Norway

Which countries lead in budget accountability? Which ones need improvement? Explore our data and recommendations for each of the 120 countries assessed.
Open Budget Survey Results

Public Participation

24

Budget Oversight

87

Transparency

81

Open Budget Survey 2021

Government budget decisions – what taxes to levy, what services to provide, and how much debt to take on – have important consequences for all people in society. When governments provide information and meaningful channels for the public to engage in these decisions, we can better ensure public money is spent on public interests.

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The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions, such as legislatures and national audit offices, in the budget process.

The survey helps local civil society assess and confer with their government on the reporting and use of public funds. This 8th edition of the OBS covers 120 countries.

Summary
Country Specific Assessments
Country summary EN
pdf, 316.61 KB
Questionnaire EN
pdf, 787.23 KB
81 /100

This part of the OBS measures public access to information on how the central government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents using 109 equally weighted indicators and scores each country on a scale of 0 to 100. A transparency score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

Transparency in Norway compared to others

Global Average
45
OECD Average
66
Sweden
85
Norway
81
Italy
75
United Kingdom
74
Germany
73
France
72
United States
68
Portugal
60
Spain
54
Canada
31
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Norway’s ranking: 6 of 120 countries

0
100

How has the transparency score for Norway changed over time?

83
2010
83
2012
84
2015
85
2017
80
2019
81
2021
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Public availability of budget documents in Norway

Key
Available to the Public
Published Late, or Not Published Online, or Produced for Internal Use Only
Not Produced
Scroll
Document 2010 2012 2015 2017 2019 2021
Pre-Budget Statement
Executive’s Budget Proposal
Enacted Budget
Citizens Budget
In-Year Reports
Mid-Year Review
Year-End Report
Audit Report

How comprehensive is the content of the key budget documents that Norway makes available to the public?

Key
61-100 / 100
41-60 / 100
1-40 / 100
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Key budget document Document purpose and contents Fiscal year assessed Document content score
Pre-Budget Statement Discloses the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive's Budget Proposal; outlines the government's economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. 2021 Published Late
Executive’s Budget Proposal Submitted by the executive to the legislature for approval; details the sources of revenue, the allocations to ministries, proposed policy changes, and other information important for understanding the country's fiscal situation. 2021 86
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2020 89
Citizens Budget A simpler and less technical version of the government's Executive’s Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget, designed to convey key information to the public. 2021 50
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2019 & 2020 100
Mid-Year Review A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget as of the middle of the fiscal year; includes a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. 2020 96
Year-End Report Describes the situation of the government's accounts at the end of the fiscal year and, ideally, an evaluation of the progress made toward achieving the budget's policy goals. 2019 74
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2019 95

Norway’s transparency score of 81 in the OBS 2021 is near its score in 2019.

Recommendations

Norway should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

Publish the Pre-Budget Statement online in a timely manner, at least one month prior to the submission of the Executive's Budget Proposal to the legislature.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Citizens Budget.
24 /100

The OBS assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process. It examines the practices of the central government’s executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution (SAI) using 18 equally weighted indicators, aligned with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policies , and scores each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

Norway has a public participation score of 24 (out of 100).

Public participation in Norway compared to others

Global Average
14
OECD Average
21
United Kingdom
54
Canada
26
Norway
24
United States
22
France
18
Portugal
17
Germany
15
Sweden
15
Italy
11
Spain
2
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

For more information, see here  for innovative public participation practices around the world.

Extent of opportunities for public participation in the budget process

0
/100
Formulation
(executive)
78
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
33
/100
Audit
(supreme audit institution)
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

To further strengthen public participation in the budget process, Norway's Ministry of Finance should prioritize the following actions:

Pilot mechanisms to engage the public during budget formulation and to monitor budget implementation.
Actively engage with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, directly or through civil society organizations representing them.

Norway's Storting has established public hearings related to the approval of the annual budget and public hearings related to the review of the Audit Report, but should also prioritize the following actions:

Allow any member of the public or any civil society organization to testify during its hearings on the Audit Report.

Norway's Office of the Auditor General has established mechanisms for the public to assist in developing its audit program. It should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms for the public to contribute to relevant audit investigations.
87 /100

The OBS examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in the budget process and the extent to which they provide oversight; each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 based on 18 equally weighted indicators. In addition, the survey collects supplementary information on independent fiscal institutions (see Box).

The legislature and supreme audit institution in Norway, together, provide adequate oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 87 (out of 100). Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
86
100
adequate

Audit oversight

0
89
100
adequate
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

Norway's Storting provides adequate oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and adequate oversight during the implementation stage. To further improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

The legislature should debate budget policy before the Executive’s Budget Proposal is tabled and approve recommendations for the upcoming budget.

To strengthen independence and improve audit oversight by the Norway Office of the Auditor General, the following actions are recommended:

Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

The emerging practice of establishing independent fiscal institutions

Norway does not have an independent fiscal institution (IFI). IFIs are increasingly recognized as valuable independent and nonpartisan information providers to the Executive and/or Parliament during the budget process.

*These indicators are *not* scored in the Open Budget Survey.

Methodology

  • Only documents published and events, activities, or developments that took place through 31 December 2020 were assessed in the OBS 2021.
     
  • The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in each country by an independent budget expert:
    Jens Claussen
    Consultant

    [email protected]
  • To further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert, and in Norway by a representative of the Ministry of Finance.
Past reports
Years
Language
Country summary EN
PDF, en
Questionnaire EN
PDF, en
Country summary EN
PDF, en
Questionnaire EN
PDF, en
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Country summary EN
PDF, EN
Questionnaire EN
PDF, EN