The budget is key to decisions on how national resources are allocated.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) emphasises parliament’s role in the budget scrutiny process:
“…national parliament has a fundamental role in the authorising budget decisions and in holding government to account…"
OECD Recommendation of the Council on Budgetary Governance (2015)
The adoption of Dáil Standing Order 186A established the Committee on Budgetary Oversight on 21 July 2016 to enhance the level of participation by the Oireachtas in the budget scrutiny process.
The committee can achieve this by:
- Carrying out ex-ante (before the event) scrutiny of revenue and expenditure options before the budget
- Carrying out ex-post (after the event) scrutiny to evaluate budget measures or to assess how budgeted spend or revenue projections compare with outturns
- Monitoring macroeconomic developments and fiscal risks
- Engaging with the Irish Fiscal Advisory Council (IFAC) to receive its regular fiscal assessments
- Preparing a pre-budget report each year
The committee’s budget scrutiny process is also informed by evidence-based research and analysis carried out by the independent Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). The PBO was established following a recommendation made in the OCED Review of budget oversight by parliament: Ireland (November 2015).