Guide to the Functions & Records of the Department - Appendix 5

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Appendix 5 Glossary of Terms

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Administration of Schemes This information refers to the day-to-day running of the schemes of the Department. Examples of the type of information held are staffing requirements of sections, publicity of schemes, payment methods for customers, deciding claims, making payments, estimating expenditure etc.

AG (Attorney General) The principal functions of the Attorney General are to advise the Government in matters of law and legal opinion and to provide the State with both drafting and litigation services.

Assistance Assistance schemes are schemes which are means-tested and are generally available to customers who do not have sufficient PRSI contributions to qualify for benefit schemes.

Benefit Benefit schemes are schemes which are based on the PRSI contributions of customers.

Bilateral agreements Social security agreements that exist between Ireland and other countries, usually outside the EU, providing for co-ordination of the social insurance of persons who have worked in Ireland and other state concerned. They make provision for seconded workers and ensures that workers are subject to legislation of one country rather than two or none.

Claim/Customer Records This is information relating to individual customers. It consists of information such as name, date of birth, PPS number, address and any other personal information received from application/claim forms, visits by social welfare inspectors etc.

Chief State Solicitor's The Chief State Solicitor's Office Office (CSSO) is part of the AG's Office (see above) and provides litigation services, together with a wide range of legal services not involving litigation, such as advisory and conveyancing services, to the State.

Comptroller & Auditor General (C&AG) These are records of branches dealings with the Comptroller and Auditor General concerning:

  • the control of the flow of money into and out of the exchequer;
  • auditing of the accounts of the Department;
  • auditing of the assessment, collection and bringing to account of PRSI;
  • inspection and examination of the efficiency of the Department in using it's resources in carrying out it's functions and the measures used by the Department in appraising the effectiveness of its operations.

Council of Europe Consists of 46 European parliamentary democracies. Its objective is to pursue European co-operation in all fields, except defence, with particular stress on the safeguarding of human rights, improving the quality of life and strengthening democratic institutions. Further information can be obtained at Council of Europe's Website

EEA (European Economic Area) Consists of the 25 EU member states plus Norway, Iceland and Lichtenstein.

EU (European Union) Consists of 25 member states - Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

Much of the work of the public service is now set out in European Union legislation and guidelines on particular aspects of policy enacted at European Union level. Material held on these would contain information on the legislation or guideline in question, and how it is interpreted and operated in this State.

ESRI (Economic & Social Research Institute) An independent, non-profit-making body which works to knowledge of the social and economic conditions of society with particular reference to Ireland. Further information can be obtained at ESRI's website

Estimates The Estimates are published in the Book of Estimates, which contains a separate Estimate of the cost of each Departmental function for which Dail Eireann will be asked to appropriate money. Records held would include:

  • Annual Estimates;
  • Multi-Annual Projections;
  • Monitoring and Control of Expenditure;
  • Public Expenditure Reviews.

Fixed Asset Register A register of all items of furniture and fittings purchased by the Department. This register shows the location, cost centre and value of each item.

GRO (General Register Office) The General Register Office operates as an executive unit of the Department of Health & Children, providing a registration service of births, deaths and marriages to the general public. Further details can be found at the GRO Website

ILO (International Labour Organisation) The ILO is the United Nations agency which deals with employment and labour market issues. The mission of the ILO is to improve standards and conditions of work and to encourage productive employment throughout the world. As part of the Treaty of Versailles, the ILO was established on the principle that lasting and universal peace could only be achieved on a solid foundation of social justice. In 1923, the ILO became the first international organisation, which the new Irish State joined.

INPUT Scheme A scheme whereby employees may enter suggestions for the improvement of any Civil Service operations. Prizes may be awarded if the suggestion is adopted.

Internal Administration This is the day to day management of the Department. Information held in this area can include subjects such as organisation of training courses, allocation of leave, provision of accommodation for staff, circulation of information documents etc.

Instructions and Guidelines Information in this category includes all stages of instructions or guidelines issued to staff in the administration of schemes operated by the Department. It would also include recordings by staff of their experiences in operating such schemes.

IT (Information Technology) These records relate to branches' requirements in the IT field, e.g. hardware and software requirements, IT systems, telecommunications etc.

Legislation Legislation can consist of primary legislation, e.g. an Act of the Oireachtas, or secondary legislation, e.g. regulation, order, statutory instrument. The power to make the latter derives from primary legislation.

