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6 Dec, 2018

November Sectorial Review: Updates Series at PAI

By |2018-12-06T16:12:14+00:00December 6th, 2018|News|0 Comments

Public Affairs Ireland have an ethos of life long learning. The training that we provide focuses in particular on the needs of the public sector. It is highly important that public sector professionals keep informed on legislative changes. The constantly changing nature of legislation and regulations  is something which our clientele must follow while working in the public sector. To address this, Public Affairs Ireland host once-off sessions on legislative updates. PAI cover a range of different topics in their update series, ensuring that no matter what your position within the public sector or what area of legislation interests you, they will be a seminar that meets your needs. The two update seminars that took place at PAI this November were based on two particularly topical issues; data protection and digitization, and gender equality.

Update Series: Gender Equality in Ireland: A Progress Report on the Gender Pay Gap Information Bill 2017

On Friday 23rd of November, PAI hosted an update seminar on The Human Rights and Equality Commission (Gender Pay Gap Information) Bill 2017. This update seminar was led by Sharon Dillon-Lyons BL. Sharon discussed what the introduction of this Bill will mean for companies and organisations. The Bill will ensure that organisations of a certain size will be obliged to publish information on their male and female employees salaries. This bill is a positive step towards closing up the gender pay gap in Ireland, which currently exists at roughly 14%.

You read this Bill by clicking here 

Update Series: The Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018

On Thursday 29th of November Dr Dennis Jennings and Dr Katherine O’Keefe led an update seminar on the Data Sharing and Governance Bill 2018. This bill has been introduced in order to allow for the sharing of data between public bodies. The speakers discussed the bill, detailing the main components while also examining and critiquing the possible consequences of this bill. With GDPR having come into effect in May 2018, public sector bodies must be more aware than ever of how they use the public's data and what regulations surround this.

If you would like to find out more on the subject matter you can do so by reading Dr Dennis Jennings articles on the subject:

The Data Sharing and Governance Bill

The Data Sharing and Governance Bill #2

You can keep posted on PAI's upcoming 2019 Update Seminars by joining our mailing list on our website.

27 Nov, 2018

PAI’s Annual Public Procurement Conference Report

By |2018-11-27T12:45:17+00:00November 27th, 2018|News|0 Comments

On Thursday 22 November, Public Affairs Ireland welcomed delegates to the O’Callaghan Davenport Hotel for our Annual Public Procurement Conference. PAI are committed to delivering specialist learning and development training to the public sector; our conferences provide our clientele with a forum for receiving updates and developments on industry relevant subjects from expert speakers. Our Annual Public Procurement Conferences are always a popular event, attracting a range of delegates from across the public sector.

Patrick McGovern, an independent procurement consultant chaired the event which featured lectures from a host of speakers from a variety of professional backgrounds. Our panel discussed public procurement from many different perspectives; providing delegates with a broad and informative overview of topical public procurement issues.

Minister Patrick O’Donovan TD gave a key note address:  

To commence our conference PAI were delighted to welcome Minister Patrick O’Donovan TD., Minister of State for the Department of Finance, Public Expenditure and Reform, with special responsibility for Public Procurement, Open Government and eGovernment. The Ministers speech provided our audience with an excellent overview on public procurement policy. Minster Patrick O’Donovan focussed on the key issues which concern public procurement and the state. In particular, he discussed the importance of supporting SME’s and taking social considerations into account. The Minister examined the importance of taking the following factors into consideration: the environment, people with disabilities, the youth of the country and placing an emphasis on urban renewal. Overall the Minister shared his support for the introduction of E-Procurement and working closely alongside the EU in terms of public procurement.

 

Niamh Hyland: Developments in Public Procurement Litigation for 2018

Moving on from public procurement policy, our second speaker of the morning Niamh Hyland, Senior Counsel, looked at public procurement from a litigation standpoint. Niamh Hyland pinpointed the key issues and legal cases that have occurred in 2018 in terms of public procurement. Through the use of several case studies, Niamh Hyland demonstrated the value of recording and retaining public procurement documents to uphold the legal requirement of transparency. To illustrate this point Niamh took the example of the Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust vs Lancashire County Council [2018] EWHC1589. This trial demonstrated that while it is not necessary to provide every detail of a procurement process there must be enough detail to provide the rationale for a consensus score. If the contracting authority of a procurement process is unable to explain the awarded scores, then they will not succeed in meeting the most basic of transparency obligations. Through explaining this legal case among others, Niamh effectively brought to light the importance of documenting every procurement process to ensure that transparency is upheld.

