Flagship Report

Fiscal Openness

What this is about:

On Monday September 24, 2018 we held a public consultation session on how to represent the theme of Fiscal Openness in the State of Open Government Report. (For more background and justification, please see here.) During the session we presented our preliminary ideas and approach to Fiscal Openness and asked for feedback on the best way to frame this topic, what is missing, and if there are other stakeholders we should talk to.

The purpose of this page is to provide a public space for written feedback for those of you who couldn’t attend the consultation or who would like to make your points in writing.  You can provide comments on the original framing, on the data being used for benchmarking and can suggest case studies to be featured.

What we heard from you:

  • There was a request to clarify the purpose of using third-party data as part of the report.  We look to integrate third-party data in the report as a way to track progress on a particular area –not just using IRM and action plan data but use other indicators to get a sense of how countries are doing globally in particular themes.
  • Some ideas for frontier issues within Fiscal Openness shared during the session were:
    • Moving from availability to usability: taking a look at how budget information is presented and what is presented. Countries may publish a budget, but it may not be published in a space that is helpful/meaningful.
    • Tax transparency: this is an emerging area where some partners, including IBP are starting to do research.
    • Focusing on impact: providing access to info on the impact of budget expenditures. Particularly in the area of gender and inclusion, exploring what the impact is on citizens and marginalized groups.
    • Emergence of a collaborative model: we are seeing cases where citizens and journalists/media can trigger “fire alarms” and investigations by accessing and using data on expenditures.
      • Austin example: local government is working on making data sets on expenditure more accessible to the press and others who have the capacity to use it in a meaningful way.
      • Buenos Aires example: the city government publishes its sanctioned budget with friendly visualization to help citizens understand. They also publish information on the executed budget on an open data format (CSV) in the open data portal of the city.
    • Enabling infrastructure: ensuring that channels, formats and content for participation are appropriate for the people that are participating. These are often the biggest stumbling blocks when talking about inclusion.
      • Oxfam research and potential case study: women participating in the budget conversation in Kenya.

How we plan in address/incorporate this feedback:

We plan to update our framing to incorporate an analysis on impact in addition to exploring participation and accountability.  We will explore cases that show a collaborative model, such as the example in Austin and Buenos Aires.

Where to next?

  • Next, we will update our approach and framing. (What’s currently in the “Thematic Strawmen” document listed above.)
  • We welcome your feedback below (in the public comment box) or to our email at research@opengovpartnership.org. We are going to close comments on Wednesday 31 October. If you would like to talk to us again, please reach out (at the same email) to schedule a phone call.
  • For some areas that we still need research, we are going to commission research by partners to help inform the final report.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the consultations during the live sessions and in writing!