This report examines trends in public sector development over the last decade. The debate on Ireland’s public sector and public administration, and its role in Irish society, is one that generates much passion. But there is often a dearth of evidence brought to bear on the debate. On the one side are those who feel we have a ‘bloated’ public sector and who emphasise the need to cut back and ‘rein in’ public services. On the other side are those who extol the virtues of the services provided to the public and the benefits that many people receive from public services on a day-to-day basis.
Here we try to bring some evidence to bear on the important debate on the future shape of the public sector. Using data gathered from a number of sources, information on the size and cost of the public sector, the quality of public administration, efficiency and performance, and levels of trust and confidence is presented in a simple but rigorous manner.