Thursday 23 September, 2021

Evidence-based Public Policy

Indecon is recognised as the leading provider of evidence-based public policy advice in Ireland and we have completed numerous public policy assignments since our establishment. Our team includes senior economists with extensive experience in both the public and private sectors and in a range of policy areas. Our main public policy clients include government departments in Ireland and internationally, government/state agencies and local authorities.

We specialise in undertaking high-level policy reviews, programme and project evaluations, value-for-money assessments and strategic reviews. We are familiar with the latest policy developments in Ireland and internationally and the latest evaluation and analytical tools. Our specialised staff has the expertise to undertake a wide range of tasks across all the main public policy areas.

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For further information on Indecon's public policy services, please email or contact us at the following address:

Indecon House
4 Fitzwilliam Place
Dublin 2, Ireland
Tel: + 353 (0)1 677 7144
Fax: + 353 (0)1 677 7417



Agriculture, Food and Marine
Indecon has extensive experience in the areas of agriculture, food and marine. We have acted as advisors to government departments and agencies on a variety of development and programme/project evaluation issues in the sector. We completed an evaluation of the performance of the food sector in Ireland having regard to evolving market and international developments. Recently we completed the Mid-Term Evaluation of the major Rural Development Programme for Ireland (2007-2013). We have also completed evaluations, policy reviews and impact assessments in the agriculture and food sectors, and in the marine sectors.

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Central Government
We have worked for all of the central government departments in Ireland and our public policy clients also include government departments internationally. We specialise in undertaking high-level policy reviews, programme evaluations (including of the National Development Plan), value-for-money assessments, strategic reviews and project evaluations. We are familiar with the latest policy developments in Ireland and internationally and have extensive expertise in applying the latest evaluation and analytical tools.

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Indecon has wide-ranging expertise in the education sector and has undertaken a number of studies on education policy. This has included policy evaluation work for the Department of Education and Skills and the Higher Education Authority. We have assessed the efficiency, effectiveness and impact of education and third-level research programmes and have also assessed the costs and benefits of proposed investments. Key competencies in this area include ex-ante evaluation and cost-benefit analyses. Our staff have undertaken extensive modelling work including, for example, assistance to the UK's National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education Funding ("Dearing Committee") in relation to third-level funding mechanisms. We have also undertaken strategic work in the sector including for Irish universities and Institutes of Technology on the development of their strategic plans.

Recent clients in the sector include governments in Ireland and overseas, the Higher Education Authority in Ireland, the university sector and the institutes of technology.

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Labour Market and Training Policy
A key element of our practice concerns the evaluation of labour market and training policy. We have undertaken numerous reviews of labour market policies, including, inter alia, a major review of active labour market policies for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation. We also undertake evaluations of specific programmes, schemes and initiatives, focussing on their effectiveness, efficiency and impact. Examples of such studies include major evaluations of back to work schemes, and skills and training initiatives. We have also undertaken reviews of labour market trends and assessments of the demand and supply of skills across a variety of sectors in Ireland.

Recent clients include the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Education and Skills, Forfás, and government departments in the UK.

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Indecon's expertise in environmental economics covers the key issues facing policy makers in Ireland. We have undertaken several studies examining options to minimise the cost of meeting Ireland's Kyoto obligations. These include evaluations of the impact of environmental taxation and emissions trading. We have detailed knowledge in relation to emissions trading and have undertaken an analysis of the impact of emissions trading, in addition to drafting Ireland's National Allocation Plan for the Environmental Protection Agency. We also have a detailed understanding of the impact of environmental issues on the industrial sector and on the competitiveness of the enterprise sector in Ireland. We have examined a wide range of other environmental issues, including waste and water supply issues.

Key competencies include policy design and evaluation, and modelling the costs of different policy options. Indecon's consultants have presented several conference papers on these issues and recent clients include the Environmental Protection Agency, Department of Environment, Community and Local Government, Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, and Forfás.

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Indecon has developed a growing practice and reputation in the area of health economics. We have evaluated the impact of regulatory proposals on the delivery of healthcare in Ireland. We have also examined the cost of policy proposals and examined in detail the likely impact of policy options. We also have expertise in the health insurance market and have undertaken a number of studies in this area. Key areas of expertise in the health sector include policy evaluation, assessment of cost proposals, modelling and regulatory impact assessments.

Recent clients include the Department of Health, the health agencies, the Pharmacy Review Group and the National Disability Authority.

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Local Government

Indecon has particular expertise in the Local Government area. Our expertise includes examining options for local government funding, assessing the cost of different policy options and evaluating the impact of policy options. In the UK we have carried out a major review of the mechanism used to allocate funding to different local and regional authorities. We have completed reviews of the future costs of meeting key infrastructure demands. This involved examining trends in costs in areas such as transport, roads, housing and environmental services. Our previous experience also includes assessing the scope for user charges and tolling, and the implementation of the polluter pays principle.

