Supporting Open Budgets
The allocation and spending of national budgets are crucial for citizens’ understanding of its government’s plans for development and to improve transparency and accountability.
Public Financial Management (PFM): Understanding and improving the PFM process is essential for the government’s financial officers and those who interact with the process to make it more transparent and efficient. The World Bank Institute (WBI) is designing an e-learning course on PFM with 20 modules that will enable participants to address central topics and learn the skills needed to be proficient with PFM.
The course will be online in order to reach a wider audience and provide anonymity that helps participants work better. Participants can also connect and share experiences with each other through online message boards. Coursework includes, budget overviews and execution, resource allocation, public finance and service delivery, reporting, auditing, procurement among others.
WBI is also using creating tools such as BOOST to simplify and analyze the public expenditure review system.
Public Accounts Committees (PACs): WBI is working to foster parliamentary networks to act as platforms for South-South exchanges and structured learning. In this role it has organized several conferences of public accounts committees in Africa and South Asia. These conferences bring together PACs staff, Auditors-Generals, Audit Office staff, procurement staff and civil society. These conferences aim to enhance the capacity of members of the public accounts committees in the financial management process. They also try to identify synergies between PAC’s role in budget oversight and procurement monitoring networks in West Africa.
Budgeting in the public sector is inherently complex as budget documents can comprise thousands of pages, the format of the budget is not always easily understandable, and thorough analysis can take a lot of time. Budget scrutiny can be a daunting challenge facing legislators when they are asked to consider the annual revenue and expenditure proposals of the government. At the same time, the influence of national legislatures on budget policy has declined in many industrialized countries. Many legislatures are rethinking their role in the budget process and reasserting themselves as more active players. WBI has put together several courses to build the capacity of parliamentarians and parliamentary staff to effectively participate in the budget process.