Department-Agency Relations - Performance, Assurance and Autonomy [Online]

25 February 2021



Online booking for this event has now closed

Please email for further assistance

The relationship between government departments and their state bodies and other aegis entities is critically important to ensure the efficient and effective delivery of government priorities and services, and joined-up thinking. But these ‘vertical’ relationships are also mirrored between state bodies and agencies and other third party entities, for example where an agency provides funding to a not-for-profit or public benefit entity. Matters of performance, assurance and accountability will necessarily be to the fore in these relationships. In return for funding and support, departments or funders want to ensure that there is strategic alignment with their strategic priorities, that the entity is focused on delivering and can attest to performance, and that public money is safeguarded through appropriate controls and good governance practices.

At this Forum event, we will take time to reflect on what makes for a good working relationship between Department and Bodies /Agencies (or equivalent). Key questions to be considered at the event will include:

For this highly topical and important theme, we are very pleased to have available to us a range of key practitioners to share their insights and perspectives on the topic and we look forward, as always, to a healthy engagement and a very productive and valuable session


Greg Dempsey

Greg is Deputy Secretary General at the Department of Health, with responsibility for the Governance and Performance Division. This includes, inter alia, leading, managing and overseeing the Department’s relationship with the HSE, co-ordination of the Department’s oversight of its agencies, and the NTPF. He also has responsibility for Scheduled and Unscheduled Care, Clinical Indemnity, and strategic management of the Health Capital & Major Infrastructure Budget.  

Greg previously worked in the Department of Finance and Central bank, as well as with Irish and international Financial Services firms.

Anna Shakespeare

Anna is Chief Executive of Pobal, having been appointed to the position in August 2019. Pobal distributes just under €750 million per annum to local and national community-based organisations, managing and administering programmes on behalf of four government departments as well as EU special bodies.

Anna has 35 years’ experience comprising frontline, clinical, policy making, senior management and executive positions within the community, voluntary, and statutory mental health and social care services in Ireland and the UK and in government. She has served as a Board member on both Statutory and Voluntary Boards, and is currently a member of the Governing Body of Dundalk Institute of Technology and a volunteer Director of Drogheda Women and Children’s Refuge and StepIn Supported Living Network.

Doncha O'Sullivan

Doncha is Assistant Secretary at the Department of Justice, with responsibility for Criminal Justice Governance and EU Affairs. The former responsibility includes oversight of a range of criminal justice state bodies under the aegis of the Department, including An Garda Síochána, the Policing Authority, the Criminal Assets Bureau, and the Irish Prison Service. Doncha is also a member of the Board of the Courts Service.