Budgeting and public expenditures

Recommendation on Principles for Independent Fiscal Institutions

 

The Principles provide guidance on issues to consider in the design and governance of independent fiscal institutions (independent parliamentary budget offices or fiscal councils), codifying lessons learned and good practices.

 

The 22 Principles cover:

  • Local ownership
  • Independence and non-partisanship
  • Mandate
  • Resources
  • Relationship with the legislature
  • Access to information
  • Transparency
  • Communications
  • External evaluation

Read Principles on Independent Fiscal Institutions (PDF)

Policymakers are searching for new ways to ensure fiscal discipline and rebuild public trust in ther capacity to manage public budgets prudently and transparently. While fiscal decision-making is ultimately the responsibility of democratically elected officials, IFIs can, often in complement with credible fiscal rules, help countries to address bias towards spending and deficits and more generally enhance fiscal discipline; to promote greater fiscal transparency and accountability; and to raise the quality of public debate on fiscal policy.

 

Independent fiscal institutions have tripled in the past decade

The Principles come at a critical time. The number of independent fiscal institutions in the OECD area has tripled in the past decade, with more than a dozen established since the crisis, and more on the horizon.

OECD Recommendation on Principles for Independent Fiscal Institutions Graph 2

But IFIs face many challenges

While it may be in countries’ long-term interest to establish an IFI – they are associated with stronger fiscal performance politicians may be tempted to constrain the actions of an IFI to avoid criticism in the short run, for example, by withholding information or funding, or delays in the leadership appointment process. The Principles seek to mitigate such challenges while promoting IFIs core values of independence; non-partisanship; transparency, accountability; and technical competence.


The Principles are the result of over two years of intensive discussion within the OECD Network of Parliamentary Budget Officials and Independent Fiscal Institutions (including a special a High-level Reference Group of heads and deputy heads of IFIs), the Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO) and the Public Governance Committee (PGC).‌ A set of case studies of institutionswithin the OECD is being finalised.