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The International Budget Partnership has just published the results for the Open Budget Survey 2017—an independent, comparative biennial evaluation of the three pillars of public budget accountability: transparency, oversight and public participation. For its sixth round, the survey evaluated 115 countries, 13 countries more than the previous 2015 edition. Australia is one of the countries being surveyed for the first time; making an entrance in the last spot of the Top 12.

In 2017, the survey finds that many governments around the world are making less information available about how they raise and spend public money, assessing that 89 out of the 115 countries fail to make sufficient budget information publicly available. Thus, after a decade of steady progress, there was a modest decline in average global budget transparency scores (which are based on a 100-point scale) from 45 in 2015 to 43 in 2017, for the 102 countries that were surveyed in both rounds. This is in significant contrast to the average increase of roughly two points among comparable countries documented in each round of the Open Budget Survey between 2008 and 2015. A reversal of transparency gains undermines the ability of citizens worldwide to hold their government accountable for managing public funds, the International Budget Partnership affirms.

Moreover, with an average global score of 12 out of 100, the survey considers that most countries fail to provide meaningful opportunities for the public to participate in the budget process. The scores of 111 countries qualified as weak, and no country was found to offer adequate opportunities for participation, which would require a score of 61 or higher.

As a third pillar, well-funded and independent oversight institutions, such as supreme audit institutions and legislatures, are critical for better budget planning and implementation. Although the basic conditions are in place in 75 of the countries, the survey found that only 32 countries have adequate oversight practices, which remain limited in 47 countries, and weak in 36 of them.

The survey nevertheless points to opportunities to overcome these challenges. Although overall global transparency has declined from 2015, the level of transparency in 2017 remains above where it was a decade ago, and published documents contain slightly more information now than they did in previous years, even if there was a decline in their overall numbers. IBP executive director Warren Krafchik suggests that most countries could, in fact, quickly improve transparency by making the documents they already produce publicly available, particularly online.

A launch for Australia’s country report will be held at a later date; please keep an eye out for the event announcement in this page.

For the full report, including recommendations, and other resources, such as country-specific results, please visit


Further reading: Full report | Rankings | Results by country | Australia country summaryData explorer

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