Information kept on legislation files generally reflects the various stages of production of legislation and include material on the following:

  • analysis of initial Government proposals, leading to production of a document (called a Memorandum) to the Government setting out the reasons why the Act is required and summarising the main points;
  • comments on the content of the Memorandum from within the Department and other relevant Departments, any the Department and other relevant Departments, any changes made to the Memorandum as a result and any Government decision on it;
  • If that decision is to proceed with the proposed legislation:
    - correspondence with the Attorney General's Office concerning the draft text of a Bill;
    - the circulation to Departments and presentation to Government of the draft Bill;
    - correspondence with and briefing material supplied to the Minister as the Bill proceeds through the Oireachtas;
    - Any further action, e.g. issuing directions provided for in the Act, further correspondence, drafting regulations and orders etc.

Management Information Systems This information is held in the form of statistics, reports etc. for management's use and information.

NESC (National Economic & Social Council) The NESC was established in November 1973 to advise the government on the development of the national economy and the achievement of social justice. Further details can be found at the NESC Website

NESF (National Economic & Social Forum) The NESF was established by the government in 1993 to contribute to the formation of a wider national consensus on social and economic policy initiatives. More details can be obtained at the NESF Website

OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Thirty countries are members of the OECD whose objective is to achieve the highest sustainable economic growth and employment and raising standards of living in member and non-member countries. See OECD Website for further details.

Office Automated Accounts These are computer accounts containing word-processing, e-mail, spreadsheets etc. Each manager has his/her own account which is password protected.

Ombudsman (Office of the) These are records of individual branch's correspondence with the Ombudsman and initiatives undertaken following such correspondence.

Overpayments These records relate to details of scheme overpayments and the recovery of overpayments from individual customers.

PAC (Public Accounts Committee) A joint select committee of the Houses of the Oireachtas set-up to examine the financial reports/accounts of Government departments. This committee can take oral and written evidence and can seek documents from all Government departments.

Partnership Committee Under the terms of the Partnership 2000 agreement a formal participative and consultative process (Partnership) was established within the Civil Service involving representatives of management, unions and staff. The aim is to achieve common ownership of the goals and objectives of the change programme and to progress their implementation.

Performance Management Development System (PMDS) This is a continuous, ongoing process that involves staff members:

  • agreeing a set of objectives in line with their Business Plan with their individual managers;
  • deciding how the objectives can be met and planning what the staff/section/business unit needs to change or learn to reach these objectives;
  • ongoing monitoring of the progress with the manager and making any necessary adjustments;
  • end of the year evaluation performance.

Policy This is information held on the formulation and implementation of Government policy, either through election commitments or Ministerial instructions. It is likely to contain analysis of proposals, from the points of view of cost, impact and practicality. Once a policy has been enacted, information held is likely to relate to measuring its impact, i.e. if grants are providing assistance in the way intended, if the yields from taxation proposals are as expected.

Personal Public Service Number (PPSN) Formerly known as a Revenue and Social Insurance (RSI). This is a unique personal social services number issued by this Department to individual customers for the purpose of tax, social welfare and related services.

SMI (Strategic Management Initiative) The SMI consists of a wide range of measures which are intended to bring about improvement in the delivery of public services. The SMI Division in the Dept. of the Taoiseach is the full-time resource which co-ordinates the development of practical policies for the design and successful implementation of the Civil and Wider Public Service Modernisation Programme. For further information visit the website

Social Insurance Fund (SIF) All social insurance contributions collected from employers and employees under the Pay Related Social Insurance (PRSI) system are paid into the Social Insurance Fund, while payments in respect of items such as Unemployment and Disability benefits, Retirement pensions and Contributory Old Age Pensions, are made from it.

State Directory A publication produced by the Department of Finance containing a summary of the functions and records of each public body. Copies of this publication are available from the Government Publications Office. You may also access this publication on the internet at

Subsistence Meal and Accommodation payments to cover travel.

TMT Meetings Meetings of the top management of the Social Welfare Services which are generally held once a week.

UN (United Nations) The UN consists of a number of councils dealing with a wide range of issues. Full details can be seen at the  UN Website.

Vote This is the technical name for the Department's Estimate which is passed by Dail Eireann.

Last modified:09/06/2010

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