Friday, February 06, 2009

New Government Structure

The Government has not inspired much confidence in its handling, to date, of the economic crisis.

In addition, there is a clear perception that the whole structure of Government and the supporting civil service is no longer “fit for purpose”.

The Constitution stipulates a minimum of 7 ministers, including the Taoiseach, and a maximum of 15 – which is, naturally, the number we currently have.

The following is a straw-man proposal for an entirely new Government structure, which is based on what a real business structure might look like.

The main objectives of the proposed structure are
(a) to reduce the number of individual ministerial and departmental silos and group them into more logical “business divisions”.
(b) to facilitate the proper prioritisation and allocation of resources – both financial, human and physical. Divisions would have an amalgamated annual budget, with prioritisation and allocation of resources within the division the responsibility of the relevant minister.
(c) to achieve economies and efficiencies through creation of shared interdepartmental support functions at a “head office” level.

For the purposes of simplicity, I’ve taken the existing Departmental titles and redistributed them, sometimes splitting out individual elements, into the new divisional structure.

In my model we go to the minimum number i.e. 7. Each "division" to be headed up by a Minister. Within each divisional portfolio, key elements might be under a Junior Minister where deemed necessary - but they would have a serious and meaty job to do.


1. Taoiseach

2. External Relations (Dept)
- Foreign Affairs
- European Affairs (currently in Office of Taoiseach)

3. Finance (Dept)
- Finance

4. Enterprise (Dept)
- Enterprise Trade & Employment
- Communications, Energy & Natural Resources
- Agriculture, Fisheries & Food
- Tourism
- Transport

5. Environment (Dept)
- Environment, Heritage & Local Govt

6. Social (Dept)
- Health & Children
- Education & Science
- Social & Family Affairs
- Community, Rural & Gaeltacht Affairs
- Arts, Sport

7. Security (Dept)
- Defence
- Justice, Equality & Law reform


- IT
- HR/Training
- Payroll
- Finance/Accounting
- Purchasing/Procurement
- Communications/PR
- Legal
- Operations (planning, co-ordination & implementation)

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