Dáil Éireann - Volume 502 - 23 March, 1999
Written Answers. - Departmental Staff.
Mr. Gormley Mr. Gormley
91. Mr. Gormley asked the Taoiseach if staff members of his Department have received funding to attend courses; the number of courses attended; the name of the course; and the amount paid since June 1997. [7579/99]
The Taoiseach Bertie Ahern
The Taoiseach: The Department of the Taoiseach has a strong commitment to invest in people so that the best possible service can be given. In my Department's strategy statement published in April 1998, we state that “ the quality of our services is dependent on the calibre of the people who provide them. It is essential that we continue and enhance this resource through focused recruitment, training and development.” Training and development of staff falls, essentially, into three categories: general training courses; information technology, IT training, and refunds of fees.
My Department has directly arranged and paid for a wide range of training courses for staff at all levels since June 1997, covering topics important to the concept of delivering better Government,  such as quality customer care, management development, clerical development, the Irish language, foreign languages, professional writing skills, Government accounting, interpersonal communications, staff management, presentation skills, design/desktop publishing, stress management, effective meetings, change in the Civil Service and induction courses for new staff. In support of our continuing revisions of and improvements to the Department's safety statement, we have arranged a number of health and safety courses, including the issue of tackling bullying in the workplace. We have also provided briefing sessions and workshops on subjects such as Agenda 2000 and the introduction of the euro.
A wide variety of IT training courses have been provided to staff of all grades to enable them to derive the maximum benefit from information technology, so important to their day to day work.
Many members of staff undertake diploma, degree and masters degree courses in their own time. Where these courses of education are relevant to their work and/or their development as civil servants, my Department supports these endeavours by refunding the course fees to the student and by providing study leave and exam leave. In addition to this, fees and expenses are paid to enable staff to attend conferences and seminars in support of the work of their individual sections and divisions.
Investment in staff training and development amounted to a total of £77,890 and £79,126 in 1997 and 1998 respectively. This year, £136,000 has been allocated in my Department for this important work. The increase in this year's allocations is due to the introduction of the performance management system, an essential element of delivering better Government, which will require extensive training for staff at all levels. The budget will also, inter alia, cover the cost of courses, IT training and refunds of fees, as well as the salary of the training officer, £20,471 per annum, and any additional materials he may require.
Dáil Éireann 502 Written Answers. Departmental Staff.