Budget Brief No 34 – Digital Budgets: Improving How Fiscal Information is Disseminated Online

February 2016 | By Jorge Romero León, Diego de la Mora, Liliana Ruiz, and David Robins

Over the last two decades, the spread of information and communication technologies has seen governments increasingly use websites and dedicated portals to disseminate budget information. As the Open Budget Survey (OBS) shows, in 2006 80 percent of publicly available budget documents were also published online. By 2015 this had jumped to 96 percent. In many cases, online availability has replaced physical distribution as the main avenue for making budget information available to the public.

This brief examines emerging practices in publishing budget information online. It draws on research by Fundar, a Mexican civil society organization, which examined websites and portals of 80 governments worldwide, proposing a framework through which to assess online disclosure of budget information.

Key Messages

  • Governments are increasingly disseminating fiscal information through websites and dedicated budget portals. Portals, in particular, have the potential to provide easy access to detailed and up-to-date budget data.
  • Government practice in disseminating budget information online can be assessed along four dimensions: scope, accessibility, reliability and feedback.
  • The research found that countries do better on scope than on accessibility and reliability, and that few governments are providing channels for users to submit feedback.
  • The findings suggest that governments can improve their online disclosure practices by setting up a dedicated portal for budget information. Such portals should provide tools and resources that help users understand the raw data; establish standards that instill confidence in the data; and provide channels for users to submit feedback.




ibp budget brief digital budgets 2016.pdf

pdf, 0.41 MB

David Robins

Manager, Open Budget Survey, International Budget Parnership

David Robins joined the International Budget Partnership in August 2013, and is based in Washington, D.C. As a Program Officer for the Open Budget Initiative, he is responsible for data collection and analysis for the Open Budget Survey, as well as providing technical assistance and support to IBP partners, in-country peer reviewers, and government officials throughout the Survey process. Prior to joining IBP, he worked for community organizations in New Orleans, and held internships in the US and UK governments. David holds an MSc in International Politics from SOAS, University of London, where his studies focused on the role of non-state actors in governance and democratization.

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