Expenditure programmes are subject to review under the established system of Value for Money and Policy Reviews (VFMs). Departments subject major blocks of expenditure to rigorous evaluation over a 3-year cycle. By systematically analysing the performance of programmes, these reviews provide evidence to support more informed decisions about priorities between and within expenditure programmes. These evaluations are intended to be important sources of evidence for the Comprehensive Reviews of Expenditure. Each Department prepares a multi-annual VFM schedule, agreed with the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform, providing for review of strategic programmes over a three-year period. These programmes are agreed by Government.
Focused Policy Assessments (FPAs) are designed to answer specific issues of policy configuration and delivery. These can address cross cutting issues and evaluations of a discrete expenditure programme by reference to one or more evaluation criteria. FPAs provide an evaluation tool for Government Departments.
In addition to evaluations carried out under the VFMR Initiative, Government Departments conduct a range of other evaluations including ex-ante and ex-post evaluation of programmes which can be found in this section.
Expenditure Reviews provide an examination of all areas of public expenditure by Government Departments in a process led by D/PER. Departments build on the evaluation carried out internally, and supported by IGEES members in the Departments, on how well programmes are working, expenditure is being managed, the challenges and pressures that are likely to arise in the medium term, and reforms to be carried out to manage these pressures. The purpose is to support the Government’s deliberations in setting multi-annual expenditure ceilings. The Expenditure Reviews provide Government with the opportunity to examine how public resources have been used, to set out how public resources could be used – to prioritise – and to examine where new spending proposals can be accommodated within existing budgets. The evaluation/policy analysis papers presented here were carried out by IGEES members in the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform as an input into expenditure review processes.