Paper

Value of historical Budget Information: Retention Practices of County Budget Documents

Budget documents and information should go beyond the current budget year, even within current budget documents. This could be in the form of baselines or building upon past allocation and implementation. Retaining past budget documents online allows for a more comprehensive understanding of financial trends and decision-making over time. For example, to gauge whether revenue projections are realistic, one needs to look at trends in a couple of years or so to make the right justification. This means, that monitoring improvements or isolating the challenges that sub-national governments may be facing in the budget process may require more than just current information but also historical budget information and their narrative justifications.

In this modular piece, we analysed official county websites in April 2024 to assess whether historical budget information was retained or previously unpublished budget information was uploaded and accessible to the public. We focused on the period between FY 2019/20 and FY 2022/23. The study checked whether counties retained the previous key budget documents published with a focus on the Approved Programmed Based Budgets (PBB) . Although there was room to assess the availability of all other key budget documents, for this study we narrowed our focus to approved Programme Based Budgets.

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