment to lifelong learning within the organisation.

To ensure up to date development, substantial elements of the programmes which specifically deal with supervision, leadership and management are tendered out to ensure the organisation gets the best available and up to date external training in this field. Staff of Leadership Management & Professional Development have level 9 NFQ qualifications in the area of Leadership, Organisation Behaviour, Executive Coaching, and level 8 NFQ in Leadership and Governance. Staff are also professionally qualified at international level in the area of Emotional Intelligence and Psychometrics, MBTI and 16PF. Staff also hold practitioner’s qualifications in “Leadership GRID”, an international leadership development programme. In line with Garda Inspectorate reports LMD have incorporated Coaching and Mentoring in all programmes and have external executive coaches as part of Senior Management Development and 360 feedbacks.

In addition, each year members of An Garda Síochána attend international training programmes under the auspices of CEPOL, the European Agency for Law Enforcement Training. These programmes take place in EU Member States and include a broad range of policing related programmes.

There is, of course always benefit in taking stock to see whether things can be done better or in a different way. The Commission on the Future of Policing is examining all aspect of policing in the State including training. I understand that Commission members have met with those in the University of Limerick and have also visited the Garda College as part of their work. The Commission is due to report in September 2018 and I look forward to its recommendations.


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