The work of the Department of Finance and Public Expenditure is carried out by six divisions.
Banking Finance and International Division
The banking, finance and international division have a central role in dealing with EU matters particularly in the context of the Council of Economic Finance ministers, the EU Budget Council and Euro group of ministers, EMU, and structural and cohesion funds.
The division deals with banking policy and financial regulation at domestic and EU levels. It contributes towards EU proposals and initiatives on financial regulation. The division deals with legislation governing the financial system and the transposition of EU directives into domestic legislation. It is responsible for the implementation of the government’s policies in relation to the financial sector.
The section contributes together with the NTMA on debt management policy. It services Ireland’s membership of financial institutions including the IMF, the World Bank and, the European Investment Bank.
The division coordinates the implementation of national development plans and manages structural and cohesion firms from the EU. It deals with policy in relation to north-south co-funded programs and the corporate affairs of the EU programs bodies established under the Good Friday agreement.
The paymaster general’s office provides accounting and payroll services for the department and certain other government offices. It provides a banking service for government departments and offices generally.
Budget and Economic Division
The budget and economic division has two principal responsibilities. One relates to budgetary and taxation matters and the other the economy. It prepares the annual budget in accordance with government policies. The division works closely with other divisions in relation to levels of taxation, expenditure and borrowings. The division is responsible for taxation policy including the annual finance bill.
In relation to the economy, the division provides for economic analysis and forecasts which assists the government across a range of functions. The division produces the budget documentation, including the budget statement, stability program update, summary of budget matters, the white paper on receipts and expenditure, budgetary statistics and tables and financial resolutions.
The central PPP unit acts as a central coordinating unit for those involved in PPP processes.
The Public Expenditure Division
The public expenditure division seeks to develop and implement policies on government expenditure other than central fund services which comprise principally debt service. They examine departments’ and offices’, proposals for expenditure in light of overall economic and budgetary objectives. They make recommendations to the government in relation to expenditure policy. They monitor and report on expenditure allocations. They evaluate proposals and review existing expenditure programs.
The division produces the estimates for public services and public capital programs. The department has published guidelines for the appraisal of capital expenditure proposals.
The organisation, management and training division seeks to develop policies and strategies to improve the way in which the civil service operates. It advises on staffing levels, administers procedures. It negotiates with ministers in relation to budgets.
It is the centre for managing and organizing development provides consultancy and support services for other departments in relation to matters such as IT, staff training or on language training, organisation and development.
It seeks to improve administrative effectiveness and efficiency, administers policies on civil service staff numbers, and has published guidelines for the engagement of consultants in the civil service.
Personnel and Remuneration Division
The personnel and remuneration division deals with public service pay policy, superannuation and industrial relations. It sets conditions of employment, recruitment policy and staff welfare issues. It operates through industrial relations machinery in accordance with agreed national programs.
It seeks to promote personnel policies with greater efficiency, higher productivity, flexibility and quality of service. It seeks to promote best practice in relation to human resources management by providing advice to departments and offices. It works with EU and international bodies in the area.
The corporate division discharges central human resource management functions for the department. It promotes strategic management within the department, provides accommodation and progresses the implementation of various programs. It deals with manpower and staff allocation matters for the department deals with training and development needs and promotes and supports strategic management across all divisions.
It deals with the department’s accommodation portfolio, administers the offices of the ministers and ministers for state.
The top-level appointment committee is an independent body that recommends candidates for senior positions in the civil service. Its secretariat is provided by the Department of finance bodies under the auspices of the Department of finance.
The department of finance structures were revised in May 2012. The principal divisions are as follows:
- the budget taxation and economic division,
- the financial services division,
- the sectoral policy division dealing with public expenditure,
- civil service management and staffing.
Budget Taxation and Economic Division
The budget, taxation and economic division deal with overall budgetary and forecasting, policy formulation, advice on taxation policy in the EU and domestic context, the annual Finance Bill, coordination of EU policy, EU budget and EU financing, servicing EU and OECD committees on budgetary and economic cooperation, servicing membership of IMF, World Bank and other multilateral banks, financial management and government accounting policy, accounting, payroll, banking and financial services for various departments.
The fiscal policy team includes groups dealing with budgetary policy, indirect taxes, business tax team, income tax policy, capital, corporation pensions and savings tax.
The economic division comprises an economic division and an economic analysis forecast division. The corporate office consists of a number of units including the freedom of information unit, a corporate communications project management office, press office, corporate service, and accommodation unit.
The sectoral policy division ensures that departments adhere to their budget allocations. They managed reductions in expenditure. They are involved in the introduction of reform to the budgetary framework.
The Exchequer capital and PPP section manage the formulation of exchequer capital allocations for the government. It reviews multi-annual investment allocation. It manages policy in relation to PPPs.
The central expenditure evaluation unit promotes the application of best value for money practice in public expenditure programs and projects. Its role has evolved to include the provision of analytical research and support for the department and others.
The Department of Finance is responsible for cooperation with the Department of Finance and Personnel in Northern Ireland and the special European Union program body. This is a North-South body under the Good Friday agreement. Previous programs are co-funded by the United Kingdom/Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland on fixed percentages.
The climate change unit provides the Department of Finance with inputs into the economies of climate change policies. It participates in a number of inter-departmental and EU groups which formulate policy with significant financial implications.
The national procurement policy unit is responsible for procurement policy and rules within the public service. It represents Ireland’s EU level in relation to procurement law issues.
The EU structural funds unit is responsible for policy development, management and implementation of the EU structural fund program under the national strategic reference framework. This includes coordination of EU funds and the promotion of Ireland’s interest in the context of the EU Cohesion policy.
The financial control unit audits European Regional Development Fund, co-funded expenditure and co-finance expenditure under the national and European cooperation programs under its remit, as well as programs co-financed by the Cohesion Fund. Many of these are historical.
Financial Service Division
The financial services division is responsible for financial stabilization measures, bank guarantee scheme, recapitalization agreements, NAMA, promotion of financial stability and development of an internationally competitive financial services sector, best practice in the treatment of customers, ensuring legislative framework and financial services regulatory structure meet government objectives for competitiveness, development of EU policy and legislation of financial services.
The public services management division deals with public service modernization, pay policy and industrial relations in the public sector, public service pensions, non-pay conditions, recruitment, HR policy, administrative budgets, staff mobility, equality and diversity; ethics, freedom of information, e-government information technology, civil service training centre, languages training.
The Central Bank and Financial Services Authority of Ireland regulates financial services. It was established in 2003. It re-merged into the Central Bank in 2010.
The Commission for Public service appointment sets standards for appointments to the public service. It grants licenses to other bodies to approved agencies. It is regulated under the Public Service Management Recruitment and Appointment Act 2004.
The Public Service
The public service management and development group formulate and promote policies that drive effectiveness and efficiency across the public service and support national income and pension developments.
The personnel remuneration division manages industrial relations, develops a pay and pensions policy across the public sector, promotes industrial peace and continuity of services and manages staffing levels in the civil service. It supports the aims of social progress through appropriate policy, pay and working conditions. It seeks to enhance the connection between pay and performance.
The Minister of Finance is responsible for the regulation and control of the civil service. This includes numbers, salary and terms of employment under the Civil Service Regulations Act 1956. Changes in the pay of public servants require the approval of the minister in almost all cases.
The Financial Emergency Measures in the Public Interest Act 2009 reduced the pay of all public servants and applied very strict ongoing controls on pay increases. There was very limited scope for pay increase while the legislation is in force. The Minister had power in exceptional circumstances to grant pay increases or modify pay reductions.
Budget Tax & Economic
Budget taxation and economic division deals with
- servicing EU and OECD committees on policy, budgetary and economic cooperation,
- North-South cooperation,
- membership of international financial institutions,
- financial management and government accounting policy,
- implementation and management information framework,
- accounting, payroll, banking and financial services for various departments.
NTMA & NPRF
The department liaises with National Treasury Management Agency and the National Pensions Reserves Fund. The National Treasury Management Agency is an asset and liability management arm of the government. It borrows and manages the national debt. It provides the national treasury service for taking deposits and lending to local government bodies.
The NTMA also acts as the State Claims Agency, managing personal injuries and property damage claims against government departments and other authorities. The National Development Finance Agency performs its functions through it. It also supports the National Assets Management Agency with business and support services. It manages the social insurance fund and the dormant account funds as well as HFA borrowings.
Under the National Pension Reserve Fund act, the NPRF Commission is responsible for managing and investment the assets of the fund which belong to the Minister for Finance. The NPRF Act required 1% of GNP to be paid to it each annual year. Further funds were paid into the fund in 2009 to assist in the capitalisation. Further contributions were made under the legislation.
Under the IMF/ EU program of assistance, the NPRF was directed to invest €3.5 million in each of Bank of Ireland and AIB in 2009 together with a further €3.7 million in December 2010.
The external program compliance unit dealt with the issues concerning the EU IMF program for Ireland in 2013. It monitored various actions under it. The program was also monitored by the EU, ECB and IMF “Troika”.
