In recent years, significant reforms have been implemented to Ireland’s budgetary framework to embed sound expenditure management practice that maintains a focus on the results being achieved across the public service and the extent to which public spending is delivering on key policy objectives. Performance budgeting is a key element of this suite of expenditure reform measures.
A key aim of the performance budgeting initiative is to maximise the reporting of relevant quantitative metrics capable of being used to assess trends over time in order to underpin the scrutiny and appraisal of expenditure programmes. The performance budgeting initiative also supports another important aim: transparency and accountability to the Houses of the Oireachtas and to facilitate budget oversight by the Oireachtas.
The Performance Report provides timely information on what was delivered with public funds in the previous year. Performance targets are published in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) each December. 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.
The Performance Report is intended to supply that performance data, aiming to enhance the focus on performance and delivery by presenting relevant performance indicators in a dedicated and focused document.
The 2018 Public Service Performance Report, published in May 2019, was the third of its kind. In addition to the Performance metrics for each Vote group, the Performance Report also includes a chapter updating on the work regarding Equality Budgeting.
As this is the third edition of the Report, I have decided that this is an opportune point at which to take stock of how the Performance Budgeting initiative is developing and how it might be refined and improved. This process of internal review and reflection is currently underway and will inform how information is presented in next year's report. As part of this exercise, the recommendations of the Parliamentary Budget Office will be taken into consideration and my Department will further engage with stakeholders to identify other areas for development.