Webinar: Citizen Budgets
Juan Pablo Guerrero, International Budget Partnership (IBP)
Ricardo Barientos, International Budget Partnership (IBP)
Governments can encourage citizen participation by creating conditions that enable them to engage in a meaningful way. These conditions include providing ready access to government information. However, where the government’s work is highly technical, it is not sufficient to simply disclose specialized documents. Access to Information means using formats to access information in a language that ordinary people can understand and appreciate. This is particularly true of government budgets. Having access to key budget documents – the executive’s budget, the budget as enacted by the legislature, expenditure reports etc. – is essential to developing a full and clear picture of how the government is raising and spending its money. But it is not sufficient. Budget reports need to be understandable to the people who need to know regardless of their academic degrees or professional background.
That is why it is necessary to produce a citizen’s budget, a document that is aimed especially for people without technical education. A citizen’s budget should be accessible to a reader who does not have prior budgetary knowledge and/or related technical expertise. From the perspective of the ordinary person, it may be the most important budget document because it is the only of its kind that is government-produced and explicitly developed for the public. At the same time, such a document offers the government an opportunity to enhance public knowledge about the budget and therefore, it becomes a medium through which leaders can communicate their perspective about the budget to a broad audience. A citizen’s budget is also a way of encouraging the people themselves to participate in a range of governmental affairs; when it’s content is appropriate and the presentation accessible and encouraging, it can service as an invaluable tool in helping to initiate a dialogue between government and citizens.
This Webinar will draw on the experiences of governments that have produced citizen’s budgets. The session will provide step-by-step guidance for producing a citizen’s budget and will include suggestions on how to meet challenges that often arise as a government seeks to do this.
Date & Time
March 7, 2012
08:30 – 09:30 CST | 09:30 EST | 14:30 GMT