Opening Government: Budgets
Print Page

Contributor: The International Budget Partnership

Governments raise and spend public funds to meet public needs.  To do this, governments must make good policy choices, execute these effectively, and be accountable for their decisions and actions.  This is more likely to happen in budget systems that are transparent, i.e., those in which the government provides the public with comprehensive, timely, accurate, and useful information. Without access to government budget information in a clear and precise format, the public will not be able to understand the government plans to collect and allocate budget resources or whether the government actually spent public funds in accordance to the budget and are therefore unable to hold the government accountable for the use of public funds.

Additionally, access to budget information is a critical but insufficient component of an open budget system. Recent research has shown that greater access to public information together with effective public engagement can help reduce corruption and enhance socioeconomic development. Open budget systems and public engagement in these, creates opportunities for the public to contribute their knowledge and expertise, specifically on budget priorities and execution, thereby improving the credibility of policy choices and the quality and effectiveness of government spending.