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Departmental Budgets

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 1 June 2021

Tuesday, 1 June 2021

Ceisteanna (419, 420)

Mark Ward

Ceist:

419. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Education the funds returned unspent to the Exchequer from her Department’s budget in each of the years 2017 to 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29597/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Mark Ward

Ceist:

420. Deputy Mark Ward asked the Minister for Education the funds returned unspent to the Exchequer from her Department and the NCSE assistive technology grant budget in each of the years 2017 to 2020, in tabular form; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [29605/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Education)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 419 and 420 together.

Details of the surplus to be surrendered from Vote 26 (Department of Education and Skills for 2017-19 and Department of Education for 2020) in respect of the amounts provided by Dáil Éireann are set out in the annual Appropriation Accounts published following audit of the accounts by the Comptroller and Auditor General. The surplus to be surrendered to the Exchequer is the amount of funds voted for the Department’s services by Dáil Éireann remaining unspent at year end and also takes account of additional income amounts received during the year. It is considered proper financial management of public voted allocations to retain a certain minimum level of contingency for surplus to surrender each year.

For the information of the Deputy the surplus surrendered by the Department of Education and Skills in each of the years 2017 to 2019 is as follows:

2017: €24.54 Million which equates to 0.3% of the voted budget for that year.

2018: €114.464 Million which equates to 1.2% of the voted budget for that year. The main reason for this surplus surrender was due to EU receipts of €109 million being received late in December 2018 that were expected to be received in January 2019.

2019: €6.263 Million which equates to 0.06% of the voted budget for that year.

The surplus for surrender for 2020 will be finalised at the conclusion of the audit of the Appropriation Account for the Department of Education. However, the provisional figure for 2020 is €138 Million, which equates to 1.6% of the voted budget for the year. This surrender arose due to the reduced costs of certain services within the schools sector due to public health restrictions in place in 2020 and some surplus on the ring-fenced Covid financial supports for schools.

While the National Council for Special Education (NCSE), through its network of Special Education Needs Officers (SENOs), is responsible for processing applications from schools for assistive technology support, the relevant funding comes from the Department’s Vote. The amounts expended in relation to the provision of assistive technology support and the variation against the amount allocated for each of the years 2017 to 2020 (figures for that year being provisional) is set out in the attached table. Any amounts remaining unspent at year end form part of the surplus surrendered to the Exchequer.

The assistive technology scheme is demand led. The Covid pandemic impacted on the amount expended on the scheme in 2020 with the number of grants paid having reduced compared to previous years.

Table:

Total

Assistive Technology

Expenditure

Allocation

Variation €

Variation %

2017

2,444,727

 See Note 1

2018

2,382,785

2,956,583

-573,798

-19%

2019

2,577,180

3,493,593

-916,413

-26%

2020 (Prov.)

2,013,236

3,498,527

-1,485,291

-42%

Note 1: In 2017, the assistive technology for pupils with special education needs allocation for the primary sector was included within an overall allocation for special educations initiatives. These initiatives included funding associated with schools for children with autism, Middletown Centre for Autism, visiting teacher service for the hearing and visually impaired and travel expenses for resource teachers. Therefore, while the 2017 assistive technology expenditure outturn is available a specific annual allocation for this year is not.

Question No. 420 answered with Question No. 419.
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