Best Practice in Monitoring Public Expenses

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Best practices in monitoring public expenses are important because they help the government allocate public resources. Therefore, tracking public expenses helps to identify and solve problems encountered in the process of transfer and delivery of public services. Moreover, this best practice helps detect corruption in the system.

Public expenses are centered towards those products or service that the government provides for its citizens. These include education, healthcare, parks and other utilities.

Tracking public expenditure involves validating financial accounts. This is important in order to monitor qualitative research and utilization of funds. These include processes like interviews of people using public services. Asking questions about the users’ experiences and assessing the quality, cost and accessibility is a recommended best practice. Moreover, expenditure tracking must also be verified at sub-national levels. These apply at the local and district levels.

Sometimes, utilization of funds is trailed at the highest stratum of the government, through the various layers of financial beneficiaries. For example, one can begin from the State Treasury to final beneficiaries, and the final consumer of any public service. This requires best practices in coordination and resource allocation. This could extend from national level to grass-root levels.

Recently, the Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) concept was adopted by the World Bank. This was aimed at engaging researchers at a national and grass-root level. For accuracy, both technical reviews and interviews were uses to trace fund flow from the source to the destination.

How to Implement Public Expenditure Tracking

  1. Scope and Purpose: The purpose may be to identify the source of corruption, non-performance or inefficiency in the enterprise. This could be in a specific department, faculty or in any government service. Determining the scope and purpose of public expenditure tracking is important. That is because it affects the stages, people and resources involved in the whole process.

Depending on the scope of monitoring, the entire sector (like health for pregnant women) or geographic area (like a district) or a public service provider (like a hospital) can be targeted. Sector wide tracking of public expenses will require higher resources and expertise.

  1. Partners and Stakeholders: There will be need to gather partners and stakeholders to pool funds. It will be important to identify credible and capable partners willing to derive assistance for best practices involves in tracking public expenses. Resources will be needed to target audiences; partners and stakeholders will help fund this.
  2. Plan the Survey: After determining the scope of the project the next best practice will be to plan the stages according to the resources available.
  3. Data Collection and Analysis: Data collected during the survey must be analyzed and evaluated. For best practices hiring expert or trained researchers is recommended. Assessing causes for dysfunctional practices or inefficiencies at every stage. Factors contributing to corruption must also be evaluated. This will require best practices like time management, budget control, human resource constraints, and administrative processes.

In order to satisfy social wants of the general public, the government must implement the best practice of monitoring public expenses.

Further reading: Corporate Governance | Audit | Performance Improvement

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