Dáil Éireann - Volume 587 - 15 June, 2004
Written Answers. - Departmental Costs.
Mr. J. Bruton Mr. J. Bruton
167. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food if his Department has achieved the target, set out in the initiation of the expenditure review initiative in 1997, that all Government expenditure be subject to a formal review under that initiative every three years; and if not, the areas of expenditure in respect of which the three yearly review has not taken place. [17573/04]
Mr. J. Bruton Mr. J. Bruton
 168. Mr. J. Bruton asked the Minister for Agriculture and Food the areas of expenditure of his Department in respect of which an expenditure review under the expenditure review initiative has not yet been completed and published. [17588/04]
Mr. Walsh Mr. Walsh
Mr. Walsh: I propose to take Questions Nos. 167 and 168 together.
The initial target of the expenditure review initiative, ERI, was to review all expenditure programmes over a three year period. However, a review of the process by the Department of Finance expenditure review central steering committee in 2000-2001 found that this target had been over ambitious and a more focused approach to the selection of review topics was required. This view was supported by a Comptroller and Auditor General value for money study of the ERI in 2001 which proposed that a more realistic target should be set that took into account the level of evaluative capacity in Departments generally.
In June 2001 the Government decided, inter alia, that the Department of Finance and individual Departments-offices should compile and agree a work plan of review topics based on specific selection criteria, i.e. that programmes selected for review should reflect Government priorities or strategic result areas, involve significant levels of expenditure, etc. Subsequently, in May 2002, the Government approved a schedule of expenditure review topics proposed for the first year of the next three-year planning horizon, 2002-04, and noted the topics proposed for 2003 and 2004. In April 2003, the ERCSC asked Departments and offices to update their expenditure review plans, again in consultation with the Department of Finance. The committee emphasised the Government’s selection criteria and advised that Departments and offices should select a small number of programmes areas involving major policy issues or significant levels of expenditure. On foot of this process, revised expenditure review plans were drawn up by Departments offices.
In the light of what I have outlined, my Department has undertaken a total of 12 expenditure reviews in the areas listed. The position in regard to these is as follows:
 The completed expenditure reviews are currently being considered for publication.
Dáil Éireann 587 Written Answers. Departmental Costs.