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Transparency – openness about policy intentions, formulation and implementation – is a key element of good governance. The budget is the single most important policy document of governments, where policy objectives are reconciled and implemented in concrete terms. Budget transparency is defined as the full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner.
The "OECD Best Practices on Budget Transparency" 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 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 organised around specific reports for presentational reasons only. It is recognised that different countries will have different reporting regimes and may have different areas of emphasis for transparency.
The best practices are based on different countries’ experiences in each area. It should be stressed that the best practices are not meant to constitute a formal “standard” for budget transparency.