Performance Report aims to stimulate debate around public funding & outcomes

14th May, 2019

Equality budgeting initiative puts focus on improving lives through targeted use of public funds


The Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform, Paschal Donohoe TD, today (Tuesday) published the Public Service Performance Report 2018.

This report, now in its third year, aims to strengthen focus on what is being delivered with public funds. Following on from the recommendations of the OECD in its ‘Review of Budget Oversight by Parliament: Ireland(November 2015), a key objective of the Report is to equip Oireachtas Committees with timely outturn information to enable them to engage in a performance dialogue with line Ministers. It is also important in stimulating public debate.  More money for Gardai should lead to improved crime detection rates and more front-line policing; more money for education should mean our children have better life chances leaving school.  These types of issues are at the heart of Performance Budgeting.

The report also includes an update on Equality Budgeting. Piloted in 2018, Equality Budgeting is being further developed to build on the momentum achieved and broaden its scope to other dimensions of equality including poverty, socioeconomic inequality and disability. Initiatives include:

  • Support for female entrepreneurs;
  • Promotion of STEM careers for women;
  • Free home energy upgrades for people with acute health problems; and
  • Making childcare more affordable.

The Department of Justice and Equality, in liaison with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform ,have commissioned the OECD to undertake a Policy Scan of Equality Budgeting in Ireland. The scan will take stock of actions taken to mainstream equality considerations as part of the Budget process. It will also provide options and recommendations on future directions for Equality Budgeting in Ireland, in light of international experience. A delegation from the OECD is expected in the coming weeks and this report is expected to be finalised by September.

On publication, Minister Donohoe said: ‘This is a very clear report which demonstrates the key outputs that have been delivered in 2018 across the diverse range of public service bodies. It will assist timely, meaningful and constructive dialogue on expenditure outputs between Government and the Oireachtas and should ensure that there is enhanced focus on the impact of public expenditure on the lives of citizens. I particularly welcome the Equality Budgeting update which reflects the work achieved to date and sets out the framework to further expand this important work. Equality Budgeting is about using the State’s resources to tackle inequality in all its various guises. As we move forward a whole-of-Government effort is required to mainstream this approach across all Departments and agencies’.

Notes for Editors

The Performance Report provides timely information on what was delivered with public funds the previous year. This creates an opportunity for meaningful dialogue between Ministers and the relevant sectoral Committees on Government performance.

Performance targets are published in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) each year. However, the timing of the publication of the REV means that outturn information for the current year is not yet available and only performance targets can be published. This report, providing timely quantitative performance data, aims to enhance the focus on performance and delivery by presenting relevant performance indicators in a dedicated and focused document.

More information than ever before is now available in relation to how public resources are allocated and utilised. A number of key milestone events facilitate the publication of detailed information during the year:

  • The Summer Economic Statement outlines the overall economic and budgetary strategy for Government, and establishes the fiscal parameters for the upcoming Budget;
  • the National Economic Dialogue facilitates a robust exchange of views from various stakeholders with the aim of highlighting economic and social priorities for the Budget;
  • the Mid-Year Expenditure Report fulfils the requirement identified by the OECD for adequate ‘no policy change’ pre-Budget information to inform budget scrutiny;
  • Allocations for the coming year are subsequently published in the Expenditure Report on Budget Day with three year multi-annual ceilings;
  • The Revised Estimates Volume, published in December, details the specifics of the coming year’s allocations and also provides the public and Oireachtas Committees with convenient ‘at-a-glance’ information on what services are being provided.