Budget evaluation refers to the final stage of the budget cycle when there is an assessment of whether public resources have been used appropriately and effectively. In order for this stage to actually support good governance and the effective and efficient use of public resources, assessments of the budget implementation and its impact must include assessments by bodies that are independent of the government and that have sufficient capacity and resources to perform their task.
Almost every country legally mandates the existence of an entity to oversee public expenditures, often referred to as the supreme audit institution (SAI) but also known as the National Audit Office or the Auditor General. Unfortunately, these institutions often lack the requisite independence from the executive branch or the resources and capacity to ensure adequate oversight. Civil society organizations (CSOs) can often help to fill oversight gaps and support the SAI.
Another critical role for CSOs in the evaluation process is to use the findings from their analysis of audit reports and other efforts to evaluate the impact of budgets to pressure the legislature to follow up on audit recommendations.
CSOs can engage in and strengthen the Budget Evaluation process using the following methods: