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IRELAND: The Institute of Public Administration in Ireland

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IRELAND: The Institute of Public Administration in Ireland

The institute has a number of partnerships, mainly international but some domestic, for delivering the more specialised parts of its programme. These are set out below.

Third Level Education Programmes

The Institute has become a recognised college of the National University of Ireland (NUI) – Ireland’s biggest university. The qualifications gained as a result of the Institute’s programmes – from undergraduate to masters – are conferred by NUI. The Institute moved to NUI because of the clear university status of the qualifications it accredits and to avail of the networking and quality assurance framework of Ireland’s leading university.

The second major collaboration in the third level education sector is with Queens University, Belfast with which the Institute jointly offers a north-south taught doctorate. The awarding body is Queens, but the teaching is shared between Queens and the Institute. This alliance was put in place because of the Institute’s lack of experience in offering programmes at this level, and to avail of the wider expertise available to a large university like Queens.

The third education partnership is a long-standing one with the Louvain Institute for Ireland in Europe/Catholic University of Louvain. The Institute offers a programme in European studies each academic year for students from US Universities. The students are accommodated at the Louvain Institute and taught by an IPA staff member and lecturers from Louvain. The IPA staff member directs the programmes. The students also work as interns in the European Parliament. The IPA also uses the Louvain Institute and Catholic University of Louvain for shorter courses such as the Masters degree dissertation seminar.

Accountancy Programmes

The Institute has been for some time the recognised provider of training for the UK-based Chartered Institute of Public & Finance Accountants (CIPFA) in the Republic of Ireland. Courses are tailored (including the examinations) to the Irish context and are provided by Institute staff. Graduates become accountants affiliated to CIPFA. There are also shorter courses in finance and accounting offered which are accredited by CIPFA. This partnership was important in seeking to professionalize the finance function in the Irish public service.

Leadership Programmes

This partnership is with faculty members of the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard with whom the Institute has teamed up to offer leadership training to the second level in the civil service (deputy secretaries in UK terms). The programme is a 6 day programme delivered in two modules in Dublin and Boston. There is also some individual coaching between the two modules. The Institute considered it necessary for a programme aimed at such a senior level to have a highly reputable international presence in leadership as part of the programme. We would also hope to avail of skills transfers for other programmes we would deliver. The first IPA/Harvard programme is currently underway, so it’s too early to gauge its impact.

Health Programmes

The Irish health service is undergoing a major restructuring at present. The Institute has an agreement with the University of Birmingham to set up learning communities in the service. We have been unable to activate these yet until the new health system beds down. The reason for the alliance is to supplement the Institute’s own expertise in this area with that of a well regarded international player.


In general, the reason for the above partnerships is to fill gaps in the Institute’s own capability; to avail of an outside and reputable accrediting agency; or to have a prestigious international partner for services to the more senior level public servants. The benefit for the Institute is a greater range of products and, to our partners, an introduction to the Irish public service market. The partnerships generally do not have a heavy legal underpinning other than the third level education ones. Apart from its own expertise in teaching and training, the Institute brings to the partnership a particular public service and Irish slant, and our partners complement this with an international context.

The Institute’s strategy has always been to avail of suitable partnerships for the reasons given above. Obviously, new partners – particularly the Harvard partnership – bring their own style which we happily accommodate.

The above are examples of stable long term relationships we operate or plan to operate. In common with most providers, we also team up with domestic and international agencies on a case by case basis when bidding for business.


SSPA is a top-level cultural and training school for senior civil servants. It is part of the Office of the Prime Minister, with its own accounting and organisation.

Initial selection and training for new Italian executives is the most important mission for the SSPA. Training projects and activities are held in its 5 offices of Bologna (Emilia-Romagna), Rome, Caserta-Royal Palace (Campania), Reggio Calabria (Calabria) and Acireale (Sicily).
Training supplied by SSPA has profoundly changed in the last two years to develop professional skills for Government. Not only simple courses but many kinds of Masters, long professional programmemes and specialization programmemes to strengthen or redefine professional identity of individuals have been developed.

Some examples are:

  • University Master in Management of technological innovation (Bologna Office)

  • Master in Science, Technology and Innovation (Rome Office)

  • Master in New Public Management (Bologna Office)

  • Master in European Studies (Rome Office)

  • Master in Public Policies Analysis (Rome Office)

  • Master in Communication, news and relationships with the media (Rome Office)

Main Partnerships:

  • SSPA, CNEL, Court Of Accounts, National Statistic Institute, Bank of Italy, Accounting Department of Economics Ministry.
  • Consulting activities have been conducted by SSPA are for the Prime Minister's Office, Department of the Public Workplace and other parts of the public administration and agencies on reform projects, administrative innovation and training programmes.

  • Programmes use experiential learning and a problem solving approach and are based on achievement of identified needs and individually tailored programmes.

  • To strengthen its role as Centre of Excellence of scientific and cultural reform, SSPA carries out systematic research activity, both directly and in co-operation with the best Italian and international institutes and universities.

  • Research activity has increased in recent years as a result of the complexity of institutional changes and the need for a rigorous and constant assessment of the outcome of the public administration reform now in progress.

Most important in-progress research:

2 joint research projects with the London School of Economics and Political Science

Regulation of Service Industries in Europe (RePaS)

A joint research proposal by the LSE and SSPA aimed at assessing the trends and the extent of the current liberalization processes in Europe and the prospective of further liberalization in the service sector – especially in the energy industry.

The main areas of interest of RePaS Lab are:

Regulation in Europe

Public administration in Europe
The laboratory activities foresee the organisation of at least one annual seminar and the publication of working papers related to the above mentioned topics. Seminars may either take place at the parties’ headquarters or at other institutional headquarters.
PATENT - Public Administration Training European Network for the Harmonization of Training Approach

Partners: FORMEZ, SSPA, AGDP, EUROTEC, LSE, Universitè La Sorbonne, Le College d’Europe, Civil Service Office of Poland

Promote the development of common methodologies for training of European civil servants;

  • to harmonize training practises offering PA officials the opportunity to access to high quality training offers;

  • to define innovative training strategies and create new methodologies using TIC to realize the PATENT “licence” and mobility directory;

  • to give access to a wide range of learning offers and work experiences all around Europe

SSPA organizes short term training courses and study exchange visits for middle and top-level executives coming from other countries.

Senior public servants of the European Commission follow a seminar held by SSPA every year


Executive training courses on community themes and senior civil servants exchanges with France, Poland, Hungary, Russia and Germany (Bosch Foundation).

Observatory on the training needs of the Public Administration

SSPA is responsible for the Observatory on the training and qualification needs of public administration personnel, with the task of identifying and monitoring the training needs and services delivered by all public administrations, including local and public bodies.

The Report on training in Public Administrations is drafted annually. It contains data and elaborations on training activity carried out by State administrations and by other public training organisations. The Report, which is traditionally presented and circulated during the Public Administration Forum, has become an essential tool to plan and evaluate public training.

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