The Irish Fiscal Advisory Council is a statutory body. The Council was established and is governed by the legislation of the Fiscal Responsibility Act. The Act sets out the Council’s governing requirements in relation to its mandate, Council membership, staff appointments, funding, and accounts and audit. The Council regulates its own quorum and generally meets once a month.
The Council operates within public sector governance regulations and procedures, including those set out in the Code of Practice for the Governance of State Bodies. The Council’s Code of Business Conduct outlines the agreed standards of principle and practice which inform the conduct of council members and employees.
It is important that a fiscal council carries out its functions independently of Government and free from political biases. The Fiscal Responsibility Act has a number of safeguards to guarantee the Council’s independence, while at the same time ensuring that it is accountable for its functions and operations:
- Appointments to the Council are made on the basis of competency and experience in domestic or international macroeconomic or fiscal matters.
- Termination of appointments by the Minister is only permissible in particular circumstances and provided that a resolution for such has been passed by Dáil Éireann.
- Council members cannot hold or stand for political office.
- The Council is funded from the Central Fund, outside of voted expenditure.
- The Council regulates its own procedures and quorum.
- When requested to do so the Chair of the Council appears before an Oireachtas Committee to account for the functions of the Council.
- When requested to do so the Chair of the Council gives evidence to a Committee of Dáil Éireann on its annual accounts, economy and efficiency in the use of its resources, and the systems, procedures and practices employed by it to evaluate the effectiveness of its operations.
- The Council is required to prepare a report of its activities each year which is submitted to the Minister for Finance and laid before each House of the Oireachtas.