Public Expenditure and Reform | Completion of Government projects
To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform the degree to which he expects all Government projects to continue to be completed on time and within budget; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
The National Development Plan (NDP) published in October 2021 provides a detailed and positive vision for Ireland over the next 10 years and delivers total public investment of €165 billion over the period 2021-2030. As Minister for Public Expenditure, NDP Delivery, and Reform I am responsible for setting the overall capital allocations across Departments. Management and delivery of individual investment projects within the allocations agreed under the NDP is a key responsibility of every Department and Minister. My department is also responsible for maintaining the national frameworks within which Departments operate to ensure appropriate accounting for and value for money in public expenditure.
It is important to acknowledge that the majority of public investment projects are delivered on budget and on time and there is a high level of professionalism across the sectors. To build on these strengths, the NDP set out the range of actions that are being taken to strengthen delivery, maximise value for money, and ensure to the greatest extent possible that projects are delivered on time, on budget and with the benefits targeted at the outset.
The update of the Public Spending Code in 2019 combined with lessons learned from domestic projects and international best practice highlighted the need for more structured scrutiny of major public investment projects, particularly in the areas of planned delivery, costings and risk. This is to ensure that Government is making decisions with a full picture of the proposal, its costs, risks and benefits.
Two initiatives were introduced to strengthen the assurance process for major public investment projects to provide more structured scrutiny; an External Assurance Process (EAP) to provide independent scrutiny for major public capital projects over €100 million and the establishment of the Major Projects Advisory Group (MPAG) who scrutinise project proposals and external reviews as a prerequisite to seeking Government approval for major projects.
The Project Ireland 2040 Delivery Board oversees the delivery of the NDP and in 2022, five external members were appointed to the Board to bring additional expert knowledge, independent and regional perspectives, and an enhanced challenge function to the deliberations of the Board.
These reforms, alongside ongoing engagement with the construction sector regarding capacity and innovation, will support the effective delivery of the public capital programme under the NDP.
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