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.
|Open Budget Survey 2015||December 2016 Update|
|Pre-Budget Statement||Available to the Public||Available to the Public|
|Executive's Budget Proposal||Available to the Public||Available to the Public|
|Enacted Budget||Available to the Public||Available to the Public|
|Citizens Budget||Available to the Public||Not Produced|
|In-Year Reports||Available to the Public||Available to the Public|
|Mid-Year Review||Available to the Public||Available to the Public|
|Year-End Report||Available to the Public||Available to the Public|
|Audit Report||Available to the Public||Available 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.