1. The overall purpose of the Comprehensive Review of Expenditure is “to assess the effectiveness and value for money of spending programmes across all Departments and Agencies and provide Government with a set of decision options, so it can:
- Meet overall fiscal consolidation objectives, both as regards spending and numbers reduction targets;
- Re-align spending with the Programme for Government priorities; and
- Consider new ways of achieving Government objectives in the context of public sector reform”.
2. This Review represents the Department of Social Protection‟s (DSP) contribution to the overall Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. The Review is wide ranging given the scale and complexity of DSP expenditure, the key role it plays in the wider economy and its importance in any consideration of measures which will contribute to fiscal consolidation. A large number of options for changes in schemes and services have been identified by scheme (or blocks of schemes). These are not being advanced as the recommendations of the Department but as items which might be technically feasible within the parameters of given schemes or across schemes. However, options which are consistent with the sustainable structural reform of the system are specifically highlighted. The particular range of measures adopted is, of course, a matter of policy to be decided by Government.
3. The options set out in the report should be seen in the context of the very significant programme of change which has been and is ongoing in DSP.