If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello All, This is just a friendly reminder to read the Forum Charter where you wish to post before posting in it. :)
Hi all, The AutoSave Draft feature is now disabled across the site. The decision to disable the feature was made via a poll last year. The delay in putting it in place was due to a bug/update issue. This should serve as a reminder to manually save your drafts if you wish to keep them. Thanks, The Boards Team.
Hello all! This is just a quick reminder to ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere.

What does the Secretary General of the health department do all day, anyway?

  • 26-01-2022 6:38pm
    Registered Users Posts: 2,916 ✭✭✭ Shelga

    I genuinely have no idea. Anyone?

    Robert Watt gets paid €294,920 for his services in this role anyway. So I'd like to apply! :D

    What's the difference between his role and Paul Reid? Whose salary is even more eye-watering, at €420k.

    Seriously, how does one get into these roles?!



  • Registered Users Posts: 77,472 ✭✭✭✭ JP Liz V1

    The top civil servant in the Department of Health has confirmed he has taken an €81,000 pay increase.

    Robert Watt had come under pressure in recent days to clarify whether he is now taking the pay hike which was controversially awarded to him when he was appointed secretary-general in the Department of Health last year.

    The pay bump brought his salary to €292,000, however, Mr Watt had temporarily waived the increase.

    The Irish Examiner this week revealed that Mr Watt received a further rise of nearly €3,000 last October, meaning his salary now stands at €294,920.

    The Examiner

    It is astonishing pay not sure what he does

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,189 ✭✭✭ Brucie Bonus

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,448 ✭✭✭ gifted

    His salary is what it is...its the pay increase that is involved....awful amount for a pay increase.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 15,527 ✭✭✭✭ Spanish Eyes

    What does the Minister do? Tell Watt the policies the Minister/Gov want, then Watt drafts legislation, the Dail debates it and passes it, and the HSE implements it?

    Sounds doable alright. But we all know the Yes Ministers run the country don't they?

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,746 ✭✭✭ Andrea B.

    What does he do all day?


    1 minute =€3.15

    2 minute = another €3.15

  • Registered Users Posts: 24,514 ✭✭✭✭ Mrs OBumble

    The increase would probably pay for 1 FTE nurse, once training and materials ate considered. Its trivial compared to the health budget. And 50% will be paid back in tax.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,746 ✭✭✭ Andrea B.

    It is not about triviality wrt to the health budget.

    It, like the salaries (and allowances) of many heads in the public funds trough, is an insult to the rest of us.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 261 ✭✭ Madeoface

    420k for Paul Reid? Really? To read out stats and repeat what NPHET said for months? To flunk the contact tracing system and produce 'guidance' on the hse website that is beyond belief and contradictory.

    Myself, my kids primary school office and a neighbour all rang the hse helpline on a query to do with primary school kids, positive cases in a home and isolating, and we got 3 different answers. Same old hse.

    I went to a 'leadership' conference Reid was speaking at years ago. He was highlighting his private sector (telecom eireann monopoly) experience and how he'd change the public sector. Must have been ten years ago....I'd love to hear what he actually delivered in changes cos the health system is as bad as ever. Total Jack Pallancer from what I can see.

  • Registered Users Posts: 3,249 ✭✭✭ boardise

    430K out at about 20,000 per apology for service foul-ups and executive delinquencies every year.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,790 ✭✭✭ salonfire

    The salaries are managed by Finance/Public Expenditure, not Health and not the HSE. Managing staff salaries and balancing staff costs and budgets to staff demands is a huge part of any organization these don't have to deal with. Since such a huge tasks is not their responsibility, why are they getting paid so much?

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,420 ✭✭✭ StupidLikeAFox

    The question you should be asking is what metrics is he scored on because he absolutely has targets and objectives. If you know what they are, whether they are appropriate and whether he is achieving/exceeding them you might be on to something.

  • where does this rank amongst the remuneration packages in the country?

    is it in the top 100 would we say, when stocks and bonuses and cars and perks are taken into account?

    the head of any govt department will have a significant profile of achievement to be in the running at all for what is a demanding public role.

    those that could do it for that money are often doing a lot more damaging things for the country for a lot more money

    those that think they could do it for any money but who can't even list the basic responsibilities of the job- but are all too happy to show their arses and their ignorance on a public sector thread yet again- well I think anyone can draw their own conclusions there

    whether watt is worth the job or the money is of course a matter of opinion- whether the head of a government department should be in the 220k range (the bonus flung on to health is a funny one, no doubt) shouldn't be.

    whether an individual took up his salary package as set out in the terms of his employment shouldn't imo be a headline and it's pretty dodgy stuff for ministers to be making a headline of it.

