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United Kingdom

Open Budget Survey Document Availability Tracker

December 2016 Update

To recognize improvements and identify slippages in budget transparency between rounds of the biennial Open Budget Survey, we periodically assess the public availability of the eight key budget documents – an essential component of transparency. This update presents the results of the most recent of these interim assessments.

United Kingdom

Open Budget Survey 2015December 2016 Update
Pre-Budget StatementAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public
Executive's Budget ProposalAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public
Enacted BudgetAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public
Citizens BudgetAvailable to the PublicNot Produced
In-Year ReportsAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public
Mid-Year ReviewAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public
Year-End ReportAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public
Audit ReportAvailable to the PublicAvailable to the Public

As of 31 December 2016, government of the United Kingdom makes seven of eight key budget documents publicly available online in a timeframe consistent with international standards. This reflects a net decrease over the findings of the Open Budget Survey 2015, which assessed the availability of documents up to 30 June 2014. Since that assessment, the United Kingdom has failed to produce a Citizens Budget that meets international requirements. While the Treasury presents a summary of selected items from the budget, it does not adequately present some of the basic facts about the budget that should be part of a Citizens Budget.

To improve budget transparency, the United Kingdom should produce and publish a Citizens Budget that meets international requirements. For more information on the content that the eight key budget documents should contain, and the publication timeframe for each document, please see IBP’s Guide to Transparency in Government Budget Reports and the Open Budget Survey Guidelines on Public Availability of Budget Documents.


2015

Downloads:
Country Summary - English Questionnaire

Transparency (Open Budget Index) 75/100

The Government of the United Kingdom provides the public with substantial budget information.

Public Participation 58/100

The Government of the United Kingdom provides the public with limited opportunities to engage in the budget process.

Budget Oversight

By legislature 45/100

Budget oversight by the legislature in the United Kingdom is limited.

By auditor 92/100

Budget oversight by the supreme audit institution in the United Kingdom is adequate.

Recommendations 

Improving Transparency

The United Kingdom should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

  • Increase the comprehensiveness of the Executive’s Budget Proposal by presenting detailed spending information, including medium term estimates at a program level.
  • Increase the comprehensiveness of the Enacted Budget.
Improving Participation

The United Kingdom should prioritize the following actions to improve budget participation:

  • Establish credible and effective mechanisms (i.e., public hearings, surveys, focus groups) for capturing a range of public perspectives on budget matters. For example, HM Treasury could broaden its consultation practices, which currently focus on taxation, to seek public input on significant changes in public spending.
  • Hold legislative hearings on the budgets of specific ministries, departments, and agencies at which testimony from the public is heard.
  • Provide detailed feedback on how public assistance and participation has been used by the supreme audit institution.
Improving Oversight

The United Kingdom should prioritize the following actions to strengthen budget oversight:

  • Ensure the Executive’s Budget Proposal is provided to legislators at least three months before the start of the budget year.
  • In both law and practice, ensure the legislature is consulted prior to the spending of contingency funds that were not identified in the Enacted Budget.

 








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