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Brendan Howlin publishes 'report cards' on all departments

An “unprecedented” amount of information on Government budgeting and targets has been released, Howlin said.

Image: Laura Hutton/Photocall Ireland

THE GOVERNMENT HAS published financial report cards on all its departments, in what Brendan Howlin called an “unprecedented” release of information.

Each department has been given a set of targets for the next year along with a list of the objectives achieved in 2011. Detailed information about budgeting and costs is also included in the 300-page dossier.

“It is not enough to know how much Departments are looking to spend,” Howlin said. “We need to know, and the public need to know, what exactly is being delivered.”

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform said the publication of the Revised Book of Estimates for 2012 would introduce “performance-based budgeting” to government. He added:

The Government is determined that every area of public service should be accountable for performance and results. This will apply to Ministers and their Departments, as well as to all Offices and Agencies.

Howlin insisted that the document would highlight Government failings as well as successes. He noted several declines that “must be addressed by public policy”, including an increase in children at risk of poverty; a rise in the number of thefts reported to gardaí, and an increase of more than one-third in the number of people sleeping rough in Dublin.

Among positive indicators noted in the document are rising export figures and an increased proportion of Ireland’s electricity generated from renewable sources.

Robert Watt, the secretary general of Howlin’s Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, said the new documents had been radically simplified and designed on a new system for greater accessibility.

Read: Full ‘report card’ on all Government departments>

More: Parts of Bord Gais and ESB to be sold off to raise €3bn>

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Michael Freeman

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