IMPACT WORKSTREAMS

Technical collaboration and peer learning for meaningful openness

Facilitating country-level support and effective dialogue between and among budget officials and civil society through harnessing fiscal openness experiences, practical tools and innovations

Why learn

with GIFT?

GIFT is uniquely positioned to generate the collective actions needed within its Stewards to adopt meaningful fiscal openness. Throughout the past five years, the constant coordination of interaction and peer-support has created a community of practitioners with a shared mission and goals. Within its members, GIFT is perceived as a trusted partner to support their progress and innovation, as well as an open and neutral ground for discussion around the future and challenges related to the agenda. The GIFT network model of peer-collaboration has been at the core of achieving high impact results that extend further than the specific actions of the GIFT Coordination Team, it:

  • Promotes trust among peers to collaborate in sharing knowledge and tools. We have organized countless in-person or online peer-learning activities by identifying shared objectives, good practices and challenges among Stewards, as well as yearly community events where representatives of all organizations share their progress and challenges, enabling honest and practical collaboration.
  • Enables economies of scale in advancing the agenda, whether it requires legal reforms, changes in processes or the adoption of digital tools. The identification of good practices, as well as challenges and failures, shorten the path of the members in achieving their goals. Additionally, members also share practical tools for publication and/or on the use of fiscal information, including opening their code for digital platforms as well as methodologies.
  • Facilitates the conversation between civil society and governments in a collaborative form. The discourse and actions, in general, of the Stewards have shifted from improving in a normative sense against national and international standards, to adopting a user-centered approach for relevant fiscal transparency -where norms and international standards remain observed, while also importantly considering and engaging potential users throughout processes.
  • Creates a race to the top for governments and civil society peers. Interaction with peers and exposure to international examples creates a sense of possibilities and aspirations for the members. This, in turn, creates a positive dynamic where members are more open to innovative approaches.

Impact

Initiatives

The Fiscal Openness Accelerator (FOA) Project

The International Budget Partnership and GIFT have developed the Fiscal Openness Accelerator, a project to deepen work in improving transparency and enhancing public participation in fiscal policies. The FOA is supported by the US Department of State and the OGP Multi-Donor Trust Fund managed by the World Bank.

The objective of the project is to build the technical capacity of a number of selected governments to improve their fiscal transparency and to implement mechanisms for public participation in the elaboration of fiscal policies, while providing for dialogue between civil society and public finance authorities on the use of public resources.

Digital Tools for User-Centered Fiscal Transparency

Proactive transparency mechanisms, in most cases, lack understanding of their users and the flexibility required to adapt to technological changes pertaining to the way society obtains and consumes information. Therefore, they rarely enable systemic change and achieve limited results against their envisioned objectives. De Renzio and Mastruzzi (2016) conducted a survey that showed that civil society organizations are dissatisfied with the information that governments make available because it is not detailed or useful enough. Their study concludes that there is a significant demand for better organized budget data, including that providing a greater level of detail. It also emphasizes the need to review disclosure practices in terms of reusable data formats, the quality of online portals/websites, and the ability to cross-reference different datasets. The adoption of targeted digital tools has been constantly on GIFT’s agenda. In this regard, GIFT will continually seek to generate worldwide gains in user-centered fiscal transparency that uses digital tools in a strategic way, built from the experiences and lessons learned from around the world.

  • Tutorial on Fiscal Transparency Portals – A User-Centered Development

In 2020, GIFT published the Tutorial on Fiscal Transparency Portals – A User-Centered Development in Spanish (videos and guide) and English (guide). The tutorial is based on GIFT’s network champions accumulated experience over the last decade in publishing useful fiscal information. The Tutorial consists of 9 modules with tools, tips, and international examples. It emphasizes the importance of publishing budget information taking into account target audience needs. GIFT also published three video interviews with GIFT Stewards and partners that provide significant insights and tips for developing digital tools for fiscal transparency.

Through the Open Fiscal Data Services, GIFT seeks to:

  1. Facilitate governmental transition to systematically publish public finances open data and enable its use and reuse by the public.
  2. Provide guidance on how to structure open data for topics that have important international relevance for sustainable development, including environmental finances, non-financial performance, and gender-responsive budgets.
  3. Enable interoperability of data schemas to enhance the possibilities of the use of data in analysis and decision making at the country and international level.

In the period 2018-20, the use of the GIFT tool for publishing the budget in open data increased significantly, from 2 cases to 10 budget authorities using the tool. During 2020, continued support was provided to countries piloting the Open Fiscal Data Packager (OFDP), including to improve data structures to enhance data quality. A new tool was also released to assist publishers in updating and maintaining timely data.

Tutorial on Fiscal Transparency Portals – A User-Centered Development

Open Fiscal Data Package

Good Internal Systems for Good External Publication

Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS) can generate quality financial data and reports that support financial decision making and improvements in fiscal discipline as well as expenditure control. In this sense, building strong and comprehensive fiscal transparency can be intertwined with the development of a FMIS. However, information technology departments at ministries of finance have often neglected the subject, in many cases lacking the requisite tools, capacity or training for it.

 

In this context, GIFT seeks to enable peer-learning and collaboration for GIFT Stewards’ IT departments, reinforced with innovative approaches for Govtech and CivicTech, through three main actions:

 

  • Hosting a specialized collaborative group for IT departments, providing for peer-learning and collaboration on technological solutions for internal systems and publication.
  • Hosting international workshops for peer-learning and training for IT departments from governments and civil society on innovative approaches such as disruptive technologies, agile development and GovTech solutions.
  • Providing a repository of open code for CivicTech that will facilitate taking advantage of economies of scale in development.

Targeted Technical Assistance 

Targeted technical assistance with peer-learning for improving fiscal openness happens upon partners request.  This technical assistance requires more in-depth and specific support to a government or civil society organization from inside or outside of the GIFT Network. This technical collaboration entails engaging fiscal openness experts and peer practitioners, including opportunities for discussions with international peers on how to improve fiscal openness and overcome barriers.  

The GIFT network has been selected as one of the groups to advance OGP thematic priorities and support participation and co-creation through the Multi Donor Trust Fund.

Copyright 2021
Global Initiative for Fiscal Transparency
Email us
info@fiscaltransparency.net
 

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