Thomas Spoorsman: Pubic Procurement Directives, Next Steps for the European Commission

Our next speaker, Thomas Spoorsman (Deputy Head of Unit, responsible for Public Procurement Strategy, European perspective) provided an insight on public procurement from a European perspective. As the Minster stated in his speech it is in Ireland’s best interests to work alongside Europe to ensure the effectiveness of our public procurement strategy. Thomas Spoorsman provided a practical and informative list of six key priority areas to be taken into consideration for improving public procurement in process.

The list included:

  • Wider uptake of strategic procurement
  • Professionalising public buyers
  • Increase access to procurement markers
  • Improving transparency, integrity and data
  • Boosting the digital transformation of Public Procurement
  • Cooperating to Procure together

As well as highlighting these key considerations for the improvement of public procurement in action, the speaker also explained the importance of a voluntary ex-ante assessment mechanism for the European Union. The implementation of this mechanism would serve as an exchange of information to ensure that all major public procurement projects are in line with EU regulations. The voluntary ex-ante assessment mechanism would principally apply to the sectors of transport, energy, non-residential construction and ICT.

Declan McCormack: The Irish approach to eInvoicing Compliance: An Update from eInvoicing Ireland 

Our next speaker, Declan McCormack who is the Programme Manager at eInvoicing Ireland at the Office of Government Procurement delved into one of the key public procurement developments that is currently taking place. His discussion concentrated on the approaching implementation of E-Invoices for the procurement process. By April 2019 all procurement invoices must be in digital format. Declan discussed the reasons and benefits of this digitalization process. To explain this changeover Declan provided a definition of an e-invoice:

An Invoice that has been issued, transmitted and received in a structured electronic format which allows for its automatic and electronic processing” European Directive 2014/55/EU.

Mr McCormack made it clear that this transformation will have a positive impact, with benefits including decreased costs and administrative work, increased data accuracy and transparency and, it will be sounder environmentally.  Mr McCormack discussed how the next step for eInvoice preparation will include looking at the role of the suppliers and service providers to ensure that the switch is implemented and understood along every step of the procurement process. This discussion demonstrated the positive steps forward that this digital implementation project will entail for public procurement at a national and international level.

The following quote which was included in Declan’s presentation accurately encapsulates the positive step forward that e-invoicing will give rise to:

Switching to e-procurement, and particularly to e-invoicing, can bring significant savings and make life easier both for governments and for thousands of businesses active in the Internal Market

Michel Barnier, European Commissioner for Internal Market and Services (June 2013)

Doug McMahon:  GDPR & Public Procurement – Impacts for Commercial Contracts and the Procurement Process

Following a break for coffee and refreshments, Doug McMahon, a Senior Associate in the Technology and Innovation Group at the McCann Fitzgerald Group presented on public procurement in relation to GDPR. Since the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulations in May 2018, every public sector organisation and business must understand and be complaint with these regulations. Doug McMahon’s presentation examined GDPR and its connection with public procurement in relation to two specific areas that these regulations impact: the tender process and commercial contracts. GDPR outlines specific terms on want data can be handled by whom and for how long. In terms of a tender process there are several types of personal data which must be processed; one example that Doug drew attention to was CV’s. As GDPR has been a major legislative change within this past year, Doug McMahon’s talk was pertinent and provided clarity on this topic.

John Larkin: The role of the procurement team in the effective implementation of e-invoicing in the public sector

John Larkin, the Country Manager of Pagero, our conference sponsors, discussed the essential steps that are necessary to successfully implement an e-Invoice strategy. As this strategy will be a legal obligation by 18 April 2018, the steps as outlined by Mr Larkin were both informative and highly necessary. While Declan McCormack in his discussion of e-Invoicing demonstrated the benefits of its implementation, John Larkin examined e-Invoicing at a practical business level to demonstrate the actions which must be taken to ensure that the switch to e-invoicing runs smoothly at an organisational level.

These steps include:

  • Define initial scope
  • Develop business case
  • Establish project and prepare design plan
  • Test and implement solution
  • Go live and roll out
  • Review success

These steps provided an insightful and practical guide for anyone working within public procurement to steer them through the implementation process.

Finola McCarthy: Reporting on Public Spending – Monitoring & auditing the public procurement process

To conclude our conference, Finola McCarthy of Ronan Daly Jermyn Law Firm looked at procurement from a public spending perspective. Finola McCarthy noted that the state spends approximately €12 billion on procurement annually. With a figure as significant as this, it is highly important that the process of procurement is handled in accordance with the laws and regulations that govern it. The speaker drew the audience’s attention to the importance of compliance in terms of public procurement. Public procurement must obey not only legal obligations but in addition to that government policy and internal corporate controls and policies.

