IDS working papers;279

Budget analysis and policy advocacy : the role of non-governmental public action

Published on 1 January 2006

This paper examines the impact and significance of independent budget analysis
and advocacy initiatives that are designed to improve budget transparency and
the poverty focus of government expenditure priorities. It draws on case study
research of six budget groups in Brazil, Croatia, India, Mexico, South Africa, and
Uganda, which include non-governmental organisations, research institutions
and social movements. The findings demonstrate that civil society budget initiatives
contribute to improvements in the transparency of budgetary decisions and
the budget process, increased budget awareness and literacy, and deeper
engagement in the budget process on the part of legislators, the media and
civil society organisations. While the structure of the budget process makes substantial
changes in expenditure priorities difficult to achieve, budget groups
directly contribute to positive impacts on budget allocations and improved
implementation, thereby increasing the accountability of decision-makers.
Tracking of budgetary expenditures and impacts was also found to be effective
in ensuring effective utilisation of education and health expenditures. Increased
budget allocations and improved utilisation of public funds that benefit poor and
disadvantaged groups can ensure greater equity in budget priorities and further
social justice objectives. The activities of budget groups strengthen democracy
by fostering accountability, enhancing transparency and deepening participation
and voice.
Keywords: civil society; budgets; public expenditure; advocacy; accountability;

Publication details

published by
Robinson, Mark


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