Public Service Reform

Public Service Reform in Education and Training SectorAP19_Cover


An extensive programme of reform is being implemented on a system wide basis across the Education and Training Sector. Major change initiatives and key milestones are captured in the Action Plan for Education 2019 and the Statement of Strategy 2019 – 2021.

The education reform programme enhances and develops the five key goals of the Department's Strategy Statement 2019 to 2021:

  • Shape a responsive education and training system that meets the needs and raises the aspirations of all learners
  • Advance the progress of learners at risk of educational disadvantage and learners with special educational needs in order to support them to achieve their potential
  • Equip education and training providers with the skills and support to provide a quality learning experience
  • Intensify the relationships between education and the wider community, society and the economy
  • Lead in the delivery of strategic direction and supportive systems in partnership with key stakeholders in education and training

To oversee this programme of reform in the Education and Training Sector, the Department has established an Education and Training Reform Board and a Public Service Reform (PSR) Programme Office. The Department is working closely with national agencies and other Government Departments to implement this ambitious programme of reform.

Our Public Service 2020

Our Public Service 2020 is the new framework for development and innovation in the public service which was launched in December 2017. This new phase of public service reform will focus on supporting sustainable, continuous progress across the public service. It aims to build a stronger public service and to deliver better quality services to the Irish public. Implementation of the framework will begin in 2018.

There are 18 actions which include new initiatives and actions focused on building on reforms already in place.

Our Public Service 2020 is built on three pillars:

  • Delivering for our public
  • Innovating for our future
  • Developing our people and organisations

Our Public Service 2020 has a strong focus on outcomes. High-level outcomes for the public service have been identified. The framework will significantly contribute to achieving these. Responsibility for achieving the actions will be shared by leaders across the civil and public service. Government departments and major offices will complete implementation plans which will be flexible and will evolve over the lifetime of the framework.

The framework was developed with input from the public and from the public service. It is also informed by lessons identified in the OECD Assessment of the Public Service Reform Plan 2014–16.

You can download a copy of Our Public Service 2020 and related material including a summary booklet and Irish language versions here

Action 14 – Continuous and responsive Personal and Professional Development (CPPD)


At its inaugural meeting on 23 March 2018, the Public Service Leadership Board (PSLB) agreed the 2018 implementation priorities for Our Public Service 2020 (OPS2020).

Six Priority Actions were selected for immediate implementation including Action 14, Continuous and responsive professional development.

An Action Team of sectoral experts, including DES officials, was convened to produce a scoping paper to further this priority action.

Key issues for consideration

In order to build agile and resilient public service organisations, public servants need opportunities for career development including increasing expertise and skills. We want to develop a public service that values learning and development and provides opportunities for personal and professional development that benefits the individual, the organisation in which they work and the citizens that they serve.

Action 14 contains six initiatives as follows:

  1. Process for the recognition of Core Skills
  2. Sharing leadership CPPD models
  3. Model for experiential learning opportunities
  4. Capturing CPPD profiles across the sectors
  5. Demonstrate the value of CPPD
  6. Guide to creating/strengthening a Learning and Development Culture in public sector organisations

Phase 1 of Action 14 deals with initiatives 1, 2 and 3

1. Process for the recognition of Core Skills

Capture the learning from work carried out by the Defence Forces with Institute of Technology Carlow to develop a framework for the recognition of public service core skills that is embedded in an individual organisation’s strategy, relevant to the unique service, grounded in workforce requirements, includes work-based learning and the recognition of prior learning, and meets current and future skills need of the sector.

Develop a guide to the engagement process that could be used across different public sector organisations.

As part of the process for the recognition of Core Skills, a Learning Event, “Improving Public Services through Collaboration in Education”, was held on 22 March 2019. Information on the event including presentations can be accessed here.

2. Sharing Learning from Leadership CPPD Models

Capture the learning of the Centre for School Leadership (Department of Education and Skills) and the Leadership Academy (HSE) and extract and share key features for the successful implementation of CPPD that supports and develops leaders at different stages and levels.

Publish lessons learnt and showcase the two exemplars, highlighting different approaches including mentoring, coaching, work place/action learning, accreditation, etc.

3. Experiential Learning Opportunities (including short-term mobility or placement)

Track and case study the development of the “Connecting” project currently under exploration in the Health Sector which provides a structured approach to “placing” civil servant policy makers into on the ground service settings to strengthen policy development and the connection to implementation.

Extract lessons learnt for the wider public service.

“Improving Public Services through Collaboration in Education” – Learning Event 22 March 2019