With the move to performance budgeting in 2012, the layout of the Estimates has changed. All expenditure is now grouped under departmental programmes which combine administrative and direct expenditure attributable to each area of activity. In the case of programme C – Reconciliation and Co-operation On This Island, the overall allocation for 2013 is €18.334 million, a slight increase on the allocation for 2012. Overall, the Estimates for 2013 published on 5 December last in respect of my Department show a reduction of some €4.1 million for Vote 28 - Foreign Affairs and Trade, compared with the allocation for 2012.
In preparing the budget, every effort was made to protect direct expenditure and the direct programme expenditure allocations, comprising €2.7 million to support the reconciliation and anti-sectarianism funds and €195,000 to support the International Fund for Ireland, remain unchanged. The particular adjustments to programme C, shown in the Estimates, are the result of an updated estimate of the administrative costs attributable to the programme in light of the experience of the first year of the operation of the new performance budgeting system.
As well as incorporating the overall reduction in administrative funding, there has been some minor redistribution of expenditure across the various administrative subheads. Taking these adjustments together, the revised administrative allocation has then been associated with the relevant programmes according to standard criteria. It is this process that has resulted in a slightly higher figure being assigned to programme C for 2013.
The Revised Estimates volume, which will be published in the coming weeks, will provide more detailed information on all expenditure. That volume will take account of the 2012 outturn and will also include a number of adjustments, often technical, that are made as part of the budgetary process.