Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform announces public consultation process on Strengthening Civil Service Accountability and Performance

Issued 9 January 2014

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D., published a consultation paper on Strengthening Civil Service Accountability and Performance in line with Programme for Government commitments.

The Minister said:

“The Programme for Government sets out significant changes to the current legislative framework governing ministerial responsibility and the accountability of civil servants. The consultation paper on Strengthening Civil Service Accountability and Performance is being published to inform and promote public debate both within and outside the civil service on the key themes, policy and legislative options to deliver on more effective accountability arrangements.

I believe that this is a critical project because stronger accountability goes hand in hand with improved performance. Maximising performance is vital to delivering on the overall ambition of a better public service. By enhancing accountability arrangements both the civil service and the political system can be empowered to be more effective and help build trust among citizens that effective and well informed choices are being made as to how taxpayers’ money is spent.  The purpose of this paper is to focus on where the appropriate balance lies in holding ministers and officials to account while supporting essential innovation and creativity in public administration.”

The Minister has established an Independent Panel to oversee the consultation process, review submissions received, and develop recommendations for his consideration. The Independent Panel is chaired by Professor Kevin Rafter. The other members of the Independent Panel are Ms. Dorothea Dowling and Mr. Michael Howard. The Panel will operate on a pro bono basis.


09 January 2014

Notes for Editors

To download the consultation paper, and for more information, visit

The Independent Panel has invited stakeholders, and all interested people and sectors, to submit their views on the key issues outlined in the consultation paper. Questions for consultation are set out on Pages 4, 5 and 6 of the consultation paper. Alternatively, general submissions that do not specifically respond to any of the questions raised are also welcome.

Submissions should be forwarded to as soon as possible but no later than 31 March 2014, with a view to the Independent Panel presenting proposals to the Minister by end May. 

Professor Kevin Rafter lectures in political communication and journalism at Dublin City University. He is also a non-executive director at Dublin Bus and Oxfam Ireland. He is the author/editor of several books on media and politics in Ireland, and his research has been published in international academic journals. Prior to 2008 he worked as a political journalist with newspapers including The Irish Times, The Sunday Times and the Sunday Tribune as well as presenting The Week programme on RTE Radio One and as a correspondent with Prime Time.

Dorothea Dowling is currently non-executive chair of the Personal Injuries Assessment Board, which is a fully self-funding agency. She is best known as Chair of the Motor Insurance Advisory Board (MIAB) whose recommendations resulted in transformation of the insurance and legal systems for personal injury in Ireland by securing the involvement of a large number of Government Departments. Dorothea is a Chartered Arbitrator and holds an Honours Law degree from the University of London as well as a number of other professional qualifications which have been successfully employed in previous roles many of which were on a pro-bono basis.

Mr Michael Howard served as Secretary General of the Department of Defence and previously as an Assistant Secretary General in that Department.  Mr Howard has extensive practical experience of the system of public administration in Ireland and was centrally involved in the modernisation of the Defence sector, widely regarded as one of the success stories of public sector reform. He holds a B.Comm and an M.Sc.

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