The impact of local government on the economic, social and cultural life of the country, both in terms of its development functions and as provider and purchaser of services is very substantial. In addition, it has a central role in promoting and co-ordinating a shared vision for these services at local level. To meet the challenges of the future, continual transformation is essential in all sectors of the economy, including local government. Key factors pertaining to local and regional authorities in this regard include, inter alia:

  • Demands for better quality services from the public and business;
  • Budgetary pressures and an on-going focus on cost efficiency, performance and results;
  • Further development of its economic and community development role;
  • Delivering improved performance management systems;
  • Greater inter-organisational working and co-operation;
  • Managing an enlarged and increasing world class infrastructure;
  • Education, research and innovation.

Given the varied challenges facing local and regional authorities, we have a dedicated local and regional government consultancy services division in Ireland which is led by two of our Divisional Directors and is supported by a large specialised team of consultants.

The main services which Indecon provide to local authorities include:

  • Design of Optimal Charging Structures;
  • Capital Investment Appraisals;
  • Advice on Financing/Funding/PPPs;
  • Risk Management Planning;
  • Local and Regional Economic and Social Development Plans;
  • Local and Regional Economic and Spatial Development Plans;
  • Reviews of Demand and Supply of Commercial and Industrial Property;
  • Preparation of Central Government Submissions;
  • Litigation Support;
  • Strategic Planning Advice;
  • Cost/Efficiency Reviews of Existing and Planned Programmes;
  • Assessments of Different Service Delivery Options.

Recent clients include local and regional authorities and the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.

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Sectoral Reviews
Our experience in undertaking sectoral reviews covers a large number of sectors. We have examined sectors for industry groups and for government departments and agencies. This involves assessing the socio-economic contribution, including employment generation and the net value-added contribution of sectors. We use a number of approaches in assessing sectors, including sophisticated survey techniques.

Indecon has a reputation for producing independent sectoral reviews that realistically reflect the size and economic contribution of sectors.

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Social Policy
Indecon has undertaken a number of social policy studies in addition to reviews of education, training and labour market issues. These include evaluations and assessments of policy issues. Key competencies include detailed socio-economic analyses, consultation and survey work and detailed modelling work. For a number of clients we have undertaken extensive surveys of social policy issues that have helped to inform policy. For the Department of Justice and Equality we completed a major survey of gender pay differentials in addition to assessing options to address the gender pay gap. We have also worked in the disability area and completed a major assessment of the costs of disability in Ireland. This involved extensive survey work and innovative modelling using the CSO's Household Budget Survey.

We have a reputation for applying the best available analytical tools to address a range of social policy issues. Clients have included the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Department of Justice and Equality, the Department of Health, the National Disability Authority and Amnesty International.

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We have unique expertise in assessing the impact of taxation proposals. Indecon has been retained by the Department of Finance to assess the economic and social impact of a number of tax proposals. These have included, for example, an assessment of the economic effects of the Film Tax incentives. Analysis undertaken in relation to taxation involves assessing the costs and benefits of tax proposals. Economic and social benefits are examined using a variety of economic methodologies and tools. Indecon has a variety of specialised economic models that help in assessing a range of impacts of proposals on employment, competitiveness and tax yields.

Recent clients in this practice area include the Department of Finance and Forfás.

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Indecon has undertaken a number of studies in the tourism sector. These have included assessments of tourism projects, evaluations of demand for different products and evaluations of tourism programmes. We recently advised Failte Ireland, Ireland's national tourism development authority, on the development of a new econometric model to facilitate ongoing assessment of the economic impacts of the tourism sector in Ireland. We have undertaken numerous feasibility studies and project appraisals in the sector, including the feasibility study for Convention Centre Dublin, Ireland's national convention centre. This study considered the trends in conference tourism, assessed the demand for conference facilities and the costs/benefits to the economy of this project. We have also developed tourism plans for specific locations, and completed a qualitative and quantitative evaluation of tourism impacts on the Temple Bar Area in Dublin. This considered an assessment of visitor experience and an analysis of their economic impact on the area.

Recent clients include the Department of An Taoiseach, the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and Failte Ireland.

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Indecon's expertise in transport economics spans the roads, aviation, passenger and freight rail, bus and ferry sectors. We have carried out public expenditure reviews, customer demand modelling, regulatory and policy advice and competition casework in the sector. We have undertaken evaluations of proposed investments in a variety of areas including assessments of the costs and benefits of proposed investments. We have recently completed reviews of major public transport investment projects for the National Transport Authority and the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport. Key competencies include policy and programme evaluations, programme and project appraisals, regulatory impact assessment and general policy advice.

Recent clients include the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport, and the National Transport Authority.

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