EUROSAI. Magazine N24 - 2018

eurosai 86 Studies and other articles State Audit Office of Georgia BUDGET MONITOR Web-platform developed by the State Audit Office of Georgia Budget Monitor is an innovative Information Communication Technology – ICT tool, developed by the State Audit Office of Georgia (SAOG) that enables stakeholders and ordinary citizens to participate in the monitoring process of public finances. Contemplating how taxes are spent, how successfully government achieves its goals, and how efficiently it uses state budget resources, the Budget Monitor has thus been devised as the first of its kind tool across the Supreme Audit Institutions (SAIs) enabling people to participate in monitoring public finances. For reaching transparency and accountability, whilst the government agencies publish basic budgetary information dispersed in an array of websites, non-specialist audience faces difficulties to access it. Data analysis and interpretation adds another layer of challenge. Aggregating various data sources to comprehend the ongoing budgetary processes remains complicated discouraging citizen participation in budget oversight. Low public participation was revealed in an Open Budget Survey 2017 1 .In this survey, Georgia received 82 points out of 100 and ranked 5th worldwide that shows transparency for providing the public with extensive budget information, however, it scored 22 in public participation component. Challenges in citizen engagement are most likely stemming from insufficient mechanisms for taxpayers to participate in Public Finance Management (PFM) issues. Being aware of the importance of citizen participation and striving to improve transparency and accountability, Georgia has thus been seeking to provide opportunities to citizens to engage in budget process. The SAOG has therefore come up with an idea to develop an innovative web-platform to increase taxpayers’ role in decision-making and monitoring processes of public finances. 1 Open Budget Survey 2017, www.internationalbudget.org/wp- content/uploads/georgia-open-budget-survey-2017-summary.pdf SAOG has elaborated Budget Monitor as an analytical web-platform rendering citizens the tool to hold government accountable. Substantially, the Budget Monitor brings together data from various types of agencies and provides comprehensive budgetary information, designed from auditors’ perspective which includes hundred audit reports per year, expenditures of more than sixty public agencies, budgets of seventy-six municipalities, and information on nearly four- hundred programs and subprograms. Budget Monitor as an interactive tool distinguishes with two major functions: visualization and two-way communication. Incorporating comprehensive budgetary data in an easy-to-interpret manner through data visualization, infographics and diagrams allows regular users to drill

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