Public Sector Reform involves supporting the development of, and innovation in Ireland’s Public Sector. It has three main pillars:
- Delivering for Our Public
- Innovating for Our Future
- Developing Our People and Organisations
The short version is ‘doing things better’.
This involves ensuring that outcomes for the public are central to what we do. It means never forgetting the learner and involving them in the design and delivery of services and improving how we listen and communicate with the public. Value for money, accessibility and quality are important here too.
An example of delivering for the public might include ensuring that we are spending taxpayer’s money fairly and transparently by how we procure goods and services. Another example would be the improved use of technology by ETBs in ensuring continuity of education and other supports during the Covid-19 restrictions.
This involves ETBI and its member ETBs being more innovative and collaborative so that it can respond to the challenges Ireland faces. It means the ‘left hand talking to the right’ and evaluating what we do and how we can do it better. Having up to date and accurate data and employing good practices is central to innovation.
An example of innovation would be the ETBI Take 1 programme to embed the Sustainable Development Education Goals in the Junior Cycle Curriculum. Another would be the development and planned implementation of Core Values across all ETB Schools, underpinned by the Goodness Me Goodness You curricular programme.
The actions in this pillar help to build strong and agile public service organisations. Actions focus on sharing best practice and experience in areas such as strategic human resource management, workforce planning, employee engagement, public service culture and values, diversity and inclusion.
Put simply its about ensuring that ETB staff have the right mix of tools and skills to support them in delivering services to the public and that a culture of evaluation is promoted.
Examples of this would include the design and delivery of the ETBI UCC Certificate in Procurement Management and the Instructional Leadership Programme to enhance teaching and learning in ETB schools.
The Public Sector Reform (PSR) Unit was established in ETBI in September 2010, with a particular focus on procurement and communications though the following functions:
- Manage and coordinate Public Service Reform initiatives
- Manage the OGP relationship and coordinate procurement initiatives for the ETB’s
- Support the General Secretary of ETBI with the stakeholder engagement for the implementation the Public Service Reform agenda
- Manage communications on Public Service Reform across ETBI and ETBs
- Manage and develop networks to support sector wide change
- Develop and coordinate training and education programmes to support Public Service Reform for the ETB sector
Using centralised contracts and frameworks offers a number of advantages. It ensures compliance with procurement regulations and guidelines and removes the administrative burden of running a formal tender process. Through economies of scale they can also often deliver best value for taxpayers’ money.
It is ETB policy to use centralised contracts and frameworks. If you have any questions regarding your ETB’s policy, you should contact your local ETB administrative office for advice. Where public bodies do not utilise central procurement frameworks, they should be in a position to provide a value for money justification.
While suppliers may be willing to offer exceptional discounts for a period of time for particular products or services, it is important for ETBs to consider their ongoing and overall requirements before purchasing outside a centralised contract or framework. They also need to remain compliant with public procurement guidelines. ETB schools and centres should check with their ETB Administrative Office if they require further information.
All current and upcoming national contracts and frameworks are listed on the OGP’s website https://ogp.gov.ie/ In order to access full information, you will need to register as a public sector Buyer via their website. (Suppliers – see FAQ I’m a supplier – how do I tender for ETB business? below).
In the first instance you should make contact with your local ETB Administrative office for further information / ICT liaison. The rules and guidelines for ICT procurement differ from other goods and services in that approval under Circular 02/2016 is required from all ICT expenditure above €25K.
Your first stop for procurement advice/ information should be your local ETB administrative office. There is also information on public procurement guidelines and a guide to EU thresholds here.