To conclude our conference our panel of expert speakers welcomed delegates to ask them questions on the topics that were discussed. PAI’s Annual Public  Procurement Conference provided our attendees with valuable insights into recent updates and developments on public procurement from both a national and international perspective.

Conference Chair, Patrick Mc Govern, Independent Procurement Consultant, Niamh Hyland, Senior Counsel, Minister Patrick O'Donovan TD and Carol O'Connor, Executive Director at PAI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

23 Nov, 2018

Five common editing errors

By |2018-11-23T12:46:13+00:00November 23rd, 2018|News|0 Comments

Sarah Marriott

Editing is an essential skill for anyone who writes at work. Becoming aware of common errors can help you to spot potential problems more quickly, which will speed up the editing stage.

1.Clarity and double meanings

  • Check each sentence says exactly what you intended. It’s easy to write something that makes perfect sense to you but may be ambiguous or unclear to readers (or just sound strange).

Example: It’s unusual to see five-year-old computers walking around offices. (Of course, computers can’t walk….).

2.Over-long sentences

  • Clear sentences often contain only one or two ideas or facts. Longer sentences can be more difficult to follow, because they have too many clauses. Online and in emails, sentences should be about 20 words or less – but in formal writing, sentences can be a bit longer (going up to 30 words if required).

3.Bullet-point lists

  • Bullet-point lists are a useful way of presenting complex information.  Always check that they read on logically from the introductory phrase (which is before the colon) and are punctuated in the same way throughout the same document. How you punctuate lists depends on your house style – and one of the most common styles is below.

Incorrect example

You must submit:

  • Your passport
  • A recent bank statement
  • And if you have one, an identity card

Correct example

You must submit:

  • Your passport
  • A recent bank statement
  • An identity card, if you have one

4.Singular and plural

  • Of course, you can’t write ‘it are’ or ‘they is’ but singular/plural agreement is a common mistake. Always check that the verb (the action word) and the subject (the person or thing doing the action) are both singular or both plural.

Example: ‘One in five teenagers smoke cannabis’ is incorrect because the person doing the smoking is ‘one teenager’ not five. So the correct version is ‘One teenager in five smokes cannabis’

5.Commas

Some people use too few; others use too many. The simplest test for where to put a comma is to read aloud and notice where you pause for breath inside a sentence. That pause is probably where a comma is needed. If you have a sentence with more than two commas (and it’s not a list), check it’s clear and not too long.

Sarah Marriott is a highly experienced trainer and former journalist who specialises in delivering Writing Skills courses for the public and private sectors.Sarah has worked as a feature writer and sub-editor at The Irish Times. She has also been involved in training Irish Times editorial staff. She is a former lecturer on the MA in Journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology and is author of Common Errors in Written English.

Sarah Marriott will deliver a seminar on Editing Skills at PAI on Wednesday 5 December, click here for more information.

23 Nov, 2018

Leadership in the Public Sector; Purpose – Relationships Impact Growth

By |2018-11-23T11:08:18+00:00November 23rd, 2018|News|0 Comments

Georgina Corscadden

Public service covers the full spectrum of jobs and careers with many  public servants effecting real outcomes and results. The Public sector changes peoples lives.

 

What Millennials want is purpose and what about others, do we care about building relationships, meaning, impact, legacy and growth? Do we have a sense of purpose? Do we need to have leaders and managers within the public sector to give real freedom and professional autonomy to achieve things, to develop and deliver projects?

 

The purpose and values within the public sector connect to a noble cause, supporting a pivotal area of society to underpin strong foundations of government. The intention is to further enhance leadership within the public sector in a period of change and restructuring. Leadership is a complex interaction between people and environments that emerges through social systems.  Leadership development represents a dynamic process involving multiple interactions that persist over time. It involves the development and application of a variety of skills and is shaped by factors such as relationships with others and increasing self-awareness.

 

Leadership has always been more difficult in challenging times, but the unique stressors facing public sector organisations today call for a renewed focus on what constitutes genuine leadership. Such challenges have precipitated a renewed focus on restoring confidence, building resilience; enhancing self-awareness; and relating sincerely to all stakeholders.  Public sector organisations need a cadre of leaders who lead with purpose, values, and integrity; leaders who build enduring organisations, and leaders who motivate their employees to deliver superior service and create long-term value.

Georgina Corscadden will discuss Leadership in the Public Sector at PAI's upcoming CPD Compliance Conference on Thursday 6 December. Click here for more information on this key public sector event.

Georgina Corscadden is a dedicated and committed Master Coach, Mentor, Master Trainer, Psychologist and Facilitator with over 30 years’ experience in developing people and organisations.   Her expertise, track record, academic grounding and ethical approach to all her endeavours enable her to work within a wide variety of organisations with success.