In the December 2003 Budget Statement, the then Minister for Finance announced the decentralisation of 10,300 civil and public servants from Dublin to 53 locations in 25 counties.
About a third of the target numbers – over 3,400 – have decentralised since the commencement of the Programme, the vast majority being civil servants.
While the decentralised offices account for less than 10% of serving civil service staff, taken together with the pre-existing regional and district offices of Departments the proportion of civil servants stationed outside Dublin is now just over 50%.
Staff relocation under the programme was accomplished on a voluntary basis, without payment of removal expenses or incentives. Other costs to the Departments involved were minimised through business planning, gradual transfers of staff and functions and risk management strategies.
In October 2008 implementation of the elements of the programme remaining to be completed at that time was deferred by the previous Government, pending a review in 2011 in light of budgetary developments.