Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Questions (151)

David Cullinane

Question:

151. Deputy David Cullinane asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the cost of the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service since its establishment to date; the staffing costs; the commissioned consultancy costs; the specific policies accepted or implemented as a result of the work of the service; the specific policy changes as a result of the work of the service; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [17225/19]

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Written answers (Question to Public)

The Irish Government Economic and Evaluation service (IGEES), established in 2012, is an integrated, cross Government service that aims to support better policy formulation and implementation in the civil service through policy analysis and evaluation. IGEES is not a standalone service. IGEES staff are an integral part of each Department, adding their skill set to the varied expertise working on policy analysis and formulation as directed by Departmental business plans.

The number of IGEES staff increased from approximately 30 in 2012 to 160 in 2018. The majority of IGEES staff are employed at Administrative Officer (AO) grade. From 2012 to 2016, costs were almost entirely related to pay - for each Department’s existing and newly recruited analysts - and formed part of each Department’s overall pay allocation as presented in the Revised Estimates Volume.

In 2017, an IGEES budget line was established to support the implementation of the IGEES Medium Term Strategy 2016-19. Total expenditure for the IGEES programme line in 2017 and 2018 was €178,111 and €156,491 respectively, while the allocation in 2019 is €350,000. The IGEES programme line supports the delivery of:

- IGEES Learning and Development Framework (accounted for just under 50% of expenditure for the period 2016-17 and delivered a wide range of training courses such as cost-benefit analysis, statistical programming, counterfactual impact evaluation etc.)

- IGEES Research Fund, which supports cross-Departmental research projects (accounted for 30% of expenditure for the period 2016-17 and co-funded two projects on housing conducted collaboratively by the Department of Housing and Department of Finance, which involved commissioning of the survey field work)

- Civil Service analytical capacity building through IGEES recruitment and IGEES internship

- IGEES events including conferences and seminars.

To date, IGEES analysts produced and published over 200 policy analysis papers across all policy areas, strengthening significantly the evidence base for policy formulation in Ireland. The papers were produced by IGEES staff, not by commissioned consultancies. IGEES resources support the on-going work of Government Departments in relation to policy analysis, evaluation and economic appraisal.

IGEES is currently working on a new Medium Term Strategy 2020 -2023. As part of this work, the OECD is carrying out a review of IGEES. The results of the review, expected in Quarter 3 of this year, will inform the development of the new IGEES Medium Term Strategy.