Accountability

We are responsible for managing considerable public funds and we place accountability at the heart of the work of our Department.

We account for the provision of our services to Irish citizens, Ireland’s foreign policy and our spending. We are accountable to the public through a number of public bodies and institutions and members of the Oireachtas in the first instance. We have also established a number of oversight mechanisms for how we account for our work.

Who we are accountable to

We are accountable to the Irish people for the efficient and effective delivery of services in Ireland and overseas through a number of external public bodies.

Houses of the Oireachtas

The Department accounts to the Houses of the Oireachtas (legislature) in the first instance, through parliamentary questions and through these Oireachtas committees:

Deputies can ask the Minister for Foreign Affairs about any policy issues or administrative issues. The replies to parliamentary questions are published daily on the Debates section of the Oireachtas website.

Ministers regularly appear before Oireachtas committees to report on Irish and EU foreign policy, international issues and matters relating to Northern Ireland. You can find transcripts of these discussions on the Oireachtas website.

The Secretary General of the Department appears every year before the Public Accounts Committee.

Comptroller and Auditor General

Our accounts are audited and reported on by the Comptroller and Auditor General who provides independent assurance that public money is properly managed, spent to good effect and is contributing to improvements in public administration.

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

We are accountable to the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform for our progress in the implementation of the Public Service Reform Programme. The Programme aims to achieve high-performing public service organisations that will work together underpinned by values of integrity, fairness, accountability and openness.

How we are accountable

The Department of Foreign Affairs 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 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.

Audits

The Department of Foreign Affairs 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.

Evaluation

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.

See Publications section on gov.ie.

Corporate Governance Framework

Good governance in Government Departments and Offices is about delivering priorities, achieving objectives, behaving with integrity and acting in the public interest, and in ways that are consistent with legal, regulatory and Government policy obligations. Our Department’s Governance Framework 2021 - 2023 sets out the structures and processes in place to help us achieve that.

Download our Corporate Governance Framework 2021 - 2023.

Annual report

Freedom of Information

The Freedom of Information Act 2014 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.

Public Spending Code Quality Assurance Report(s)

All Irish public bodies are obliged to treat public funds with care, and to ensure that the best possible value-for-money is obtained whenever public money is being spent or invested. The Public Spending Code (September 2013) is the set of rules and procedures that apply to ensure that these standards are upheld across the Irish public service. The code brings together in one place all of the elements of the value-for-money framework that are in force.

The annual public spending code quality assurance reports for the Department of Foreign Affairs are an assessment of the level of compliance with the Code. They serve as an aid to the Department in its ongoing task of achieving the best value for money. They are based on the best financial, organisational and performance related information available across the various areas of responsibility.

Official hospitality events hosted in Iveagh House

In line with a commitment made in January 2022 to enhance transparency around official events, the Department is now publishing (on a six-monthly basis) a list of official hospitality events hosted in Iveagh House, along with related costs.

The most recent table of official events can be accessed here: 

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