    every minister should be as quick to give us a run down of their assets and wealth and all their incomes besides before they make comment on the salaries of public servants

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,916 ✭✭✭ Shelga

    I was genuinely bemused when I posted originally- I really don’t know what this job role is, that’s all! Anyway someone has provided a job description, so thank you :D

    I know that salary packages have to be attractive to get the best people at the top, but I think another poster hit the nail on the head when he/she stated that it’s more that we have no idea what the targets are, or how their performance is evaluated, to justify these salaries. People certainly do not feel like they are getting value for money with our health service, and rightly or wrongly, these headlines are a sign of that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,593 ✭✭✭ HerrKuehn

    I suppose the issue comes from the fact that the head of NHS earns about half what Paul Reid does. That is a much larger organisation in a country with much higher paid executives in private industry.

    Do we have any indication that consulting firms are head hunting the CEOs of county councils at that sort of salary range? I would be very surprised if that was the case. I think we would all like to know how we got to the point where the answer to the issues in the HSE, with a spend of 20bn a year, is the CEO of Fingal county council? Maybe the salary is reasonable for the right person, but it seems we always hire people who are on the upper PS/state board/quango merry go round, the Angela Kerrin's of the Irish Labor market. Maybe part of the hiring process is making sure the person "knows how things work in the PS" or "knows not to upset the apple cart"?

    We have been doing it this way for a long time and the state fails miserably at anything that involves providing a service in a reasonable time frame to end users. When you finally get an appointment in a hospital, you often end up arriving at a "clinic", take a ticket and you realise that 50 other people also had a 9:30 am appointment. Do you ever go to a private dentist at 9:30 and find that 50 people are there already waiting with their tickets? No, of course not, because you wouldn't accept that if you were paying for it directly.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 23,921 ✭✭✭✭ AndrewJRenko

    The SG is the Accounting Officer for the Dept, so he is responsible to the Oireachtas for every cent spent. Yes, DPER sets overall salary policy, but Dept Health would lead on major sectoral issues, like the GP contract and the consultant contract. They would have substantial input into overall salary policy and negotiations for nurses’ salaries and more.

    Again, I’ve no idea why you’re comparing against such different roles in the private sector. The Dept is responsible for the largest employer in the country and hundreds of thousands of indirectly employed staff. They are the lead on Covid response (CMO, NPHET, NIAC), on healthcare, social care, disability services, rehab services and lots, lots more. It really doesn’t compare well to making widgets or selling phones.

    Having said that, the salary increase just for Watt is indefensible. Everyone in Health should be banging on the door for a corresponding increase.

  • Posts: 0 [Deleted User]

    I have no idea what Watt does to earn almost 300,000 euros but I suppose he compared himself to Paul Reid.

    He doesnt draft legislation though, the staff of the Attorney Generals Office do that.

    I dont know who Paul Reid was benchmarked against as he earns far more than the head of the NHS,surely this is wrong.

  • Registered Users Posts: 23,060 ✭✭✭✭ Dyr

    Lads, they're worth exactly what we pay them. The Irish taxpayer is so complacent that he doesnt really care if he's being fleeced. The press sure arent going to shine a light into this because they're doing nicely too.

    You get the civil service that you deserve.

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,495 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    Watt previously worked in Department of Public Expenditure.

    Before moving to his current role in Department of Health, he approved a salary increase for the role in Department of Health, which he would later move to. He effectively set his own salary, then jumped to that new job. Snouts in the trough doesnt even begin to describe it.

    Mr Watt’s salary is especially controversial as, in his previous role as secretary general of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, he was central to the design of the new pay package.

  • Registered Users Posts: 562 ✭✭✭ Packrat

    So your solution to clearly excessive salaries in the public "service" is more excessive salaries in the public service?

    What do You do yourself for a living may I ask?

    Public "service" a possibility?

    Don't piss on my head and try to tell me it's raining...

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,748 ✭✭✭ Firblog

    What really sticks in my craw with the remuneration the upper levels of the public service receive is the pensions; they should be limited to the average wage of people in the private sector, if you don't think that's enough to live on in retirement then either contribute to a private pension yourself or come up with ways to improve the average wage of private workers.

  • bloody save draft function put in the wrong quote and now it won't delete, ffs

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭ StevenToast

    Do people in this thread realise Ryan Tubridy is on 500k...

    Thats where your anger should be....

    "Don't piss down my back and tell me it's raining." - Fletcher

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,495 ✭✭✭ timmyntc

    He's on 500k as a contractor and "entertainer"

    I dont think he's worth it, but its far less of an insult to the taxpayer than a public servant getting 300k per annum, an 80k increase from previously - and not only that, but it was him in his previous role at Dept of Expenditure that set the 80k pay increase for his now current job!