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How Does Civil Society Use Budget Information?

How Does Civil Society Use Budget Information?

December 2016 | By Paolo de Renzio, International Budget Partnership and Massimo Mastruzzi, The World Bank

How Civil Society Uses Budget InformationGovernments sometimes complain that the budget information they make publicly available is seldom accessed and utilized. On the other hand, civil society organizations (CSOs) often claim that the information governments make available is very difficult to understand and not detailed enough to allow for meaningful analysis and advocacy. Is there a mismatch between the budget information supplied by governments and demand among civil society?

This paper examines the “demand side” of fiscal transparency using findings from a global survey of 176 individuals working in civil society that use budget information for analysis and advocacy activities. Based on the responses, the authors identify a “fiscal transparency effectiveness gap” between the fiscal information that governments often provide and the information that CSOs need.

These findings are used to develop a set of recommendations to help governments ensure their transparency practices deliver increased citizen engagement, improved oversight, and enhanced accountability.

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The Road to 61: Achieving Sufficient Levels of Budget Transparency

The Road to 61: Achieving Sufficient Levels of Budget Transparency

July 2016 | By Babacar Sarr (IBP Senior Program Officer) and Joel Friedman (IBP Senior Fellow)

Achieving Sufficient Levels of Budget Transparency

Over the last decade, successive rounds of the Open Budget Survey (OBS) have shown that the average level of budget transparency around the world is modestly increasing. This progress has mainly been driven by countries that started from a very low base, as reflected by their low scores on the Open Budget Index (OBI). However, a significant number of countries persist in providing only limited amounts of budget information to the public (scoring between 41 and 60 on the OBI).

Using data from the last four rounds of the OBS (2008, 2010, 2012, and 2015), this paper closely examines these countries whose scores place them in the middle of the OBI. It seeks to answer what these countries can do to increase their OBI scores above 60, a rough benchmark for when a country can be considered to be publishing sufficient budget information to permit informed public discussions on budgetary matters.

Is it a matter of simply publishing more documents? Or must the comprehensiveness of the documents that are published be improved? And how should reforms be sequenced?

The analysis also draws on six case studies of countries that have been in the middle of the OBI for the last four rounds of the OBS and five case studies of countries that had been in the middle category before boosting their scores above 60. By comparing different trajectories and examining different blockages, this paper aims to chart a path for countries to boost their OBI scores and begin to publish sufficient amounts of budget information to allow for informed public debate.

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Further Reading

Open Budget Survey Guidelines on the Public Availability of Budget Documents

Open Budget Survey Guidelines on the Public Availability of Budget Documents

August 2016 | by International Budget Partnership

Guidelines on the public availability of budget documentsInternational good practice on public financial management recommends that governments produce eight key budget documents throughout the budget process.

To be considered publicly available and accepted by the Open Budget Survey, these documents must meet a set of minimum standards on content, availability, and timeliness.

This guide provides direction and additional resources to determine the public availability of the eight key budget documents evaluated in the Open Budget Survey. It also helps in identifying which fiscal years should be included in the Open Budget Survey 2017.

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Related

Open Budget Survey April 2016 Document Availability Update: Questionnaire and Guidelines

Open Budget Survey April 2016 Document Availability Update: Questionnaire and Guidelines

August 2016 | by International Budget Partnership

April 2016 Open Budget Survey Document Availability Update GuidelinesThe Open Budget Survey assesses the public availability of budget information by considering the timely release and contents of eight key budget documents that all countries should issue at different points in the budget process. This document outlines the methodology researchers used to examine and map the public availability and dissemination of a country’s key budget documents for the Open Budget Survey April 2016 Document Availability Update.

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