Contents
Transparency:
55
/100
(Open Budget Index score)
Public Participation:
9
/100
Budget Oversight:
56
/100

Government budget decisions – what taxes to levy, what services to provide, and how much debt to take on – affect how equal a society is and the well-being of its people, including whether the most disadvantaged will have real opportunities for a better life. It is critical that governments inform and engage the public on these vital decisions that impact their lives.

The Open Budget Survey (OBS) is the world’s only independent, comparative and fact-based research instrument that uses internationally accepted criteria to assess public access to central government budget information; formal opportunities for the public to participate in the national budget process; and the role of budget oversight institutions such as the legislature and auditor in the budget process.

The survey helps local civil society assess and confer with their government on the reporting and use of public funds. This 7th edition of the OBS covers 117 countries.

Transparency

This part of the OBS measures public access to information on how the central government raises and spends public resources. It assesses the online availability, timeliness, and comprehensiveness of eight key budget documents using 109 equally weighted indicators and scores each country on a scale of 0 to 100. A transparency score of 61 or above indicates a country is likely publishing enough material to support informed public debate on the budget.

Chile has a transparency score of 55 (out of 100).

Transparency in Chile compared to others

Global Average
45
OECD Average
68
Brazil
81
Peru
76
Argentina
58
Chile
55
Colombia
47
Paraguay
46
Ecuador
38
Bolivia
12
Venezuela
0
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Chile’s ranking: 42 of 117 countries

0
100

How has the transparency score for Chile changed over time?

72
2010
66
2012
58
2015
57
2017
55
2019
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

Note: changes were made to some of the transparency indicators between 2012 and 2015, but numerous checks were run and confirmed comparability of country scores over time. In the case of Chile, some of the score variations are explained by changes in the assessment of specific indicators, to ensure consistency across countries.

Public availability of budget documents in Chile

Available to the Public
Published Late, or Not Published Online, or Produced for Internal Use Only
Not Produced
Scroll
Document 2010 2012 2015 2017 2019
Pre-Budget Statement
Executive’s Budget Proposal
Enacted Budget
Citizens Budget
In-Year Reports
Mid-Year Review
Year-End Report
Audit Report

How comprehensive is the content of the key budget documents that Chile makes available to the public?

61-100 / 100
41-60 / 100
1-40 / 100
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Key budget document Document purpose and contents Fiscal year assessed Document content score
Pre-Budget Statement Discloses the broad parameters of fiscal policies in advance of the Executive's Budget Proposal; outlines the government's economic forecast, anticipated revenue, expenditures, and debt. 2019 Internal Use
Executive’s Budget Proposal Submitted by the executive to the legislature for approval; details the sources of revenue, the allocations to ministries, proposed policy changes, and other information important for understanding the country's fiscal situation. 2019 55
Enacted Budget The budget that has been approved by the legislature. 2018 89
Citizens Budget A simpler and less technical version of the government's Executive’s Budget Proposal or the Enacted Budget, designed to convey key information to the public. 2019 33
In-Year Reports Include information on actual revenues collected, actual expenditures made, and debt incurred at different intervals; issued quarterly or monthly. 2018 89
Mid-Year Review A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget as of the middle of the fiscal year; includes a review of economic assumptions and an updated forecast of budget outcomes. 2018 70
Year-End Report Describes the situation of the government's accounts at the end of the fiscal year and, ideally, an evaluation of the progress made toward achieving the budget's policy goals. 2017 64
Audit Report Issued by the supreme audit institution, this document examines the soundness and completeness of the government's year-end accounts. 2016 Not Produced

Chile’s transparency score of 55 in the OBS 2019 is near its score in 2017.

What changed in OBS 2019?

Chile has decreased the availability of budget information by:

Failing to provide information around fiscal risks and on performance information in its Executive's Budget Proposal.

Recommendations

Chile should prioritize the following actions to improve budget transparency:

Publish the Pre-Budget Statement online in a timely manner.
Produce and publish the Audit Report online in a timely manner.
Improve information related to financial projections for the budget year, as well as non-financial data, in the Executive's Budget Proposal.
Implement concrete mechanisms to identify specific requirements of citizens in order to create the Citizen Budget.

Public Participation

Transparency alone is insufficient for improving governance. Inclusive public participation is crucial for realizing the positive outcomes associated with greater budget transparency.

The OBS also assesses the formal opportunities offered to the public for meaningful participation in the different stages of the budget process. It examines the practices of the central government’s executive, the legislature, and the supreme audit institution (SAI) using 18 equally weighted indicators, aligned with the Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency’s Principles of Public Participation in Fiscal Policies , and scores each country on a scale from 0 to 100.

