Value for Money Reviews

Value for Money Reviews and Focused Policy Assessments

The Value for Money and Policy Review Initiative is a systematic process of evaluation conducted by government departments and offices under the guidance of the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Its objectives are to analyse Exchequer spending in a systematic manner and to provide a basis on which more informed decisions can be made on priorities within and between programmes.

The Public Spending Code introduced a new method of review in the form of a Focused Policy Assessment (FPA). To optimise the effectiveness of the FPAs, it is intended that the overarching process will be flexible and not overly prescriptive, however it is envisaged that the FPAs:

  • Operate under a clear mandate from the relevant official with responsibility for Programme area and the Head of CEEU.
  • Are conducted by a Department’s evaluation unit and / or by an evaluator from CEEU. Ideally there should be no more than one or two evaluators.
  • Have tightly framed terms of reference focusing on the key issue at hand.
  • Do not require a steering committee; the responsibility of the evaluation should be under the management of the head of the departmental evaluation unit or the head of CEEU, as appropriate.
  • Are completed within tight timeframes, 3 months as a rule.
  • Are routinely published on subject to any necessary redactions arising under FOI legislation. Redactions should be kept to the minimum necessary and a justification for redactions should be published with the document.

The outcomes of the reviews and assessments input into ongoing policy development and inform decision making within the relevant areas of the Department.

The Department of Education and Skills has agreed a Value for Money Programme with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for the period 2015-2017 and is working to complete the programme.


The Value for Money Review process is centrally co-ordinated by the Central Policy Unit, while the reviews themselves are carried out by Central Policy Unit and the relevant line section. 

Address: Central Policy Unit, Department of Education and Skills, Marlborough Street, Dublin 1. D01 RC96

Phone: (01) 889 6439 / 6529 / 6549

Reviews completed are listed below

European Globalisation Adjustment Fund (EGF) an EU Fund to assist workers made redundant Published August 2012
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) was commissioned by the Department of Education and Skills to undertake an evaluation of the Special Education Support Service (SESS) in relation to the provision of continuing professional development (CPD) in the area of special education.
This Value for Money Review of small primary school provision has been undertaken to assess the current effectiveness and efficiency of provision and to examine the scope for alternative organisational approaches to improve efficiency and effectiveness of provision.
To examine the ‘early childhood education’ element of the Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE) scheme in the context of the recommendations set out in the National Strategy to Improve Literacy and Numeracy among Children and Young People 2011-2020.
This Focused Policy Assessment has identified the factors driving increased demand for SNA support and the means by which these factors may be recorded and reported in the future
Youth Encounter Projects (YEPs) provide non-residential educational facilities for children who have either become involved in minor delinquency, or are at risk of becoming involved.
to assess the extent to which the Special Needs Assistant (SNA) Scheme is achieving its objectives and whether it is doing so in a cost-effective manner; whether there is justification for continuing with the Scheme and, if so to make recommendations for its future operation.
This expenditure review examines the ICT undergraduate skills programme
The subject of this VFM Review is the programmes managed by the Teacher Education Section (TES) within the Department of Education and Science - Published September 2007
to review value for money as it relates to the Youthreach and Senior Traveller Training Centre programmes
This Value for Money Review of the School Transport Scheme was undertaken to assess the efficiency, effectiveness and value for money of the scheme by carrying out a root and branch examination of the scheme. Published March 2011
A Value for Money Review of expenditure on the education of Migrant Students at primary and post primary level who do not speak English or Irish as a first language - 2001/02 - 2008/09
This Value for Money Review of the ICT Support Service for Schools has been undertaken to analyse the expenditure of some €50m on the Service between 1998 and 2005, so as to inform future decisions in relation to the Service. Published June 2008