The Department of Public Expenditure & Reform is responsible for policy on allocating public funds across each area of Government spending and ensuring that expenditure is managed in line with these allocations by the Government Departments and key State agencies. In 2016, public expenditure under the control of the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform amounts to €55.3 billion (this figure covers all voted current and capital spending by Government Departments and agencies, including spending from the Social Insurance Fund, but does not include non-voted spending directly from the Central Fund such as debt-servicing costs etc).
- Summary statistics on the levels of public expenditure over the years are available here.
- A Databank giving access to detailed information on expenditure trends across each area of public spending is available here.
- The first Comprehensive Review of Expenditure (CRE) was carried out in 2011. The outcome of that process was reflected in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012 – 2014 which was published in December 2011 in conjunction with Budget 2012. This Report was informed by a Comprehensive Review of Expenditure and includes proposals for significant reform of the expenditure process.
- A second CRE was published in October 2014 and updates the multi-annual expenditure ceilings for the three year period 2015 – 2017.
- Interim Expenditure Reports setting out expenditure ceilings along with expenditure estimates are published as part of the budget documentation.
- In parallel with the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure, the Department led a Government wide review of the Exchequer Capital Programme in 2011. This led to a reprioritisation of capital investment and the publication of “Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2012-2016: Medium Term Exchequer Framework” Additional Exchequer capital investment was announced in June 2013 – details available here.
- In September 2015 the Department published a new Capital plan covering the period to 2021 Building on Recovery: Infrastructure and Capital Investment 2016-2021. Over the next six years, the exchequer will be investing €27 billion to create new assets and maintain and enhance our existing infrastructure.
Each year, the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform produces Estimates of Expenditure setting out the Government’s proposed allocations for each Department and a number of the main State agencies. The Budget Estimates are produced as part of the annual Budget-day documentation and a further detailed breakdown of the proposed allocations is presented in the Revised Estimates Volume (REV) which is published and discussed at the Dáil Select Committees before being brought back to the Dáil for Vote.
- The REV for 2016 and previous years are available here.
The REV provides details of the expenditure allocations for the 41 individual “Votes”, covering all of the Government Departments and many of the key State agencies. The data for each of the votes is presented at programme and subhead level which is further enhanced by the introduction and development of performance budgeting. Consideration is given to each of the estimates by a relevant Dáil Select Committee. When the estimate for each of the votes is brought back to Dáil Éireann the individual allocations are authorised or voted by the Dáil. The amounts voted by the Dáil in this way – including any “Supplementary Estimates” that may need to be passed during the year – are formally authorised into law by the annual Appropriation Act for the year.
- Full details on the Estimates process, along with the formal financial principals and procedures for authorising and overseeing expenditure, are set out in the Public Financial Procedures.
The Government publishes Exchequer Statements each month which sets out Central Government (voted and non-voted) current and capital account receipts and expenditure along with tax and non-tax revenue receipts.
Each year the Department of Finance prepares detailed Finance Accounts of the Central Fund for the previous year. These are the most comprehensive set of accounts published by the Government and include, in summary form, information on almost every aspect of Government operations.
As part of the European semester, each Member State must submit to the European Commission in April of each year a Stability Programme Update (SPU), together with policy priorities for growth and employment for the following year. The European Council and the Council of Ministers provide recommendations on fiscal policy planning before key decisions are taken on national budgets for the following years. The publication of the SPU forms part of the common budgetary process for EU Member States, underpinned by the introduction of the so called “two-pack” regulation. The two-pack sets out the budgetary cycle for Member States whereby draft budgets for the following year must be published by 15 October with a formal ratification of the budget by 31 December.