Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform launches new website that will provide financial and governance data on non-profits

Issued 29 June 2015

The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Mr Brendan Howlin T.D, today (Monday 22nd June) officially launched Benefacts, a partnership initiative between Government, Atlantic Philanthropies and the American Ireland Funds.

This initiative will provide for a higher quality assessment of public spending and support the highest levels of public trust and confidence in the not-for-profit sector.

The Minister said:

In recent years, the reputation and public confidence in the not-for-profit sector has been damaged. Ensuring the highest levels of public trust and confidence requires us to develop new approaches and structures, and I am delighted to be able to support this new model”.

Benefacts will develop a new, free and publicly available website that supports the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform’s commitment to Open Government Partnership initiatives.

The Minister highlighted that the website will provide open, re-usable and high value datasets of financial and governance information on over 12,000 non-profit entities in Ireland, which receive more than €4.4 billion annually in Government funding.

Benefacts will also support key objectives of the Public Service Reform Plan 2014-2016. By providing a key piece of data infrastructure, Benefacts will assist the State in designing and delivering better services that support the delivery of the best possible outcomes for citizens.

The Minister also said:

My Department will work with the other co-funders to ensure that we are spending taxpayers’ monies in the most effective manner and deliver on the Government’s public service reform agenda by trialling and delivering new ways of working”.

This initiative will also promote open and transparent public governance that complements a number of existing political and legislative reforms already introduced in this area.

Note to Editors

Benefacts complements a number of measures already introduced by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform, to increase accountability and improve the quality of decision making and transparency in public administration. These include:

  • The Regulation of Lobbying Act 2015
  • The Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2014, and
  • Protected Disclosures legislation, to protect whistleblowers.

Over the period 2015-2017, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform intends to provide grant funding of €1.95 million toward this initiative. Match funding is being providing by Atlantic Philanthropies and the American Ireland Funds.

The co-funders will work together to:

  • Restore public trust in the not-for-profit sector,
  • Re-build donor confidence and provide for increased investment in the not-for-profit sector,
  • Promote public awareness of those who work tirelessly on behalf of the most vulnerable and in need within our society,
  • Ensure that we are spending taxpayers’ monies in the most effective manner, and
  • Deliver on the Government’s public service reform agenda by trialling and delivering new ways of working.

A Stakeholders Forum comprised of representatives from the community and voluntary sector has also been established. This Forum will promote citizen participation in this initiative and ensure that Benefacts remains reflective of the interests of civil society.