Benefits of budget transparency
Clarity about the use of public funds is necessary so that public representatives and officials can be accountable for effectiveness and efficiency.
Public spending is vulnerable not only to waste and misuse, but also to fraud. “Sunlight is the best policy” for preventing corruption and maintaining high standards of integrity in the use of public funds.
Budget decisions can profoundly affect the interests and living standards of different people and groups in society; transparency involves an informed and inclusive debate about the budget policy impacts.
An open and transparent budget process fosters trust in society that people’s views and interests are respected and that public money is used well.
Transparent and inclusive budgeting supports better fiscal outcomes and more responsive, impactful and equitable public policies.
Best Practices for Budget Transparency
The "OECD Best Practices for Budget Transparency" are designed as a reference tool for governments to use in order to increase the degree of budget transparency in their respective countries.
The best practices are in three parts:
- Part 1 lists the principal budget reports that governments should produce and their general content.
- Part 2 describes specific disclosures to be contained in the reports, including both financial and non-financial performance information.
- Part 3 highlights practices for ensuring the quality and integrity of the reports.
The best practices are based on different countries’ experiences in each area and are organised around specific reports for presentational reasons only. Different countries will have different reporting regimes and may have different areas of emphasis for transparency.
Since 2015, the Best Practices have been embodied and updated within the Recommendation on Budgetary Governance, which provides a comprehensive, integrated set of guidance on budget formulation, management and its links with other aspects of good public governance.
Available in English, French, Russian, Ukrainian, Arabic, Chinese, and Serbo-Croatian
Budget Transparency Toolkit (forthcoming)
Many international organisations, public and private, have devoted attention to budget transparency over the years.
Together, they comprise the international community of practitioners, experts and advocates, with a range of complementary perspectives and different authoritative guidance materials – including the IMF’s Fiscal Transparency Code, the PEFA Framework, the High-Level Principles of the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency (GIFT) and the Open Budget Index produced by the International Budget Partnership (IBP) – along with the OECD’s own standards as outlined above.