As part of the ongoing reform of Ireland’s public investment management systems, my Department has undertaken extensive work on the updating of the Public Spending Code. The purpose of this update 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. I anticipate that the revised central elements of the Public Spending Code relating to the appraisal and management of public capital projects will be published in the near future following consideration and approval by Government. Further technical guidance building upon these central elements will follow in 2020.
In the context of updating the Public Spending Code, my Department has given consideration to the potential benefits of more structured scrutiny of major public investment projects, focusing in particular on the robustness of planned delivery, accuracy of cost forecasts, and consideration of risk. My Department is developing a new governance and assurance process for major projects with an estimated cost of over €100 million. This new process is being informed by international best practice and will involve consultation with all major public sector stakeholders. It is likely to involve an independent external review of major projects at key stages, drawing from international best practice approaches, and the modalities of such an approach in an Irish context are currently receiving careful attention. The detail of the process and arrangements for implementation will be scoped and developed with a target operational date of mid-2020.