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Ireland

Enhance Fiscal Transparency (IE0042)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Ireland National Action Plan 2016-2018

Action Plan Cycle: 2016

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Support Institution(s): All government departments and public bodies

Policy Areas

Fiscal Transparency

IRM Review

IRM Report: Ireland End-of-Term Report 2016-2018, Ireland Mid-Term Report 2016-2018

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: No

Relevant to OGP Values: Not Relevant

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

To introduce Performance Reports on government expenditure, which will show what is achieved with the resources allocated to each spending programme. Objective: To support better resource allocation decision making, and improve people’s understanding of what resources are available and the costs over time, of the various choices involved in public spending. Status quo: Fiscal transparency has been advanced recently by the creation of the website whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie which tries to make it easier to understand Government spending on public services. The performance budgeting initiative aims to strengthen focus on what is being delivered through that spending on public services and to build this information into the policy-making and accountability processes. At its core it is concerned with ensuring that policy development and resource allocation decisions are better informed. The introduction of the initiative laid the foundation for a more systematic engagement by parliamentarians and the public on the impact of public policies and on resource allocation decisions. The initiative has been subject to ongoing review since its introduction, and has evolved considerably over the last number of years. One of the most significant developments has been the reformatting of the Revised Estimates Volume (REV), published each December, to include performance information. Following the publication of REV 2016, a detailed review was carried out of the performance information provided and detailed feedback was provided to the main Government Departments. A comprehensive guidance note was also developed to assist Departments in selecting and reporting on appropriate performance indicators. Ambition: To provide greater transparency on resource allocation and related public policy decisions and to strengthen focus on what is being delivered through public services, with public funds. Lead implementing organisations: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Timeline: January 2017 to June 2018.
Commitment 9: Enhance Fiscal Transparency OGP values Public accountability. New or ongoing commitment Ongoing Lead implementation organisations Department of Public Expenditure and Reform Other actors involved - government All government departments and public bodies Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start date End date The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has proposed to submit a Performance Report to the Oireachtas by end Quarter One each year, starting in 2017. This report will provide information on the performance of each Vote and the linkages between results and allocated resources. It is intended that this will allow for meaningful engagement between the Oireachtas and Government Departments on resource allocation and public policy decisions. New January 2017 June 2018.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

9. Enhance Fiscal Transparency

Commitment Text:

Objective: To support better resource allocation decision making, and improve people’s understanding of what resources are available and the costs over time, of the various choices involved in public spending.

Status quo: Fiscal transparency has been advanced recently by the creation of the website whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie which tries to make it easier to understand Government spending on public services. The performance budgeting initiative aims to strengthen focus on what is being delivered through that spending on public services and to build this information into the policy-making and accountability processes. At its core it is concerned with ensuring that policy development and resource allocation decisions are better informed.

The introduction of the initiative laid the foundation for a more systematic engagement by parliamentarians and the public on the impact of public policies and on resource allocation decisions.

The initiative has been subject to ongoing review since its introduction, and has evolved considerably over the last number of years. One of the most significant developments has been the reformatting of the Revised Estimates Volume (REV), published each December, to include performance information. Following the publication of REV 2016, a detailed review was carried out of the performance information provided and detailed feedback was provided to the main Government Departments.

A comprehensive guidance note was also developed to assist Departments in selecting and reporting on appropriate performance indicators.

Ambition: To provide greater transparency on resource allocation and related public policy decisions and to strengthen focus on what is being delivered through public services, with public funds.

Milestone:

9.1. The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has proposed to submit a Performance Report to the Oireachtas by end Quarter One each year, starting in 2017. This report will provide information on the performance of each Vote and the linkages between results and allocated resources. It is intended that this will allow for meaningful engagement between the Oireachtas and Government Departments on resource allocation and public policy decisions.

