OECD Best Practices for Budget Transparency

The relationship between good governance and better economic and social outcomes is increasingly acknowledged. Transparency – openness about policy intentions, formulation and implementation – is a key element of good governance.
The budget is the single most important policy document of governments, where policy objectives are reconciled and implemented in concrete terms. Budget transparency is defined as the full disclosure of all relevant fiscal information in a timely and systematic manner.


OECD Member countries are at the forefront of budget transparency practices.
At its 1999 annual meeting, the OECD Working Party of Senior Budget Officials asked the Secretariat to draw together a set of Best Practices in this area based on Member countries’ experiences.
The Best Practices are in three parts.
Part 1 lists the principal budget reports that governments should produce and their general content.
Part 2 describes specific disclosures to be contained in the reports. This includes both financial and non-financial performance information.
Part 3 highlights practices for ensuring the quality and integrity of the reports.
The Best Practices are designed as a reference tool for Member and nonmember countries to use in order to increase the degree of budget transparency in their respective countries.
The Best Practices are organised around specific reports for presentational reasons only. It is recognised that different countries will have different reporting regimes and may have different areas of emphasis for transparency.
The Best Practices are based on different Member countries’ experiences in each area. It should be stressed that the Best Practices are not meant to constitute a formal “standard” for budget transparency.