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Departmental Functions

Dáil Éireann Debate, Tuesday - 27 July 2021

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

Ceisteanna (470)

Neasa Hourigan

Ceist:

470. Deputy Neasa Hourigan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform his Department’s role in the collection of disaggregated data as it relates to Government spending. [40099/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Public)

Performance budgeting was introduced in 2011 as part of a suite of reforms to the public expenditure framework and involves the routine use of performance information alongside financial details as part of the budget process. 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 annual Public Service Performance Report seeks to present this information in a clear and accessible way in order to increase transparency and accountability.

Building on this progress, my Department successfully applied for funding to develop the Performance Budgeting Framework and systems under the EU Structural Reform Support Programme. This project incorporates all elements of Performance Budgeting, including Equality Budgeting and Green Budgeting, and also has linkages with the development of the Well-being Framework. The project is underway and focuses on key priorities such as improving the IT framework for Performance Budgeting and increased “tagging” of expenditure.

In 2019, my Department, in liaison with the Department of Justice and Equality, commissioned the OECD to undertake a Policy Scan of Equality Budgeting in Ireland. This was published in tandem with Budget 2020. The report reviews Ireland’s equality budgeting programme and provides recommendations on its further development, in light of international experience.

One of the recommendations of the OECD Policy Scan relates to the development of an equality data strategy to further bolster the impact of Equality Budgeting. Monitoring and reporting from a given dimension of equality is only possible if the necessary disaggregated data is available. With this in mind, the CSO has conducted a data audit to evaluate the quality of existing administrative datasets from an equality perspective. This audit was guided by a sub-group of the Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group, and a report was published in October 2020. This will inform future work in relation to an equality data strategy.

Detailed information on the allocations to each Vote is also published in the Revised Estimates for Public Services (REV) in December of each year, which breaks down funding allocated by programme and subhead. This publication also includes information on key outputs and activities and on context and impact indicators to provide information on performance.

Additionally, to provide greater transparency to the wider society in relation to public expenditure issues, a breakdown of expenditure data by Department can be found on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s databank, which can be found at databank.per.gov.ie. This website provides detail on expenditure back to 1994. Further to this, data visualisations of gross expenditure from 2011 to date are available on whereyourmoneygoes.gov.ie.

In addition to the data provided as part of the whole of year Estimates process, the Open Data Unit in my Department also provides information via the national Open Data Portal. The portal manages over 12,000 datasets created by 145 public sector bodies who publish their data to the portal. The Open Data Unit provides this forum for publishing non-personal data at its most granular level in a non-proprietary format, with an open data licence (CC-BY 4.0). The data is provided with explanatory metadata - allowing free re-use by all. However, it does not create or store this data, but provides training, organisational and technical support to public bodies, where necessary. Ireland’s Open Data Portal is recognised as a leader in the EU and OECD and the Open Data Unit can facilitate requests for data from members of the public.

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