Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Credits not contractual

In a recent post I wondered whether the Film Board's new Project Managers would be public service employees or whether applicants would in effect be self-employed individuals contracting for the work. The advertisement for the first position appeared on Friday and it seems that the two-year contract is being offered on the basis of €60,000 per year excluding VAT.

Almost inevitably that will mean that a company will be providing the service (through a named individual) to the Irish Film Board. Doubtless there are employer savings and other employment law factors at play here which may also be 'tax beneficial' for the persons thus contracted.

That said, one has to wonder what kind of checks and balances will be maintained in areas such as potential conflicts of interest when so much of the preliminary work of the Project Managers will be conducted verbally before formal applications are sent in to the IFB.

A contact has suggested that the current CEO may be similarly contracted by the IFB through a management consultancy company set up a little more than a year ago. And the latest news that the IFB Head of Legal Affairs is to join Element Films may explain why the IFB sought tenders for the provision of legal services a few months back.

To repeat, this method of hiring expertise may be an astute way of keeping down employer costs and obligations. If it also means, however, that five of the IFB's most senior roles are not occupied by public servants or people with employees' rights and entitlements it may make it easier and more cost-effective to abolish the agency should that argument be made again.

Lastly, the address given for legal services tenders and for the Project Manager role is the IFB's Dublin address rather than the IFB's Galway HQ. Make of that what you will.


Anonymous said...

The Film Board should be in Dublin full stop. The only reason it went West is because our President had his constituency in Galway.

irish film portal said...

I'm not against the Board being based outside Dublin, wherever that may be. I think a little bit of distance from its major clients might not be a bad thing, especially now that the formal application process is going to be done online.

I do think it has been a silly waste of money carrying two offices and splitting staff between them for so many years. If the time has come to close one of them in order to save some money I'd hope the Dublin office is the one they'd shut.

Anonymous said...

it would be waste to close the Dublin office when the majority of the staff are based there and 92% of the producers and production companies the ifb deal with are in in Dublin. The Galway office runs shorts and applications then everything gets shipped to Dublin for review and meetings. The Galway office should close and I live in the west. Even when western producers have to meet the ifb its usually in Dublin. Also the ceo wouldnt move to Dublin so he needs to be in Dublin. The offices in Galway cost more to run than Dublin also. Close Galway keep Dublin open, cut staff in line with budget and hire more if they start to recoup money from projects. Michael D would be all for making savings and would agree with one office and hed be closer to it than anyone there in the Aras.

irish film portal said...

I can only presume that staff contracts allow for their deployment in either Galway or Dublin on a full-time basis, as the Board decides. It would be sheer folly were it otherwise.

I was severely taken to task several years ago when I brought up the double office issue and the expensively maintained fiction that the IFB's HQ is in Galway. It seemingly caused local political 'difficulties' in Galway.

Perhaps the IFB has been dancing to producers' tunes for long enough? Maybe it's time to remind them that they need to put their hands in their own pockets every now and then when they want a face-to-face chat to smooth the path of an application?

The IFB doesn't serve Irish producers, it serves the Irish people. The closer the IFB is to producers (and the geography is largely symbolic) the easier it is to forget this basic truth.