Minister for Finance, Mr Brian Cowen, T.D., announces new guidelines for the appraisal and management of public capital programmes and projects
The Minster for Finance, Mr Brian Cowen, T.D., announced today Wednesday 16, February that following Government approval, his Department has circulated new Guidelines for the Appraisal and Management of Public Capital Programmes and Projects. The new guidelines replace and update the guidelines issued by the Department of Finance in 1994.
In announcing the new guidelines the Minister stated:
“The Government have provided unprecedented levels of capital investment in public services in recent years. Over €36 billion will be available under the capital envelopes for 2005-2009 - some €6.3 billion will be available this year alone. While significant progress has been made in recent years in accelerating the provision of essential infrastructure, I am determined that we should intensify our efforts to get better value for money so that we maximise the return from all this investment. The guidelines being announced today are the latest initiative in this regard and will complement the rolling 5 year multi-annual capital envelopes for public capital investment.
The overall objective is that we continue to urgently tackle our infrastructural deficit but in a way that optimises value for money for the taxpayer.”
Broad Scope of Guidelines
The new guidelines are designed to be rigorous in their approach to management and evaluation of capital programmes. They reflect best practice and introduce greater proportionality into project assessment. Different types of appraisal will apply to projects depending on the cost of the project.
The guidelines contain detailed advice in regard to assessing the costs and benefits of projects at appraisal stage and on arrangements for the management and implementation of capital programmes and projects. For example, they deal at the project appraisal stage with the need to provide for future cost increases related to price increases and variations in outputs.
All capital programmes with an annual value in excess of €50 million and of 5 years duration or more will, for the first time, be required to be evaluated at the beginning and mid-point of each 5 year cycle, unless otherwise agreed by the Department of Finance. Formal structures for the monitoring and management of investment programmes to include the appointment of a programme coordinator and a monitoring committee must also be put in place.
The new guidelines also provide for a clearer definition of the respective roles and responsibilities of all involved in the management and appraisal of capital programmes and projects: Government, Ministers, the Department of Finance, Government Departments and public bodies.
Application of Guidelines
The guidelines will apply to all Government Departments and public bodies under their aegis including State Companies, Local authorities and the Health Services Executive.
The Minister has sent copies of the new guidelines to the Comptroller and Auditor General and the Public Accounts Committee for their information. The full text of the guidelines is available on the website of the Department of Finance (http://www.finance.gov.ie)
Click here to access the Guidelines
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