From the Open Budgets Blog
What Do Scandals in Brazil and South Africa Tell Us About the Link Between Transparency and Corruption?
IBP research has shown that governments have a variety of motives for disclosing fiscal information. While many of these drivers have little to do with the fight against corruption, access to budget information does make it possible for civil society to spot and denounce cases of government mismanagement and graft. Citing recent high-profile examples from South Africa and Brazil, IBP’s Paolo De Renzio examines the link between transparency and corruption.
Social audits are a powerful tool. But knowing how and when to use them, and understanding their underlying principles, are key to their effectiveness. IBP’s Albert van Zyl shares highlights from a recent meeting that brought together some of South Africa’s leading experts in social audits.
For budgets to be truly open, governments must not only provide information but also meaningful opportunities for citizens and civil society to engage in budget processes. As 51 countries prepare to draft new national action plans for the Open Government Partnership, IBP’s David Robins looks at what commitments are needed to ensure progress on budget transparency and participation.
New IBP Publications
Governments are increasingly using the digital space as the main avenue for disseminating fiscal information. Despite the ubiquity of budget websites, there have been relatively few attempts to systematically examine government practices in disclosing budget information on the Internet. Fundar, a Mexican Civil Society Organization, teamed up with IBP to assess how well governments are doing at disclosing budget information online. The research looks at websites and portals for 80 countries included in the Open Budget Survey 2015, using four dimensions (scope, accessibility, reliability, and feedback) to measure their effectiveness.
This Budget Brief compliments Fundar’s examination of 80 government budget websites and portals and proposes a set of policy recommendations for improving how governments are disclosing budget information online.
In much of the West Bank, there are rampant problems in the funding and delivery of government services and infrastructure projects. This case study follows the efforts of Palestine’s Teacher Creativity Centre (TCC) to mobilize students to conduct social audits of public services, demonstrating the challenges and benefits of involving students in strategies for social accountability.
Further Reading From the Field
- The World Bank’s Budget Work Map is an interactive map that visualizes the growing role civil society plays in the fiscal realm worldwide, providing information about how budget work is carried out around the world.
- The Open Government Partnership released 26 of 38 country Progress Reports by its Independent Reporting Mechanism. The reports show that a number of governments have made noteworthy progress in combatting corruption and opening up government to input from civil society.
- The January 2016 Institute of Development Studies Bulletin reviews recent scholarship on opening governance. It aims to highlight the latest research relevant to practitioners working for more open, transparent, accountable, and responsive governance.
- A new project website from The GovLab offers a repository of case studies documenting the social and economic impact of open data in improving government, empowering citizens, creating opportunities, and solving public problems.
- The Sustainable Development Solutions Network’s Getting Started with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): A Guide for Stakeholders aims to help stakeholders understand the SDG agenda, start an inclusive dialogue on SDG implementation, and prepare SDG-based national development strategies.
- Too much focus on the technical aspects of government delivery eclipses political authority and incentives according to “Too Much Science, Not Enough Art,” a new paper from the Africa Governance Initiative.
In a piece for U.S. News & World Report, Vivek Ramkumar and Diego de la Mora explain the progress Mexican officials have made in implementing transparent budget practices, as well as the challenges ahead.
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