Skip to main content

Salary top-ups may be just tip of the iceberg – Burke

22nd November 2013 - Colm Burke TD

Fine Gael Cork North Central Senator and Seanad spokesperson on Health, Colm Burke, has today (Friday) called for the HSE to implement immediate changes to their system of auditing 2,680 agencies which are in receipt of €3.27 billion in financial support from the HSE. Senator Burke was following reports this week that management at Section 38 voluntary hospitals and agencies were in receipt of salary top ups.


“In response to a question which I put to the HSE at a recent meeting of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health and Children, I was advised that there is a register of non-statutory agencies, Service Arrangements and Grant Aid Agreements, in operation. Under these agreements local, regional and national management information is provided to 2,680 separate agencies which operate 4,381 separate funding arrangements to a value of approximately €3.27 billion.


“Reports in respect of the top up payments to staff revealed this week only apply to one type of these arrangements, namely Section 38. Under these agreements the salary scales of those funded agencies must conform to the consolidated pay scales. The Service Level Agreement also requires a declaration of the salary and other allowances paid to senior employees. However, clear breaches in these agreements have been revealed this week.


“The HSE operates another set of agreements, so called ‘Section 39 Agreements’, to which the same auditing rules and salary caps do not apply. While the vast majority of these section 39 agencies are directing funds received into vital services which the HSE is not best placed to provide, it is important that there is transparency in a sector which operates entirely on public money, whether this is from the HSE or through private donations.


“The only way of ensuring that public money is spent on services and not excessive salaries is by making financial information more transparent. The more than €3 billion in funding which these agencies collectively receive represents a very significant portion of the overall €13 billion annual health budget, the mere provision of which should entitle the taxpayer to full knowledge on how it is to be spent.


“I would call on the HSE and the Department of Health to carry out an immediate and comprehensive review of their funding and auditing arrangements with these agencies. It is incomprehensible that public money from a Department which is trying to make cost savings would award funding to agencies and not seek an account on how that money is being spent.”

Stay Up To Date With Fine Gael