Strengthening parliamentary oversight of public finances is a vital element of improving governance, transparency and accountability.
It ensures effective delivery of public services and that tax payers’ money is raised and spent properly. In most political systems, parliaments have a role in approving budgets as well as reviewing government spending to ensure that funds are used properly, efficiently and effectively.
In recent years, WFD supported many parliaments with the budget process. This work focused particularly on the oversight role exercised by Committees, including Public Accounts Committees (PACs). Parliaments need the right skills to play a more active and rigorous role scrutinising and challenging budget proposals. In response to this need, many parliaments have established, or are establishing, parliamentary budget offices or other such in-house expertise to provide independent financial and economic analysis.
What is a Parliamentary Budget Office?
A semi-independent financial institution that seeks to help parliaments monitor the governments’ fiscal and economic policies by providing non-partisan analysis in a user-friendly format accessible to MPs. These publications are made available to parliamentarians, committees and the public more widely, making economic policies and public finances easier to understand. WFD’s work to help establish PBOs in the Western Balkans region is one of its greatest achievements to date and has encouraged countries in other regions to adopt similar initiatives.