Trust and budgeting: Meeting the challenge of competence and values

Ronnie Downes (OECD) and Scherie Nicol (OECD)

The use of public money is another important domain in which trust can be easily lost. A government’s budget is a political appeal to voters; a statement of its programme ambitions; an opportunity for citizens, via parliaments, to express preferences and concerns; a ritual for legitimising public expenditure; and an accounting of past decisions and actions. Governments need to ensure that the budget decision-making process itself is open and provides for an inclusive, participative and realistic debate on budgetary choices, not simply provide access to information once spending decisions have been made. This chapter looks at current tools to promote fiscal transparency such as citizen’s budgets, which present key public finance information in a way accessible to a general audience, and independent bodies responsible for oversight of fiscal policy (independent fiscal institutions or IFIs).

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