Budget proofing for human rights and equality

The Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission is strongly committed to supporting human rights and equality proofing in the  budget process  and  we have  identified  work in this area as a priority in our Strategy Statement  2016-2018.

The  Government  ‘Programme for a Partnership Government’  includes  commitments to :

  • “…develop the process of budget and policy proofing as a means of advancing equality, reducing poverty and strengthening economic and social rights”   and to
  • “draw on the expertise of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission to support the proofing process”.

The Programme for Government states that institutional arrangements to support budget proofing will be put in place in the Oireachtas and within key Government Departments.

Oireachtas engagement

In July 2017,  the Commission addressed the Oireachtas Select Committee on Budgetary Oversight as part of its strategic work to advance human rights and equality budget proofing.

Emily Logan, Chief Commissioner, Commission Member Dr. Mary Murphy and Commission Director Laurence Bond addressed the Select Committee to raise human rights and equality proofing budgetary measures, and to engage directly with Oireachtas Members on using budgetary processes to focus on human rights and equality.

Oireachtas video of Select Committee meeting

To support efforts to develop human rights and equality budget proofing, the Commission has also over the last year:

  • engaged with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform specifically on incorporating equality budgeting into Ireland’s medium-term expenditure framework;
  • facilitated a seminar with officials across government departments with roles in the budgetary process;
  • published a series of factsheets on budget proofing and equality, and is working to build knowledge on the application of budget proofing mechanisms;
  • focused on the statutory public sector obligation on all public bodies including local authorities and government departments to eliminate discrimination, promote equality of opportunity and protect human rights, as set out under section 42 of the Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission Act 2014. The Commission has rolled out a programme of capacity-building, pilot projects and information provision on this duty.

Special edition journal publication on human rights and equality proofing

The Commission has also worked recently with specialists in budget proofing to produce content for a special edition of the academic journal Administration published in August 2017, focusing on human rights and equality proofing. This special edition is now available at the link below, and is free to access.

Administration journal special edition on human rights and equality budget proofing

Factsheets on budget proofing for human rights and equality

The Commission has also prepared the following four factsheets:

Factsheet 1 Realising Rights: Key Principles

This factsheet identifies some core principles that are relevant to realising social, economic and cultural rights.

Factsheet 2 Budget Proofing: Background and Some Learning

This factsheet describes the background of budget proofing in Ireland and details some recommendations for future work in this area.

Factsheet 3 Budgetary Institutions: What’s Changing?

This factsheet outlines some of the reforms which are relevant to the development of the budget proofing process.

Factsheet 4 The Budget Process

This factsheet outlines the key points on the budget cycle from the Stability Programme Update to Budget day itself.