FAQ

1. What is Ireland Stat?

Ireland Stat is part of the Government’s modernisation of how public money is spent, allocated and accounted for. The reforms that have been introduced are aimed at addressing a key weakness of the traditional approach, that is, the issue of transparency with regard to performance and results.
The Government Programme put a new emphasis upon performance and delivery across public administration and, in particular, is committed to making ‘the whole of Government… more transparent, accountable and efficient’. The reforms that have been introduced will assist members of the public as well as members of the Oireachtas assess whether public expenditure has delivered worthwhile results and how effectively and efficiently Departments and their managers are operating in terms of delivering upon public service objectives.
The Government has already taken an important step in modernising the Estimates process by building performance information into the budgetary documentation - Revised Estimates for Public Services. As part of this ‘performance budgeting’ initiative, the Estimates have also been restructured around Strategic Programmes – matching the presentation in the Statements of Strategy – so that resources and results are now presented together.
The Ireland Stat project, which was one of the reform measures announced in the Comprehensive Expenditure Report 2012-2014, aims to build upon this initiative. The approach is to develop a new whole-of-Government performance measurement system designed to measure success in delivering on the Government’s goals.
The performance information is presented on the Ireland Stat website and is intended to provide citizens with information on what the Irish Government has achieved, what it has done to achieve the goals it has set and how much it has cost the Exchequer. The primary focus is on simplicity and clarity, with simple indicators of progress (“improving”, “worsening”, “maintaining”) in each area. However, Ireland Stat is a portal for accessing key information and data relevant to each Government goal, bringing this information to one place from across the wide range of data sources in Ireland and beyond.

2. How is the information in Ireland Stat organised?

Departments’ Statements of Strategy are the anchor documents to the Government’s approach of presenting performance information. Each ‘High Level Goal’ in a Statement of Strategy is associated with a ‘Programme’.
To each Programme, Ireland Stat addresses four basic questions:
  1. What has the Programme achieved?
  Achievements – these indicators are intended to capture the impacts or outcomes that public policy is aiming to influence. While some of these measures are not directly or fully controlled by Government – a whole variety of social and economic factors have a bearing upon them – it is important that the public have a clear sense of the broad ‘direction of ‘travel’ in order to see whether or not progress is being made.
  2. What actions were taken to achieve the Programmes goals?
  Actions – these are the tasks and work-steps that Departments and Agencies carry out and in a sense are the outputs that the public is ‘buying’.
  3. How much did the Programme cost the Exchequer?
  Costs – financial information is presented on the new Programme-by-Programme basis for the years for which this format is available. (In those cases where the information is not available on a Programme-by-Programme basis, copies of the Estimates are available on the Department's website.) For 2011 and 2012, the cost data is from the Appropriation Account, for 2013 it is Provisional Outturns and the Estimate is presented for 2014.
  4. How does Ireland compare with other countries?
  Comparisons – Ireland’s performance is compared with that of the other EU Member States and an EU average.

3. Where did the performance information come from?

The key performance data was provided by the Departments and Offices and is taken from a wide range of sources, such as departmental Statements of Strategy, Annual Reports of relevant Departments, Offices and agencies, and various websites.
Officials in the Department of Public Expenditure & Reform worked closely with their colleagues in the Departments to determine the types of measures that should be included in Ireland Stat.

4. What do the green, yellow and red indicators mean?

With regard to high level achievements, Ireland Stat uses a simply method of showing how performance is changing over time. The indicators are as follows:
– Performance is improving
– Performance is being maintained
– Performance is worsening
The indicators compare the latest information with that from the previous year (e.g. performance information for 2011 is compared with 2010).
If the change in performance from year-to-year is between +2% and -2% (or between +2 an -2 percentage points) a yellow indicator is used to indicate that “performance is maintaining”.

5. Why do some of the policy themes not have any data?

Following on from the initial pilot phase of the project the data collection process is being extended across all Government Departments and Offices.

6. Why is there no data at local level (e.g. by county)?

The organisation of performance information on Ireland Stat is a national level. This is because the information is organised by means of Programmes as set out in Departments’ Statements of Strategy. In time, it is possible that relevant data may be presented on a more disaggregated basis but for the moment it is important to review Ireland Stat, and if the decision is taken to roll it out to all Departments to ensure the effective implementation of that decision.

7. Is this what was called the Government’s “scorecard”?

The Ireland Stat website illustrates what is being carried out and delivered with public money. It also provides a snapshot of how Ireland compares across relevant comparative metrics.
In doing so, this website should be used as an informative tool to shape discussions on how public money is spent and what is achieved with that expenditure. There are multiple reasons for the achievement (or lack thereof) of certain policy goals. Therefore this site is not in itself a “Government Scorecard” but a tool designed to improve the discourse how public money is spent in Ireland and what outcomes are being achieved as a result.