Written answers

Thursday, 20 December 2012

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Rural Social Scheme

Photo of Éamon Ó CuívÉamon Ó Cuív (Galway West, Fianna Fail)
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To ask the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he instructed the Department of Social Protection to carry out a review of the rural social scheme; the result of such a review; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [57734/12]

Photo of Brendan HowlinBrendan Howlin (Wexford, Labour)
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I understand that my colleague the Minister for Social Protection and her Department are reviewing the range of employment support schemes and will assess the contribution of each programme to that Department’s labour market policy framework.

As set out in the recent Expenditure Report 2013, a range of Focused Policy Assessments (FPAs) are currently underway within my Department, and one of these relates to the Rural Social Scheme. This FPA is being carried out by the Central Expenditure Evaluation Unit of my Department and I expect to see a draft early in the New Year.

Focused Policy Assessments are designed to complement the broader range of evaluation tools available within the public service, including Value-for-Money & Policy Reviews, and will assist in maintaining the analytical momentum that was developed during the course of the 2011 Comprehensive Review of Expenditure. Part of the rationale for FPAs is to stimulate, and to a degree to challenge, thinking within the broader system of public administration about current issues in public policy, and as such the findings of FPAs are not intended to reflect necessarily my views as Minister or the position of Department of Public Expenditure & Reform more generally. Final decisions in particular policy areas will be made by Ministers, weighing all of the various inputs to the decision-making process.

The review of the RSS underway is examining a number of core policy evaluation criteria, namely the rationale underpinning the Scheme, the continuing relevance of the objectives of the Scheme, and to a lesser extent, the effectiveness of the Scheme. Upon finalisation, the FPA will be published on my Department’s website.


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