Public Sector Trends 2016

By IPACarolyn, Thursday, 1st December 2016 | 0 comments

Public Sector Trends 2016 by Dr. Richard Boyle is published by the Institute of Public Administration today 5 December 2017. Highlights include:

  • Average government spending per person was €16,295 in 2015. For the last couple of years’ government expenditure per head has been gradually rising.
  • Spending on public service pay and pensions has grown over the last two years after several years of falling. Spending was at €17.7bn in 2016.
  • In 2016 the numbers employed in the public service rose to over 300,000, the first time it has been over that level since 2010.
  • While numbers employed in the public service have increased recently, as a proportion of the total workforce they have stayed relatively constant.
  • Just under 1 in 7 people in the workforce work in the public service. This is towards the lower end for European countries.
  • Turnover during the 31st Dáil amongst top civil servants was higher than amongst ministers. This suggest the idea of a ‘permanent’ government of civil servants is something of an oversimplification.
  • Surveys of business executives show that they see the quality of Ireland’s public administration as above the European average. Ireland ranked 5th of the EU28 in 2016.
  • A European-wide survey shows that amongst the general public the perceived quality of public services is just below the European average.
  • Public satisfaction with the civil service is quite high. Satisfaction with the education system is amongst the highest in Europe. Satisfaction with health care is below the European average
  • A quality of government survey run by the University of Gothenburg ranked Irish public administration as the most professional and least politicised in Europe.
  • Levels of trust in government and in parliament remain relatively low. But both have improved in recent years and are now at the European average.
  • Trust in regional and local authorities is at the European average.

Queries to Richard Boyle at the Institute of Public Administration on

(01) 240 3765 (direct line) or on his mobile 087 2835765.

The report is available to download from


Using data from a variety of sources, Public Sector Trends 2016 includes information on:

the size and cost of the public sector
the quality and efficiency of public administration
sectoral performance
levels of trust in government

The performance of the Irish public sector is compared to that of other EU countries. The report also looks at trends over the last ten years.