Do Governments Report on Where the Money Goes
Financial Management Information Systems and Open Budget Data: Do governments report on where the money goes?' is a World Bank Study, initiated in 2012 after an extended stocktaking exercise, to explore the effects of Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS) on publishing reliable open budget data, as well as the potential improvements in budget transparency. A rich data set was created by visiting the government public finance web sites in 198 economies, and collecting evidence on the use of 176 FMIS in publishing open budget data. This study is not intended to develop another index or ranking on budget transparency. The scope is limited to the budget data disclosed by the governments on the web for the details of budget revenues and expenditures, as well as the results achieved. This is a tour around the world in search of reliable open budget data, in order to share some of the good practices and possible answers to a key question: 'Where does the money go?'. The primary audience for this study includes World Bank teams, government officials, oversight agencies, civil society groups, and other specialists involved in FMIS and Opend Budget Data projects.The study shows that, as of today, only a small group of governments provide opportunities to the citizens, civil society groups or oversight agencies for access to reliable, accurate, and meaningful open budget data from underlying FMIS solutions. However, there is an increase in demand from citizens and civil society for improved and complete open budget data about all financial activities, and many governments around the world are trying to respond to this democratic pressure. Several cases demonstrate that the innovative solutions to improve budget transparency can be developed rapidly with a modest investment even in difficult settings, if there is a political will and commitment. In order to further help governments within their endeavor and to encourage those who are showing little or no visibility of public finance information on the web, the report concludes with several achievable recommendations and guidelines on publishing open budget data benefiting from existing FMIS solutions.