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 The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ

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PostSubject: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Thu Oct 30, 2008 2:35 am

Citizens of Machine Nation,

This is a Machine Nation mini project which intends to root out lack of prudency, poor value for money and expense which is not in the
best interests of the taxpayer or the Nation in general.

It has become apparent that the State's expenditure has accumulated a considerable amount of pudding over the years. The latest estimates for
2009 spending published by the Minister for Finance on 14th October 2008 showed an estimated total voted spending of more than 64 Billion
Euro.

The Irish Government 2009 Estimates of Expenditure are published under 41 different departmental headings. This project consists of 41 threads which, it is hoped - intended, will become a database of finer detail to supplement the published estimates. Each of the 41 threads has an OP which is a screen shot of the expenditure for the relevant voted services expenditure for each Department.

The entries in the estimates are very high level and contain little or no detail about where the money actually goes. An example is the entry in most Departments for office machines etc which runs into millions of euro for some statements. Is this Laptops? Paper ? printing costs, annual reports?
Pens and pencils ? How much does a Garda cost ? How much is a Garda car ?

We could get a lot of this info under the Freedom of Information Act. But why pay for it when the media get it on a regular basis. If you find a media article quoting relevant data, sums of money - who spent it - who got it - what was it for, post it up and link if possible. Your first hand experience of good and bad value for money is also wanted. What is essential expenditure and what is not?

The 41 threads deal only with the voted areas of expenditure. They do not include non-voted expenditure. They do not deal with the issues of exchequer income either.

Feel free to start threads on income. The threads do not deal with quangos and semi-state operations, of which there are many. (Coillte, Fas, Comhaltas Eálonai etc) Again, information on these will help join the dots and you are invited to set up threads on them.

This is not a bashing exercise. It is intended as a numerical exercise. Auditing by peers. It is hoped that if we build up enough detail over the coming months, we might begin to see the wood from the trees.

Obviously it costs a lot to run a country. But a waste of money is, nonetheless, a waste of money.

And a saving is a saving.

Signed: Content Team
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Tue Nov 11, 2008 12:13 pm

As this is not related to any particular department I'll put this here. Does the Indo have a more detailed breakdown and could we get it ?

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/government-forking-out-836417m-each--week-on-consultants-1530974.html


Last edited by Auditor #9 on Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Tue Nov 11, 2008 1:39 pm

This consultants thing is a complete joke - that is what we pay civil servants to do.
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Tue Nov 11, 2008 4:41 pm

Not all consultants are bad some are productive. Does the total include Engineers, Architects and Quantity Surveyors?

However I have noticed a trend to employ consultants to produce reports that favour a preconceived departmental position. Many that I have read should be produced in house, but then that would mean that those writing the report may be accountable at some future date.

It is yet another sign of sloppy government.
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Sat Nov 15, 2008 11:51 pm

Squire wrote:
Not all consultants are bad some are productive. Does the total include Engineers, Architects and Quantity Surveyors?

However I have noticed a trend to employ consultants to produce reports that favour a preconceived departmental position. Many that I have read should be produced in house, but then that would mean that those writing the report may be accountable at some future date.

It is yet another sign of sloppy government.

Getting good work from consultants is a difficult business. Sometimes studies are commissioned by Departments that have no intention of acting on anything that is disturbing to the status quo, not matter how much the evidence suggests to the contrary. Even when real recommendations are wanted, the person/s liaising with the consultants usually don't have the same expertise, or they would be doing the job themselves. For the process to work well, you need to have a client who is prepared to commit a fair amount of time to the project, while the work is being done, and even more importantly when it is finished, to get recommendations implemented. It would be interesting to know how many studies are never opened again after the day of launching.
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:36 pm

Anyone see this in the Tribune today ?
http://www.tribune.ie/news/article/2008/nov/16/who-is-answering-lenihans-patriotic-call/

53 senior public sector bosses have been asked by Lenihan to consider a 10% pay cut in order to show the right kind of leadership in tough times as well as yielding a few valuable hundred thousand over the next while. The paper contacted them and the results are interesting. (Only a few will be spared from being put up against that wall .. )

Quote :
1. Arts Council

Director: Mary Cloake

Salary: €114,366

"Our director Mary Cloake is not ruling out a pay cut. Everything is on the table at this stage. Our main goal now is to work out how we can lessen the impact of the budget on the funded organisations and artists."

2. Bord Bia

CEO: Aidan Cotter

Salary: €151,261 (September 2007)

"No comment."

3. Bord Gáis

CEO: John Mullins

Salary: in the range of €237,660 to €297,024.

"The remuneration of the chief executive John Mullins is being discussed at present by the board and the chief executive."

4. Bord Iascaigh Mhara

CEO: Jason Whooley

Salary: €121,919

No response received despite several calls to the office.
..
etc.
etc.
etc.
..
50. VHI

CEO: Jimmy Tolan

Remuneration: €297,000

Did not respond to the question despite a
number of efforts to contact them.
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:45 pm

What in the name of all that's holy does the CEO of Bord Gais do for his quarter million?

Hopefully, he will show a public spirited attitude.
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Mon Mar 02, 2009 5:28 pm

The Tribune again yesterday -

State spend of €1m a week on consultants since Jan 2008

Eight government departments have spent almost €1m a week since January 2008 hiring in consultants – including former senior public servants – to tell them how to run the country.

With seven departments yet to release figures – including traditional big spenders such as Education, Transport, Communications, Health and Environment – the taxpayers' bill for hiring consultants last year is set to reach almost €90m, or €2m a week.

http://www.tribune.ie/news/home-news/article/2009/mar/01/state-spend-of-1m-a-week-on-consultants-since-jan-/




------------------
Some of the detail -
forestry report 23k
seafood industry 56k

Hanafin's Department of Ed. & Science spent 20million of IT consultancy and 26 million overall since Jan. 08. Half of the 20m went to KPMG ...




The Department of Social and Family Affairs also paid barrister Mel Cousins €246,236 for an equality audit of the social-welfare code.

Other expensive consultancy projects included a contract of more than €1.8m awarded to Murray consultants by defence minister Willie O'Dea.

This was for the implementation of a public information awareness campaign on what to do if the country is hit by a disaster and included the delivery of the Emergency Planning booklet to every home in the country.
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PostSubject: Re: The 64 Billion Euro question - FAQ   Tue Mar 03, 2009 4:51 pm

Which Dept. pays for the Commttees? Finance?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

http://www.independent.ie/national-news/treacy-got-83644000-for-every-meeting-he-chaired-on-pact-1659049.html
...

The total cost of running Dail committees, of which there are 23, came to €6.2m in 2008.

The salaries of 59 civil servants attached to them as various secretariats came to €3.8m, with the cost of legal advice sought by them running to a further €2.2m.

But politicians pocketed nearly one million euro (€950,000) just for being there -- even though they are already paid out of the public purse as TDs and Senators. Besides hefty payments for chair and vice-chair positions, even a lowly convenor -- effectively a non-job -- is paid an extra €6,500 a year for holding the post.

...

There are proposals from the same commission for the number of committees -- vastly expanded under Bertie Ahern -- to be pared back by eight to a new figure of 15 in total.
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