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    AIReF English

    “Our mission is to guarantee effective compliance of the financial sustainability principle by the General Goverment”

    Cristina Herrero states that evaluation will be fundamental in the future fiscal framework to ensure the quality of public finances

    The President of the Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility (AIReF), Cristina Herrero, stated today that evaluation will be fundamental in the future fiscal framework for ensuring the quality of public finances. Sustainability, economic growth and quality finances, which will be at the heart of the future framework, will need evaluation to allow for evidence-based decision-making.

    Cristina Herrero inaugurated the presentation of the new edition of the magazine “Papeles de Economía” [Economics Papers] today, prepared by the Fundación de Cajas de Ahorro (Funcas), which on this occasion focuses on evaluation. The Director of AIReF’s Public Spending Evaluation Division, José María Casado, participated in the preparation of the magazine as co-author of the issue’s first article.

    The President of AIReF began her speech by highlighting the signs that allow us to look optimistically at the future of evaluation in Spain, as reported in the Funcas publication. Specifically, she highlighted the launch of the Public Spending Evaluation Division in AIReF in 2021, which has consolidated the activity that the institution had been performing with the Spending Review since 2017.

    She also stressed the good opportunity provided by the Recovery, Transformation and Resilience Plan (RTRP) to intensify evaluation work, since Component 29 of the Plan sets out the commitment to improve and increase the quality of public spending and incorporate the results of the spending review into decision-making, together with active, detailed and insistent follow-up of its implementation.

    In addition, she noted the progress entailed in the Evaluation Bill, although some of its aspects will have to be specified in detail. The bill is currently before the Congress of Deputies and was approved by the Council of Ministers following the preparation of this issue of “Papeles de Economía”.

    According to Cristina Herrero, in this context of promoting evaluation, it is important to remember that rigour must remain the hallmark of evaluations, which require data that are reliable and available and which can be processed, an ongoing development of evaluation techniques that will ensure the methodological soundness of the work, and knowledge and experience. In her opinion, the growing attention placed on the evaluation of public policies is good news as long as it is the expression of a determined and genuine commitment to improve the quality of public finances.

    The President of AIReF said that the steps that have been taken are significant and allow the future to be viewed with some optimism. However, there is still a long way to go, as policies are still designed without taking into account the need for them to be evaluated and the data, which are fundamental for evaluation, are still scattered, poorly systematised, lacking interconnection and difficult to access.

    A genuine evaluation culture also needs to be promoted in Spain. While the Evaluation Act seeks to promote evaluation in the Central State Administration, plans such as the RTRP are implemented with practically no evaluation at a national level.

    Evaluation in AIReF

    Evaluation has become a central and permanent activity at AIReF, as Cristina Herrero promised in the 2020-2026 Strategic Plan, in which she defined the lines of work of her mandate. It is an activity with obvious synergies with fiscal supervision through which the institution intends to provide evidence to help decision-making. AIReF has the capacity to evaluate policies that affect different public authorities and has demonstrated that it is able to make realistic, objective and data-based assessments. However, AIReF cannot be the only evaluating agent.

    AIReF has already published the results of the first and second phases of the first Spending Review. It is currently working on the studies of the third phase and on the next commission, approved in December 2021. In addition, it has performed or is in the process of performing different studies for a total of ten Autonomous Regions and plans to publish the evaluation on the Minimum Living Income (MLI) in July and later launch a Monitor to follow up implementation of the proposals made to date.

    Looking to the future, the President indicated that AIReF’s evaluations, without giving up specific commissions from specific administrations, should focus on significant policies of a cross-cutting nature in which the institution has a comparative advantage as its scope of action extends across the entire General Government. Health, education, employment policies, environment, dependency, the fight against poverty, administration of justice and R&D are some examples of the policies that can be studied by AIReF.

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