Chile has a public participation score of 9 (out of 100).

Public participation in Chile compared to others

Global Average
14
OECD Average
23
Ecuador
28
Peru
26
Brazil
17
Colombia
17
Argentina
15
Bolivia
15
Chile
9
Paraguay
6
Venezuela
0
0
Insufficient
61
Sufficient
100

For more information, see here for innovative public participation practices around the world.

Extent of opportunities for public participation in the budget process

0
/100
Formulation
(executive)
11
/100
Approval
(legislature)
0
/100
Implementation
(executive)
44
/100
Audit
(supreme audit institution)

few: 0 - 40; limited: 41 - 60; adequate: 61 - 100

Recommendations

To further strengthen public participation in the budget process, Chile's Minsiterio de Hacienda should prioritize the following actions:

Pilot mechanisms to engage the public during budget formulation and to monitor budget implementation.
Actively engage with vulnerable and underrepresented communities, directly or through civil society organizations representing them.

Chile's Congreso Nacional has established public hearings related to the approval of the annual budget, but should also prioritize the following actions:

Establish official mechanisms that expedite the participation of citizens or civil society organizations in budget committee hearings before the approval of the budget. These mechanisms, once created, must be widely disseminated by the Congreso Nacional.
Promote the participation of civil society organizations during the budget discussion stage in areas such as macroeconomics, projections of fiscal revenues, the deficit and public debt, and investment projects.

Chile's Contraloría General de la República has established mechanisms for the development of its audit program. It should prioritize the following actions to improve public participation in the budget process:

Establish formal mechanisms (surveys, key witnesses) for the public to contribute to relevant audit investigations.

Budget Oversight

The OBS also examines the role that legislatures and supreme audit institutions (SAIs) play in the budget process and the extent to which they provide oversight; each country is scored on a scale from 0 to 100 based on 18 equally weighted indicators. In addition, the survey collects supplementary information on independent fiscal institutions (see Box).

The legislature and supreme audit institution in Chile, together, provide limited oversight during the budget process, with a composite oversight score of 56 (out of 100). Taken individually, the extent of each institution’s oversight is shown below:

Legislative oversight

0
50
100
limited

Audit oversight

0
67
100
adequate

weak: 0 - 40; limited: 41 - 60; adequate: 61 - 100

Recommendations

Chile's Congreso Nacional provides adequate oversight during the planning stage of the budget cycle and weak oversight during the implementation stage. To improve oversight, the following actions should be prioritized:

A budgetary analysis unit should provide technical support to the Congreso Nacional, in the style of how the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) supports the American Congress.
The legislature should debate budget policy before the Executive’s Budget Proposal is tabled and approve recommendations for the upcoming budget.
A legislative committee should examine in-year budget implementation and publish reports with their findings online.
In practice, ensure the legislature is consulted before the executive shifts funds specified in the Enacted Budget between administrative units; spends any unanticipated revenue; or reduces spending due to revenue shortfalls during the budget year.
A legislative committee should examine the Audit Report and publish a report with their findings online.

To strengthen independence and improve audit oversight by Chile's Contraloría General de la República, the following actions are recommended:

Increase resources and ensure they are sufficient for the auditor to be able to carry out its legal mandate.
Ensure audit processes are reviewed by an independent agency.

The emerging practice of establishing independent fiscal institutions

Chile, as of the cut-off date of this evaluation (31/12/2018), did not have an independent fiscal institution (IFI). IFIs are increasingly recognized as valuable independent and nonpartisan information providers to the Executive and/or Parliament during the budget process.

In 2019 Chile made progress in the creation of an IFI, the Autonomous Fiscal Council, which is currently in operation. However, this information was not considered in this round's survey, because it was established after the data collection cut-off date.

*Indicators for IFIs are *not* scored in the Open Budget Survey.

Methodology

  • Only documents published and events, activities, or developments that took place through 31 December 2018 were assessed in the OBS 2019.
     
  • The survey is based on a questionnaire completed in each country by an independent budget expert:
    Manuel Henríquez
    Observatorio del Gasto Fiscal de Chile
    Don Carlos 2986, Oficina 3, Las Condes, Región Metropolitana
    [email protected]; [email protected]
  • To further strengthen the research, each country’s draft questionnaire is also reviewed by an anonymous independent expert, and in Chile by a representative of the Minsiterio de Hacienda.

 

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