Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures (RS0001)
Action Plan: Serbia First Action Plan 2014-2015
Action Plan Cycle: 2014
Lead Institution: Ministry of finance
Support Institution(s): The competent finance authorities of local self-government units (LSUs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)
Policy AreasCapacity Building, Fiscal Transparency, Legislation & Regulation
Control and accountability are of particular importance when it comes to the management of public resources, i.e. funds contributed by citizens for effective and efficient management of public affairs in accordance with the general interest. Level of compliance with these standards in Serbia is not yet satisfactory. The public is not fully informed, in understandable manner, with budget planning process and expenditure. With the aim of increasing transparency in budgetary spending, from January 1st, 2015 the program-based budgeting system will be implemented in the Republic of Serbia, which will contribute to determination of the specific purpose for which the funds are being spent, and how such expenditure is related to medium-term objectives, for all budgetary spending. In this regard, the Ministry of Finance has issued the Program Budgeting Guidelines and implemented a training program for development of program-based budget for civil servants.
The implementation of provisions of the Budget System Law related to obligation to publish the reports on budget execution, will also contribute to increasing transparency in spending budget funds.
IRM End of Term Status Summary
Commitment 1. Transparency in monitoring budget expenditures
1. Publication of the Annual Report on the work of Budget Inspection submitted to the Government for consideration and adoption
a. Annual Reports published on the website of the Ministry of Finance and available to all interested parties.
2. Publication of the Report on Budget Execution which Minister, i.e. local self- government unit department responsible for finance, submit at least twice a year to the Government, i.e. to the competent authority of local self-government unit, for consideration and adoption, and submitting the same to the National Assembly, or Parliament of the local self-government.
a. Reports published on the websites of state administration authorities and local self-government units, and available to all interested parties.
3. Publication of Civil Budget Document which in clear, simply, and understandable way, concisely summarizes the Budget of the Republic of Serbia to citizens.
4. Publication of Civil Budget Document which in clear, simply, and understandable way, concisely summarizes the Budget of the local self-government.
Responsible Institution(s): Ministry of Finance
Supporting Institution(s): The competent finance authorities of local self-government units (LSUs) and civil society organizations (CSOs)
Start Date: Quarter I 2015 End Date: Ongoing
This commitment aimed at enhancing fiscal transparency by raising the wider public’s knowledge and understanding about local- and central-level budget spending. Furthermore, this commitment intended to increase the transparency of budget expenditures by providing the public with annual budget documents that are clear and understandable.
Annual reports were published on the website of the Ministry of Finance and the Civil Budget Document of the Republic of Serbia was also published in the first year of the action plan cycle, although the publication of annual reports was not completed within the envisioned timeline. The publication of local self-government[Note 1: In accordance with the Law on Self-Government, local government in Serbia is divided into local self-government units (LSUs) (Nos. 129/2007 and 83/2014), which is the terminology used in Serbia's 2014-2015 Action Plan and used throughout this report.] units’ (LSU) budget execution reports and of the local self-government Civil Budget Document, which focused on the LSUs, was limited. Concerning the publication of the self-government budget execution reports, only 46 percent of LSUs published their budget execution reports. With regards to the Civil Budget Document of the local self-government, the midterm report used a random sample of LSUs and found that none published a civil budget document. For more information, please see the 2014-2015 Serbian midterm IRM report.
End of term: Substantial
The Ministry of Finance continues to release budget execution reports and makes these updates monthly.[Note 2: Republic of Serbia, Budget Execution Report (Report, June 2016), [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2fIbMhQ ] However, the publication of the self-government budget execution reports is similar to the progress made for the midterm report. A random sample taken by the IRM researchers of 48 LSUs[Note 3: The random sample used for this report was different from the one used for the midterm report. The difference was to assure an objective comparison on local level progress on these milestones. Additionally, in accordance with the Regulation on Establishing a Unified List of Regional Development and Local Government Units for 2014, there are four local self-government units categorized in terms of their economic development. The random sample accounted for these differences by using an equal number of units from each category.] revealed that less than 50 percent of units published budget execution reports. The same sample of self-government units was used to assess the completion of the publication of the Civil Budget Document. The IRM researchers found that some progress has been made, given that the previous sample had not revealed any self-government unit with a published Civil Budget Document. The current sample found two units published these documents. Additional research found that, 10 self-government units released their Civil Budget through a civil society project titled “Participative budgeting.”[Note 4: A list of LSUs and their civil budget documents can be found online. Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, “First Citizens’ Guide of the Budget in 10 Local Communities in Serbia,” 28 April 2016, [Serbian] http://bit.ly/2gy9ALW; “Citizens Choose Favourite [sic] Projects in Participatory Budgeting,” Balkan Investigative Reporting Network, 30 December 2015, http://bit.ly/2gyiVDs ] Given the small percentage of local municipalities that required documents, progress on these two local-level milestones remains limited. Hence, although the commitment was completed in relation to the central level, overall completion remains substantial.
Did it open government?
Access to information: Marginal
The general public in Serbia is not well acquainted with budget planning or expenditures processes at the central or local level. According to the Open Budget Index,[Note 5: “Serbia,” Open Budget Index, International Budget Partnership, http://bit.ly/2g7gzGW%5D the Serbian Government provides “limited budget information,” and this commitment intended to change this trend. The government aimed to increase the transparency of budget spending and the public’s understanding of budget planning and expenditures by publishing budget execution reports and civil budget documents. Because of the amount of new government information provided, this commitment provided a positive step toward enabling CSOs to monitor and evaluate budget expenditures. It also is a positive step toward informing the wider public through the civil budget documents.
Given that the level of completion of the two milestones remained limited by focusing on the LSUs, access to information changed only marginally. More extensive progress was made at the central level because the national civil budget and national budget execution reports continue to be published.
During the course of the pre-publication review, Serbia adopted their action plan for 2016-2018. In accordance with the latest document, none of the activities from this commitment were carried over.
Develop a Model of Job Description or Part of Job Description of an Officer Responsible for Cooperation with Civil Society in Local Administration
RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building
Organise Trainings for Public Administration Officers in Connection with the Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations
RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building
Organise Trainings for CSO in Connection with Application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations
RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve the System for Collecting Initiatives from Citizens and Businesses
RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building
Introducing Standards for Civic Participation in the Public Policy Management System
RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building
Improving Proactive Transparency – Information Booklet
RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building
Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation
Development of an Open Data Portal
RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building
Draft a Bylaw Based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites
RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building
Improve the Institute of Public Hearing in the Drafting of Laws
RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation
Development of a Uniform Methodology for Planning, Monitoring and Performance Evaluation of Programmes and Projects Implemented by Civil Society Organisations and Monitoring the Spending of Allocated Funds
RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building
Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest Implemented by Associations
RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building
Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business
RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building
Establish a Single Public Register of Administrative Procedures and Other Conditions for Pursuing a Business Activity
RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building
Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures
RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building
Law on Financing Political Activities
RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Transparent Public Procurement Procedures
RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement
Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations
RS0004, 2014, Civic Space
Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency
RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions
Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns
RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation
Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration
RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls
e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application
RS0008, 2014, E-Government
Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance
RS0009, 2014, E-Government
New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services
RS0010, 2014, E-Government
Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking
RS0011, 2014, Civic Space
Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs
RS0012, 2014, Public Participation
Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy
RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls