Skip Navigation

Fiscal Openness

Fiscal openness encompasses a wide range of practices and interventions aimed at promoting transparency, participation and accountability in fiscal policies.

Every year, governments collect and spend billions of taxpayer funds on policies that impact citizens directly and substantially, such as in education and health care. Citizens have a right to know how their governments are collecting and spending their money. Fiscal openness across the budget and fiscal cycle – through transparency, public participation and legislative oversight – allows citizens to hold their government accountable and reduce waste. Over time, open budgeting can ensure that government spending reflects the people’s interests and needs.

Open budgets have been one of the mainstays of the open government movement. While much progress has been made in budget transparency through OGP action plans, improving public participation and accountability – areas with the most potential for results – remain challenges.

Recommendations – updated May 2019

  • Participation gets results: OGP members can consider moving beyond budget transparency and look for ways to increase citizen participation throughout the entire budget cycle. According to early IRM data, commitments that encouraged public participation in budgeting significantly opened up decision-making processes.
  • Sector-specific budgeting can improve public service delivery: OGP members can consider applying open and participatory budgeting to the health, education, and environmental sectors, etc.
  • Gender budgeting and inclusion: OGP members can use budgeting as an opportunity to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment by including gender-responsive budget reviews – budgeting that ensures that public resources are allocated in ways that promote gender-equitable spending and represent the interests of all citizens.

Model Commitments

Initial Commitments

  • Allow public access to budget hearings in the legislature
  • Publish a Citizens’ Budget
  • Publish Executive’s Budget Proposal and Audit Reports
  • Publish the four core budget documents

Intermediate Commitments

  • Consult with the public on budget preparation
  • Enable effective oversight by legislatures and supreme audit institutions
  • Publish all budget reports as open data
  • Publish all eight key budget reports

Advanced Commitments

  • Enable citizen participation in budgeting
  • Publish information on resources received by service delivery units
  • Publish off budget financial information

Innovative Commitments

  • Fully implement the GIFT Principles on fiscal transparency

Related Content

Lessons from Reformers: Municipal budget and spending data for water in the Netherlands

Starting in 2015, Dutch local governments began providing financial data through a web portal at However, this data was initially only available at the aggregate level, making it difficult to access critical detailed and local information...

View from Tara mountain in Serbia, Europe. Drina river in the distance.

Lessons from Reformers: Serbia

Serbia’s first OGP action plan (2014–2016) had an explicitly ambitious commitment on the transparent funding of CSOs. It aimed to make transparent the public funding that CSOs received from the government...

Show More