Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Budgetary Matters

You have to dig a bit into yesterday's Budget (Day 1) paperwork to find the information relevant for the film sector. Here's what I've unearthed.

While there is a general statement of intent - through focus on supporting jobs in the film and TV sector through the Irish Film Board - the Board's exchequer funding is being cut from €16m to €13.15m. This is a significant cut - somewhat over 17% - and seems to refer only to the agency's capital budget for the year, the budget from which the Board's production and development funding is drawn.

There is an additional budget line for income derived from the Board's own activities, ie not from the exchequer. I presume that this refers in the main to loan recoupment. This brought in €300,000 in 2011 and is expected to bring in €500,000 in 2012.

I think this means that the Board will have an effective capital fund of €13.65m in 2012, contingent on that additional €500k coming in.

It remains unclear what budget the agency will be given for administration next year. The allocation for this year was €2.431m which was a cut of 12% on 2010. I'll update this post later when that information becomes available.

Update: 6pm, Dec 6 - Having perused the budget documentation that's been published this afternoon there still is no clear indication of what the IFB's current spending (administration) allocation will be for 2012.

That said, the omens aren't great, and not just for 2012. The total budget for current spending across the Department of Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht (including all headings and subsidiary bodies) will be €232m in 2012, €218m in 2013, and €205m in 2014.

There is an interesting note on performance indicators in yesterday's documentation which refers in passing to film -
“Performance indicators” or PIs are measures of how well, or how poorly, a particular programme or scheme is achieving its objectives. The indicators may relate to effectiveness (“are the stated objectives being achieved?”), efficiency (“what are the unit costs associated with the programme?”) and may be expressed in absolute terms (“how many grants for programme X were processed in year 2011?”) or in comparative terms (“what is the international competitiveness ranking of Ireland’s public service?”).
For any programme, there are many different PIs that might be chosen. The challenge is to select indicators that are useful to policy-makers, and to those whose role is to scrutinise the effectiveness and efficiency of public spending. Less useful are indicators of mere activity or process, or “qualitative” measures that are hard to verify (e.g. “continue to provide high quality advice to Minister”).

Example of potentially useful PIs include the following:-
Sector: Arts & Culture
Output Indicator: Number of Irish films produced
Context and Impact Indicator: Export earnings from Irish films

I wonder how they will define Irish films?

No comments: