How we are accountable
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is accountable to the public and the taxpayer in its co-operation with external oversight bodies but also through its internal control systems. Along with periodic programme reviews, inspection of missions in the diplomatic network, business planning and reporting, we are accountable through:
Value for Money Reviews
The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform strongly emphasises the need for public services to achieve value for money, all the more so in the In the current economic climate. We carry out special assessments of spending, as part of the Government’s Value for Money and Policy Review programme. These assessments judge how relevant spending has been and how efficiently and effectively the money has been used. Two reviews are planned for the period 2012-14, one on the missions within the EU Network and the other on Irish Aid’s support for the Haiti Earthquake Disaster.
The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for managing considerable public funds. Our Evaluation and Audit Unit ensures that the Department’s internal control systems are robust so that the public can be sure that funds are properly accounted for and used for their intended purposes. Audits highlight any significant weaknesses and provide advice on how to improve these controls. Our work in Evaluation and Audit is overseen by an independent Audit Committee, which publishes a report each year.
We are committed to quality, to ensuring that our work adds value and that we can learn in order to make improvements. We need to evaluate our work to see how well we are doing and what is working. That way, we can adapt our programming and polices accordingly.
For this reason, we put a lot of emphasis on the independence of the evaluation process. Evaluation gives an impartial assessment of how well we are meeting our objectives and is useful for future planning. As part of our commitment to accountability and transparency, we make the findings available and publish the results of our evaluations. You can find these evaluations in our Publications section.
Each year we produce an Annual Report of the Irish Aid programme with details of expenditure. Download the 2011 Irish Aid Annual Report (PDF, 8.1mb).
Freedom of Information
The Freedom of Information Acts 1997 and 2003 allows you to access, to the greatest extent possible, information held by the Department. It gives you the right to have your personal data corrected or updated and to get reasons for decisions taken by the Department that affect you.
For transparency and openness, we post FOI requests for non-personal information and the subsequent reply on our Freedom of Information Request Database. The database is ordered by year and month.