State efficiency improved - report
By most measures the efficiency of the State and its agencies have improved over the past year.
Ireland now ranks well when compared to other European countries. Despite this trend, trust in government fell on a year earlier and remains lower than the EU average.
The analysis is contained in Public Sector Trends, an annual report published today by the Institute of Public Administration. The report brings together Irish and international indicators on the size, efficiency and legitimacy of the public sector and institutions of State.
The report notes that total numbers in the public sector in 2012 were eight per cent lower than at peak in 2008 and back at 2005 levels.
The largest proportionate decline in employees over the past four years has taken place in non-commercial state agencies, with head count down by almost one fifth, and in local authorities, where job numbers have been reduced by 14 per cent.
Despite the decline in staff numbers and resources, most international indicators of efficiency in the public sector point to improvements since the recession. These include measures of health outcomes published by the Euro Health Consumer Index and of the quality of public administration compiled by the World Economic Forum.
However, these trends have had little impact on boosting trust levels in Government. The latest EU-wide Eurobarometer opinion poll taken last May and published in the report shows that only one in four people tended to trust national government. A year earlier, shortly after the current administration took office, 42 per cent of people expressed trust in government.
Trust in local Government stood at 30 per cent of those survey last May, largely unchanged on a year earlier.