OECD Journal on Budgeting

Frequency :
1681-2336 (online)
1608-7143 (print)
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The OECD journal on public sector budgeting, published three times per year. It draws on the best of the recent work of the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials (SBO), as well as special contributions from finance ministries, and makes it available to a wider community in an accessible format. The journal provides insight on leading-edge institutional arrangements, systems and instruments for the allocation and management of resources in the public sector. Now published as a part of the OECD Journal subscription package.

Also available in: French

Volume 5, Issue 2 You do not have access to this content

Publication Date :
01 Feb 2006

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  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Accountability and Control of Public Spending in a Decentralised and Delegated Environment
Joaquin Sevilla
This article provides an overview of different accountability and control issues in public spending. In a decentralised environment, public spending needs  ome degree of fiscal discipline, favourable institutional relationships, a stable negotiation framework, management co-operation, permanent and transparent reporting, and reliable and co-operative control structures across levels of government. The article discusses elements such as the role of the supreme audit institution in external and legislative control, the creation of audit committees to reinforce internal control, the use of performance contracts between ministries and agencies to ensure accountability and the search for efficiency, the use of third-party providers in public service delivery (including publicprivate partnerships) and the implications for government monitoring and control, and the use of performance information and programme evaluation.
  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Fiscal Discipline between Levels of Government in Germany
Astrid L├╝bke
The essential actors in co-ordinating fiscal discipline in Germany are the Federation and the 16 Länder. This article presents an overview of the legal basis of the budgetary process and how it is designed with respect to Federation-Länder relations. Developments since 1945 are also described, including the budget reform of 1969, German adherence to the European Economic and Monetary Union, and the work of the Federalism Commission (2003-04). Particular instruments for fiscal discipline in the German context include the Financial Planning Council and the national stability pact, and their roles are described as well as the procedures for submission of budget accounts and accounting control.
  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Fiscal Discipline in a Decentralised Administration
Miguel Miaja
This article analyses the experience of the Spanish government in achieving financial equilibrium between 1998 and 2003 and the institutional mechanisms for maintaining budget stability. Spain has a high degree of fiscal decentralisation; thus compliance with the budget discipline requirements of the European Stability and Growth Pact is somewhat complex. To ensure that all levels of government contribute to fulfilling Spain’s commitments under the SGP, budget stability legislation was passed in 2001. Main features are the prominent role of the central government in setting objectives and the responsibility of all levels of administration for those objectives. Though the public sector deficit has been significantly reduced in the period under study, some reforms to the legislation are currently being envisaged.
  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Accountability and Control in the Financing of Local Government in Denmark
Jorgen Lotz
In Denmark, nearly all public services for individuals and families are delegated to local authorities, resulting in high quality and flexible delivery. The financing of these services is mostly ensured by tax revenues determined by the individual local authority but linked to the central government income tax. Local accountability in this regard has recently been called into question. Although local borrowing is strictly controlled, the system of grants and equalisation does not give incentives for cost efficiency in local government. Other accountability instruments (matching grants, general grants, the long tradition of negotiations) are analysed in light of their impact on control.
  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Enhancing Public Accountability in the Netherlands
Freek Hoek, Cor van Montfort, Cees Vermeer
This article focuses on non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) in the Netherlands that are funded by public money and whose task is defined by law. In terms of public spending, the service delivery role of NDPBs is quite extensive, and they are investing in new ways of enhancing their efficiency, the quality of their services, and the confidence of those with whom they deal. The notion of broad public accountability applies: NDPBs are not only accountable to the responsible minister and to Parliament (vertical accountability) but to a wider range of stakeholders within civil society (social accountability, customer accountability). Internal accountability (supervisory boards) also has a role to play. The interrelationships are explored and various instruments are described, including performance contracts, annual reports, the role of ministers, and international social reporting standards.
  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Lessons from Australian and British Reforms in Results oriented Financial Management
Bram Scheers, Miekatrien Sterck, Geert Bouckaert
 Reform of government financial management systems in the past decade has seen developments in accrual accounting and in results-based budgeting and reporting. Australia has worked with an accrual-based framework for outcomes and outputs budgeting and reporting since fiscal year 1999/2000. The United Kingdom moved to a resource-based (or accrual-based) financial management system in April 2001. This article evaluates the Australian and British reforms, including aspects such as parliamentary control, political accountability, the role of managers, the political decision-making process, financial control, and critical factors for success or failure.
  01 Feb 2006 Click to Access:  Performance Information in the Budget Process
Teresa Curristine
Based on the results of the OECD 2005 questionnaire on performance information, this article provides an overview of the development and use of performance measures and evaluations in the budget process across OECD countries. This trend is both widespread and long-term. However, questions remain about the real extent of change and if and how performance information is used in budgetary decision making. The article examines: the different institutional roles and responsibilities in developing performance information; the main trends, challenges and success factors for implementation and how this information is used in the budget process; and what factors contribute to its use or lack of use. The article also classifies different approaches to performance budgeting. Two significant findings are that the majority of countries engage in performance-informed budgeting at the Ministry of Finance level (that is, performance information is most often used along with other information to inform but not to determine budget allocations) and that the main reason for not using performance information is the lack of a method to integrate it into the budget process.
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