DÁIL PQ WITH MINISTER DONOHOE ON DEPARTMENTAL PROFILES

Thomas P. Broughan

  1. Deputy Thomas P. Broughan asked the Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform if he will report on his departmental spending profiles up to the end of September 2018 in gross voted capital expenditure under Budget 2018; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [43864/18]

I wish to ask the Minister about the gross Votes. Several Deputies noted that spending was under profile, particularly the Votes for housing and environment. That was certainly evident in the last report the Minister gave us. It seems incongruous that capital expenditure is running under profile in areas like housing and health. I welcome the size of the capital budget and that we are beginning at long last to address deficient infrastructure.

Acting Chairman (Deputy Eugene Murphy)

I want this done quickly, because I want to let Deputy Ó Cuív in with a final question.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe

As set out in the Revised Estimates for 2018, the capital allocation for my Department’s Vote is €5.2 million in 2018. In addition, Vote 39 for the Office of Government Procurement, which is a division of my Department, has a capital allocation of almost €1 million in 2018.

The purpose of capital investment undertaken by my Department, including the Office of Government Procurement, OGP, is to deliver greater effectiveness and efficiency across the Civil Service and public service. The main areas of spend in my Department are the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer, OGCIO, the Civil Service learning management system and ICT projects in the OGP. The OGCIO is the largest area of capital spend and this supports investment in ICT as part of the implementation of the public service ICT strategy, including the roll-out of the build to share programme and the eGovernment strategy.

While some of the relevant subheads in Vote 11 were under profile at the end of the third quarter of 2018, all are expected to consume their full capital allocations by the end of the year. There have been some delays on capital projects within the OGP and the indications are that there will be some savings on that Vote’s capital allocation of just under €1 million in 2018.

This information sets out the detailed position in respect of my own Department’s capital expenditure. The position in respect of other Department’s capital profiles will be available to the Deputy from other Ministers.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan

I am particularly interested in the overall profile across the Government. I thought a key part of Deputy Donohoe’s remit as Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform was to keep track of what is happening in those areas. My constituents are amazed that there is capital funding in different Departments which is not utilised, whether it relates to housing, communications or whatever. I thank the Minister for the information on the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform itself, the IT structures and other matters, but there is concern that the House votes this expenditure and it simply does not happen. A key role of the Minister is to ensure that we get on with our infrastructure investment urgently, particularly the provision of social housing.

Deputy Paschal Donohoe

The Deputy’s exact question referred to my departmental spending profiles. He asked me about my Department.

Deputy Thomas P. Broughan

The Minister’s staff asked me—–

Deputy Paschal Donohoe

Deputy Broughan asked about my Department and I answered the question on my Department. I take the Deputy’s broader point. As I said earlier in response to other Deputies, I have responsibility for the Government’s overall capital expenditure. Something different about capital expenditure this year is the fact that the capital profiles for all Departments were announced earlier in the year as part of Project Ireland 2040. That means that all Departments had clarity before they normally would on what their capital spending profiles for this year and next year will be. I believe we will see a change from the capital underspends that have characterised other years in many Departments. In particular the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government is demonstrating that this year.