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Serbia

Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures (RS0001)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia First Action Plan 2014-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of finance

Support Institution(s): The competent finance authorities of local self-government units (LSUs), Civil Society Organizations (CSOs)

Policy Areas

Capacity Building, Fiscal Transparency, Legislation & Regulation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Marginal

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

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

Commitment Text:

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

 

 

Commitment aim:

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. 

Status

Midterm: Substantial

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.

Carried forward?

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.


Serbia's Commitments

  1. 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

  2. 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

  3. 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

  4. Improve the System for Collecting Initiatives from Citizens and Businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  5. Introducing Standards for Civic Participation in the Public Policy Management System

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Improving Proactive Transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  8. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Draft a Bylaw Based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Improve the Institute of Public Hearing in the Drafting of Laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  11. 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

  12. 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

  13. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Establish a Single Public Register of Administrative Procedures and Other Conditions for Pursuing a Business Activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  16. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  18. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  19. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  20. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  21. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  22. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  23. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  24. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  25. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  26. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  27. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls