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Teagasc Driving Change in the Public Sector

Teagasc, the Agriculture and Food Development Authority, launched its People, Leadership and Change (PLC) strategy in Oak Park, Carlow today, Tuesday, 5 April. Through the implementation of this strategy, Teagasc is building a culture of teamwork, innovation, integration and adaptability to create a high performing work environment. A debate on public sector reform and implementation of the Croke Park agreement was also hosted.  

The Teagasc Change Programme 2009 -2013 is currently being implemented, with the number of Directorates reduced from 6 to 3, a reduction in the advisory office network from 91 to 51 (23 closed to date), a 30 per cent reduction in the land base used for research, a streamlining of administration and a reorganisation in the delivery of education.

Speaking in Carlow, Teagasc Director Professor Gerry Boyle said that Teagasc has lost 300 staff over the last few years and cannot replace them due to the moratorium on staff recruitment. “Existing staff have responded and helped to maintain productivity. All the key metrics to measure staff output are increasing with advisers servicing increased numbers of farmers clients, college lecturers teaching more students  to meet the growth in demand for agriculture and horticulture courses, and our researchers are producing ever increasing numbers of peer reviewed, high quality  scientific papers. This has only been achieved, thanks to the flexibility, adaptability and goodwill of our staff in embracing change.”

Speaking on public sector change and reform, Chairman of the Joint Implementation Body, Croke Park agreement, PJ Fitzpatrick pointed out that the Croke Park agreement offers the opportunity for the delivery of quality services, despite reduced resources through greater productivity. He pointed out that the new programme for government sees a reduction of 24-37,000 fewer staff by 2014. He argued that the Croke Park Agreement is already delivering change, with a net staff loss of 5%, or 16,000 across the public sector since 2008 with no loss of function. Describing the Teagasc People Leadership and Change (PLC) Strategy as timely and a model for other organisations to follow, he pointed to the prioritisation and protection of frontline services in Teagasc, the commitment to training and development and the employee involvement in the change process.

HR Manager with Teagasc, Valerie Farrell said:”The Teagasc Agenda is clearly focused around implementing the Teagasc Change Programme, the Public Service Agreement (Croke Park), as well as meeting the ambitious targets set out in Food Harvest 2020. How we achieve these plans is down to the people in the organisation. How our people grow, are nurtured, are inspired, will influence how they perform and ultimately their contribution to the agri-food industry. The People, Leadership and Change Strategy was developed by staff in response to these challenges and involves a number of new programmes and initiatives that will be delivered over the period 2011-2013. We are confident that this strategy will help deliver higher level performance into the future.”

PLC_Summary_of_Changes_050411 (PDF)