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Spain

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

 

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Open Budget Survey Results

Public Participation

2

Budget Oversight

61

Transparency

54

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, 323.51 KB
Questionnaire EN
pdf, 899.18 KB
54 /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 Spain 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

Spain’s ranking: 47 of 120 countries

0
100

How has the transparency score for Spain changed over time?

63
2010
63
2012
58
2015
54
2017
53
2019
54
2021
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Public availability of budget documents in Spain

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 Spain 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 33
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 69
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2021 95
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 Not Produced
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2020 78
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 Not Produced
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 33
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2018 43

Spain’s transparency score of 54 in the OBS 2021 is near its score in 2019.

What changed in OBS 2021?

Spain has increased the availability of budget information by:

Publishing the Year-End Report online in a timely manner.
However, Spain has decreased the availability of budget information by:
Reducing the information provided in the Pre-Budget Statement.

Recommendations

Spain should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

Produce and publish the Citizens Budget and Mid-Year Review online in a timely manner.
Improve the level of detail, scope and consistency of implementation reports (both in-year and year-end), so they effectively match the Enacted Budget.
Include in the Year-End Report comparisons between borrowing estimates and actual outcomes, comparisons between planned nonfinancial outcomes and actual outcomes and comparisons between the original macroeconomic forecast and actual outcomes.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Pre-Budget Statement by including a discussion of policy priorities, as well as a projection of total expenditures and revenues associated with these policies, for the budget year.
Improve the comprehensiveness of the Audit Report by including, among others, an executive summary of the document.
2 /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.

Spain has a public participation score of 2 (out of 100).

Public participation in Spain 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)
11
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
0
/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, Spain's Ministerio de Hacienda 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, either directly or through civil society organizations representing them.

Spain's Cortes Generales has established public hearings related to the approval of the annual budget, 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 budget proposal prior to its approval.
Allow members of the public or civil society organizations to testify during its hearings on the Audit Report.

Spain's Tribunal de Cuentas should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms for the public to assist in developing its audit program and to contribute to relevant audit investigations.
61 /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 Spain, together, provide adequate oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 61 (out of 100). Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
53
100
limited

Audit oversight

0
78
100
adequate
Key
0-40: Few
41-60: Limited
61-100: Adequate

Recommendations

Spain's Cortes Generales provides adequate oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage. To improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

A legislative committee should examine in-year budget implementation and publish reports with their findings online.
In practice, ensure the legislature is consulted before the executive shifts funds specified in the Enacted Budget between administrative units or reduces spending due to revenue shortfalls during the budget year.

To strengthen independence and improve audit oversight by Spain's Tribunal de Cuentas, the following actions are recommended:

Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

The emerging practice of establishing independent fiscal institutions

Spain’s independent fiscal institution (IFI) is the Autoridad Independiente de Responsabilidad Fiscal. Its independence is set in law, and it reports to the legislature. It publishes its own macroeconomic and fiscal forecasts, and its own cost estimates of some new policy proposals.

The indicators on IFIs 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:
    David Cabo
    Fundación Ciudadana Civio

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