What’s New in the Code

The Public Spending Code builds upon some long-established elements of the VFM arrangements that have been in place in Irelandover many years. It consolidates material from a number of sources including the Capital Appraisal Guidelines 2005, as expanded in subsequent Circulars and advice notes. It brings together all of the previous advisory material, to bring procedures up to speed with best national and international practice, and to strengthen procedures so that citizens can be assured they are getting the best value for scarce public funds.

The Public Spending Code introduces a new principle of / participation with stakeholders. This will involve a process of engagement with consultation stakeholders in other Departments as well as experts from academia. It is envisaged that the new Public Service Evaluation Network will be consulted on the proposed revisions in the new year, prior to the material becoming binding via a new Circular from this Department.

In this regard some elements of the Code are flagged as consultative drafts and the main new elements are:

  • The Public Spending Code brings current expenditure under a similar regime to that which previously only formally applied to capital
  • A new simplified QA process replaces the existing spot-check regime which will also involve publication of all procurements and publication of annual QA reports.
  • It is proposed to reduce the threshold for conducting CBA’s from €30m to €20m
  • In future CBAs will be sent to the CEEU for review prior to Approval in Principle by the Sanctioning Authority. The CEEU will review the CBA and will publish their review on their website.
  • The VFM Policy Review process is being streamlined and aligned with the ‘Whole of Year’ budgetary timetable.
  • A Balanced Scorecard is proposed for VFM Policy Reviews to bring consistency and comparability
  • Technical guidance and parameter values are being updated.