Responsible institution: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Supporting institutions: All government departments and supporting bodies

Start date: January 2017

End date: June 2018

Context and Objectives

In Ireland, the public can see how the state allocates its funds on the ‘Where Your Money Goes’ website, a portal on government spending on public resources. [Note: Available here: http://www.whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie. ] However, the website lacks information on the performance of government expenditure, or what exactly is being delivered with public funds. This commitment aims to develop a Performance Report to be presented to the Oireachtas (the Irish parliament) by Q1 of each year (starting in 2017) that will provide information on the performance of all the gross spending by government departments and agencies, and the links between the results and allocated resources.

The commitment text as written does not explicitly state that the proposed Performance Report to be presented to parliament will also be made public. Therefore, its OGP value relevance, prima facie, is unclear. However, DPER ultimately published the Performance Report in April 2017 (as explained below in the Completion section), and the information presented to parliament was also made available to the public. The upcoming IRM End of Term Report (which focuses on outcomes of the commitment from implementation as opposed to the commitment design) will reflect this improvement in access to information. While the commitment calls for a verifiable deliverable (the Performance Report) with a specific timeline for the reports to be presented to parliament, the actual contents of the reports are unclear (besides the vague ‘linkages between results and allocated resources’). Thus, the specificity is marked as low. If fully implemented, the commitment could lead to greater transparency in government expenditures, but without guaranteed public scrutiny of the reports, and without a clearly defined mechanism by which citizens can express concerns over the resource allocation, the potential impact is minor.

Completion

The progress made on this commitment has been substantial and it is on schedule. In April 2017, the Minister of DPER, Paschal Donohoe, published the 2016 Public Services Report on the DPER website, focusing on the results delivered in terms of outputs for the following expenditure areas: Social Protection, Health, Education, Justice, Transport, Agriculture, Defence, Enterprise & Innovation, Foreign Affairs, Finance, Climate Action & Environment, and Arts.[Note: This can be found at: http://www.per.gov.ie/en/new-performance-report-will-support-policy-making-increase-awareness-and-enhance-parliamentary-engagement-donohoe/. ] The report provides detailed analysis of expenditures in key budgetary areas such as health. As an example, we see that 16,313 children aged 24 months received the MMR vaccine, which, in terms of impact, represents 92.5 percent of children within this age group. In other cases, however, the data falls short. For example, while it is reported that EUR 43.2 million has been spend on Environment and Waste Management, mostly related to projects supporting waste remediation, it is difficult to assess the impact of this and whether or not more should have been spent.

Early Results
Though not explicitly guaranteed in the commitment, DPER made the 2016 Public Services Report available to the public. This represents a positive step towards greater transparency on resource allocation in Ireland, though an update of the information in the report by civil society or citizens has yet to be seen.
Next Steps

This is an ongoing commitment and, consistent with the statements made in July 2017 by the Secretary General of DPER Robert Watt to the Public Accounts Committee, it is hoped that the report will ‘creat(e) space for enhanced dialogue and more effective parliamentary engagement.’[Note: Watt, Robert, ‘Opening Statement,’ Public Accounts Committee, 6 July 2017, https://www.oireachtas.ie/parliament/media/committees/pac/correspondence/2017meetings/meeting45-06072017/PAC32-R-666-A---DPER-Opening-Statement-060717.pdf. ] Given its level of completion, it is not necessary to include this commitment in the next action plan. However, the IRM researcher recommends modifying the commitment to consider how the information used in these reports is deliberated on by citizens, to feed into potential consultations regarding the development of future budgets.

IRM End of Term Status Summary


Ireland's Commitments

  1. Promote Transparent Climate Policy Development

    IE0031, 2016, Environment and Climate

  2. Support Public Participation Networks

    IE0032, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Improve Access to Justice: Reducing Costs

    IE0033, 2016, Judiciary

  4. Improve Access to Justice: Framework to Assist Vulnerable Persons

    IE0034, 2016, Judiciary

  5. Improve Access to Justice: Oversight of Legal Practitioners

    IE0035, 2016, Justice

  6. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: General

    IE0036, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Enhance Citizen Engagement in Policy Making: Youth

    IE0037, 2016, Marginalized Communities

  8. Enhance Customer Engagement

    IE0038, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Improve Access To Government Services Through Technology

