The Public Spending Code is the set of rules and procedures that are in place to support public bodies in achieving value for money as they implement all projects, including major projects, through the course of the project’s lifecycle. Each project works through a lifecycle from project identification, appraisal/business case, planning & design, procurement, implementation, to review.
The project is assessed by the Sponsoring Agency, i.e. the body delivering the project, throughout to ensure it represents value for money. At key designated stages in the lifecycle, the body funding the project, i.e. the Sanctioning Authority, is responsible for approving whether or not the project can move to the next stage in the lifecycle.
As part of the ongoing reform of Ireland’s capital management systems, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is reviewing the Public Spending Code. The purpose of this review is to strengthen the existing guidance to better align with the realities of project delivery and with a particular focus on improved appraisal, cost estimation and management. The Office of Government Procurement is also conducting a review of construction procurement which will align with the updated Public Spending Code.
The following reforms will be considered and implemented as part of the review:
- Strengthen and harmonise capital appraisal guidance;
- Greater clarity on governance and roles and responsibilities, particular in terms of who is the Sanctioning Authority and who is the Sponsoring Agency for major projects;
- Introduce new mechanisms to improve the accuracy of cost estimates;
- Improve project life cycle to better reflect the realities of project delivery; and
- Complement the Project Ireland 2040 Capital Tracker in monitoring projects and costs.
The revised central elements of the Public Spending Code relating to the appraisal and management of public capital projects will be published this summer. Further technical guidance building upon these central elements will follow in the second half of 2019 and in 2020.