Depending on how it is approved, government expenditure falls into two broad categories: non-voted expenditure and voted expenditure.
Voted expenditure forms the largest part of government expenditure, and is for the ordinary services of government including health, social protection and education.
It is the type of spending that is announced in the Budget speech, in the form of “Estimates.”
These need to be approved subsequently by Dáil vote before they are legally valid.
Non-Voted Expenditure is not voted on, annually, by the Dáil. It is authorised by other existing legislation.
Non-voted expenditure includes:
Expenditure must be evaluated on a continuous basis to ensure it is effective and any growth is sustainable. The Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service was established in 2012 to enhance evaluation in the policy-making process across all Departments, and to develop the evidence, information and analysis that can be used to inform future public spending decisions.
In 2017 the Irish Government Economic and Evaluation Service began a series of Spending Reviews, looking at spending from the perspective of efficiency, effectiveness, sustainability and impact.