    IE0039, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Participatory Budgeting

    IE0040, 2016, Participation in Budget Processes

  11. Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers

    IE0041, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  12. Enhance Fiscal Transparency

    IE0042, 2016, Fiscal Transparency

  13. Introduce Modern Document Management Procedures

    IE0043, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  14. Develop an Open Data Strategy 2017-2020

    IE0044, 2016, E-Government

  15. Invest in Data Infrastructure that will result in better Open Data

    IE0045, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  16. Starred commitment Develop a Code of Practice for the Governance of Charities

    IE0046, 2016,

  17. Starred commitment Public Sector Standards Bill

    IE0047, 2016, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  18. Establish a Register of Beneficial Ownership

    IE0048, 2016, Asset Disclosure

  19. Establishment of best practice standards for Open Data

    IE0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  20. Establishment of Ireland’s Open Data Platform

    IE0002, 2014, E-Government

  21. Undertake an audit of key datasets for publication

    IE0003, 2014, Open Data

  22. Establish a roadmap for the Open Data and an evaluation framework to provide assessment of the ongoing Open Data

    IE0004, 2014, Open Data

  23. Establishment of an Open Data Ireland Governance Board (ODIGB) and Steering and Implementation Group (SIG) for Open Data Ireland

    IE0005, 2014, Open Data

  24. Signing up to the G8 Open Data Charter

    IE0006, 2014, Open Data

  25. Implementing Open Data

    IE0007, 2014, Open Data

  26. Improve computer literacy through implementation of proposed new Digital Strategy for Schools

    IE0008, 2014, Capacity Building

  27. Review national and international practice to develop revised principles / code for public engagement/consultation with citizens, civil society and others by public bodies.

    IE0009, 2014, Public Participation

  28. Starred commitment Hold referenda arising from the recommendations of the Constitutional Convention

    IE0010, 2014, Gender

  29. Starred commitment Ethics Reform

    IE0011, 2014, Conflicts of Interest

  30. Strengthening Freedom of Information - Implement the Code of Practice for Freedom of Information (FOI).

    IE0012, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  31. Reform of FOI

    IE0013, 2014, Capacity Building

  32. Starred commitment Regulation of Lobbying

    IE0014, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  33. Starred commitment Encourage, Protect and Raise Awareness of Whistleblower Duties and Protections

    IE0015, 2014, Whistleblower Protections

  34. MEASURES TO INCREASE CITIZEN PARTICIPATION IN DECISION MAKING ON POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE PROPOSALS. Systemic pre-legislative scrutiny of draft bills

    IE0016, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  35. Develop and deliver access to environmental information (AIE) training module for public officials

    IE0017, 2014, Capacity Building

  36. INCREASE CITIZEN PARTICIPATION AT LOCAL LEVEL. Pilot approach to implementation of Public Participation Networks

    IE0018, 2014, Private Sector

  37. Provide legal base for public participation framework in local government

    IE0019, 2014, Capacity Building

  38. Undertake a feasibility study on possible means of enabling further citizen engagement in local authority budgetary processes

    IE0020, 2014, Participation in Budget Processes

  39. SUPPORT CHILDREN AND YOUNG PEOPLE AS CITIZENS. Develop, finalise and publish the first Government Strategy on children and young people's participation in decision-making.

    IE0021, 2014, Capacity Building

  40. Maximise participation and understanding of young people in civic life

    IE0022, 2014, Capacity Building

  41. Development of an ICT Strategy

    IE0023, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  42. Data sharing and governance bill

    IE0024, 2014, E-Government

  43. Public Services Card

    IE0025, 2014, E-Government

  44. Single Customer View

    IE0026, 2014, E-Government

  45. Local Government Portal

    IE0027, 2014, E-Government

  46. New Local Enterprise Offices

    IE0028, 2014, Public Service Delivery

  47. Review and enhancement of complaints procedures and using feedback to improve services across the public service; A review of citizen complaints procedures will be undertaken.

    IE0029, 2014, Public Participation

  48. Enhance customer engagement

    IE0030, 2014, Public Participation