The EU and international policy unit deal with the permanent stabilization program, the ESM and EFSF issues in relation to Ireland.
The Minister for Finance attends ECOFCIN and the EU finance Council
The international financial institutions and EU budget section deal with participation in a number of international financial institutions and matters related to the EU budget.
The financial services division works closely with the central bank and NTMA and is responsible for advising the government on the strategy regarding the global financial position. It has responsibility for the legislative and policy framework for financial services and financial regulation in Ireland. It is to secure financial stability and an effective financial sector while promoting and developing financial services.
A key objective includes the banking guarantee scheme and the government’s recapitalization program of banks. It seeks to ensure NAMA operates within its statutory framework.
Financial services Division 1 and 2 comprises the EU financial services policy and legislation division, EU financial services markets market fund securities division.
The banking division comprises of the following: credit and lending policy, project work, credit and lending, financial services and consumer issues, credit union reform strategy, central bank policy and legislation.
Financial services 4 comprises the shareholding management unit, including NAMA restructuring and deleveraging compliance, operations and administration, core pillar engagement.
The banking policy division was established in 2012 to focus on banking and related issues. It manages the government’s interest in institutions receiving state support. It advises the minister and on government objectives and strategies in the banking sector.
The banking division comprises a number of units. The financial stability unit contributes to the maintenance of financial and economic stability. The shareholding management unit manages the state’s interests in restructuring and deleveraging the banking sector. The EU policy on banking and international unit contributes to the development of EU policy and legislation on banking matters. The bank sector (lending) develops and implements a national framework for credit and lending policy for banks.
The divisions are as follows.
- Fiscal policy division,
- financial services division,
- EU and international division,
EU affairs divisions include
- EU external program compliance unit,
- EU budget and multi-annual framework,
- EU strategy and coordination unit,
- EU permanent representatives Brussels,
- international financial institutions.
The finance group is responsible for the following: Votes in exchequer financing cycle, President’s establishment, Appeals Commissioners, Revenue commissioners, Comptroller and Auditor General, Office of Public works, Secret Service, state laboratory, valuation office, Public Appointments Service, Office of the Commission for Public Service Appointments, Ombudsman, superannuation and retirement allowances.
The taxation division deals with tax issues.
The finance director comprises the following branches: the accounts branch /e paymaster general’s office. This itself consists of several sections: Exchequer accounts, paymaster general banking, paymaster general pension and salaries, business administration sections.
The salary section pays salaries for the Department of Finance.
The Exchequer section is responsible for the exchequer and other accounts at the Central Bank. It interacts with the NTMA, Postmasters General Office and Comptroller and Auditor General’s Office.
The accounts section is the accounting service of the department and in relation to a number of others. The paymaster is effectively the bank for government departments and offices. They interact with the banking system through it. The issue EFTs to ensure value is given on payable orders issued to payees which are submitted by the commercial banks through the general clearing system.
The finance unit is responsible for the annual estimates cycle and internal financial management for the department. It monitors and allocates budgets and expenditures and coordinates value for management reports. The corporate service unit is responsible for certain personnel functions in relation to Tullamore-based staff.
The finance office includes a section dealing with accounts, salaries, exchequers, banking and pensions, legal and compliance and accounts.
The Human resources section includes HR, administration, budgets and estimates, recruitment and secondment and shared transactional services.
Technology & IT
The public service development group deals with modernization issues across the public service.
The CMOD group is responsible for e-government strategy, technology and telecommunications policies and infrastructure, approval processes for ICT expenditure, and is the ICT unit function for the Department of Finance. It has sought to build a central repository of personnel identity information in accordance with data protection requirements. It is seeking to develop a mechanism to facilitate electronic and regular distribution of information on life events to other bodies, including births, deaths, marriages.
It has partnered with the Citizens Information Board to amalgamate the government website and citizens information website as a single national portal to online services and information. The group is responsible for developing, designing, and managing a range of telecommunication and technology initiatives to achieve the best value for money.
The ICT unit within the Department of Finance provides in-house ICT services for the department.
Training and Development
The civil service training and development centre supports the modernization agenda and provides a range of courses such as public financial management, freedom of information, regulatory impact analysis and procurement. Some training is via electronic means It manages the training procurement framework agreement for use by departments in obtaining training across categories in the most efficient and cost-effective manner.
The organization development unit manages an externally provided accredited program in project management. It is available to civil and public servants. It administers and manages the peer review process for ITC projects, promotes EU directives on the reuse of public sector information and provides assistance, support and advice on modernization projects.