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Policy Information

Equality Budgeting

Last updated: 17 May 2019
Published: 20 February 2019
From: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Introduction

The ongoing work regarding Equality Budgeting in Ireland follows the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to ‘develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights’. The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 contains a further commitment to ‘take measures to build capacity within the Civil and Public Service with regard to gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting’.

Pilot Programme

A pilot initiative for Equality Budgeting was announced as part of Budget 2018. The paper Equality Budgeting: Proposed Next Steps in Ireland was also published with the Budget to provide more information.

Six equality objectives were identified in the pilot, and performance measurements for them were then included in the Revised Estimates 2018 (published at the end of that year). Five of the objectives related to gender equality, whilst the sixth related to socio-economic equality. An update on the pilot programme was included in the Public Service Performance Report 2017 (published in April 2018).

Programme Expansion

Following the achievements of the pilot programme, Equality Budgeting will be expanded in 2019 to further develop the gender budgeting components, and the scope will be broadened to other dimensions of equality, including poverty, socioeconomic inequality and disability. The Revised Estimates 2019, published one year after the programme began, includes further developed and updated objectives, and an Appendix with performance indicators. The indicators have been grouped thematically to reflect government strategies that have an equality element.

Expert Advisory Group

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform is committed to working with other Departments, Agencies, experts and advocacy groups to advance the Equality Budgeting initiative to best international standards. An Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group has been set up to support this process.

The role and objectives of the Group are:

  • to provide constructive, critical feedback on the Equality Budgeting initiative to date;
  • to provide expert guidance and informed insights on the future direction and areas of focus for Equality Budgeting, including in light of international experience, lessons from other policy areas and from academia;
  • to promote a coherent, cross-government approach to Equality Budgeting, to maximise equality impacts and avoid duplication of effort across various policy areas; and
  • to identify existing strengths of the Irish policy-making system which can be leveraged in support of Equality Budgeting, along with potential shortcomings that need to be addressed in this regard.

Membership

  • Department of Public Expenditure and Reform (Chair)
  • Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection
  • Department of Finance
  • Department of Justice and Equality
  • Central Statistics Office
  • Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission
  • National Economic and Social Council
  • National Women's Council of Ireland
  • Economic and Social Research Institute
  • Maynooth University

Background

Ireland began building Equality Budgeting into its Budgetary Cycle in line with the Programme for a Partnership Government commitment to ‘develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights’. The Programme also includes a commitment to ‘ensure the institutional arrangements are in place to support equality and gender proofing within key government departments’. The National Strategy for Women and Girls 2017-2020 contains a further commitment to ‘take measures to build capacity within the Civil and Public Service with regard to gender mainstreaming and gender budgeting’.

For further details on the Equality Budgeting Programme please contact Caroline.O’Loughlin@per.gov.ie