Budget transparency: publication of budget information
Providing understandable information on resource allocation to the public.
Budget transparency is defined as the full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner.1 It means that citizens and civil society organizations (CSOs) have access to all information on how resources are allocated in an understandable format.2 Utilities and public institutions may simply publish relevant information or conduct social audits, where civil society assesses the organization’s budget.
PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY
Budget transparency enables citizens to assess how their priorities and public policies are reflected in the organization’s budget. It also allows them to participate in the budget process. In addition, it can enhance revenue collection, as citizens may be more willing to pay if they know how their money is being used.2
Since utility staff and public officials may act more responsibly if the budget is open to public scrutiny, budget transparency can reduce the chances of budget manipulations and misappropriation of resources. Thereby it increases the organization’s accountability .
Nevertheless, transparency during the budget process should be complemented with transparent reporting on the actual budget consumption afterward. This enables independent budget analysis and expenditure tracking, which can prevent mismanagement and corruption.2,3
- Does your organization have clarity on who it is accountable to?
- Does your organization have adequate budgeting processes in place?
The following steps are demanded by the civil society group Make Budgets Public NOW:4
- Publish the budget proposal.
- Publish an independent audit of progress against this proposal.
- Allow public hearings during the budget debate.
- Publish a citizen’s budget.
KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS
OECD, 2002, Best practices for budget transparency, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), France
Pekkonen, A. and Malena, C., no year, Budget Transparency, Civicus and PG exchange
GIZ, no year (web), Transparency in Budget Allocation, GIZ Anti-Corruption Toolbox, Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, Germany, https://gizanticorruptiontoolbox.org/wiki/Download, accessed January 2015
Best practices for budget transparency1
The OECD has developed a number of best practices for budget transparency, based on the experiences of member states. The document is available online.
Global Movement for BTAP, no year, What is BTAP?, Global Movement for BTAP, http://www.policyforum-tz.org/sites/default/files/OnePageBTAP.pdf accessed June 2014
Constance, P., 2005, Between a rock and a web page, Inter-American Development Bank, http://www.iadb.org/en/news/webstories/2005-12-01/between-a-rock-and-a-web-page-idb,5031.html, accessed 19.11.2015
IMF, 2007, Manual on Fiscal Transparency, International Monetary Fund (IMF), USA
IBP, 2012, Open Budget Survey 2012, International Budget Partnership (IBP), USA
Morgan, D., 2002, Handbook on public budgeting, Portland State University, USA
- OECD, 2002, Best practices for budget transparency, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), France
- Pekkonen and A., Malena, C., no year, Budget Transparency, Civicus and PG exchange
- IBP, 2012, Open Budget Survey 2012, International Budget Partnership (IBP), USA
- Make Budgets Public Now, no year, What do we want?, Make Budgets Public Now, http://makebudgetspublic.org/, accessed June 2014