'Equality Budgeting' involves providing greater information on the likely impact of budgetary measures across a range of areas such as income, health and education, and how outcomes differ across gender, age, ethnicity etc. Equality Budgeting helps policy-makers to better anticipate potential impacts in the budgetary process, thereby enhancing the Government’s decision-making framework.
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).
A further update on Equality Budgeting is included in the Public Service Performance Report 2018 Public Service Performance Report 2018 (published in May 2019).
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.
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:
In line with the principles of openness and transparency, the Equality Budgeting Expert Advisory Group operates under the guidelines set out in the Transparency Code. This means that the group’s membership, work programme, and the minutes and agendas of all meetings are published here on this website.
Further details on the Transparency Code can be found here
Building on the Equality Budgeting pilot, the Department of Justice and Equality, and the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform requested that the OECD take stock of actions that the Government of Ireland has taken to mainstream equality considerations as part of the budget process. This Scan provides options and recommendations on future directions for equality budgeting in Ireland, in light of national developments and international experience.
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’.
The Equality Budgeting Programme complements but is separate from the Social Impact Assessment framework, which is an analysis of the demographics of public service users.
For further details on the Equality Budgeting Programme please contact Caroline.O’Loughlin@per.gov.ie