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Pre-Election Budget Reports

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Practice Advice on Public Financial Management

Pre-Election Budget Reports (OECD)

Summary Advice: The OECD advises that governments should issue a pre-election budget report, the purpose of which is to illuminate the general state of government finances immediately before an election.

Main Points: A pre-election budget report that illuminates the general state of government finances immediately before an election helps foster an informed electorate and helps stimulate public debate. The OECD notes that pre-election budget reports should be issued when possible, while recognizing that the feasibility of producing this report may depend on constitutional provisions and electoral practices. The OECD reccomends that:

  • Pre-election reports be issued no later than two-weeks prior to elections. 

The OECD reccomends that the following information be included in pre-election reports:

  • A comprehensive update on the implementation of the budget, including an updated forecast of the budget outcomes for the current fiscal year and, at least, the next two fiscal years.
  • Economic assumptions underlying the budget should be reviewed and the imapct of any changes on the budget should be disclosed.
  • A comprehensive discussion of the government's financial assets and liabilities, non-financial assets, employee pension obligations and contingent liabilities.
  • The impact of any other government decisions or other circumstances that may have a material effect on the budget should be disclosed.

The OECD observes that special care needs to be taken to insure the integrity of these reports, and stresses that best practices intended to ensure the integrity of the budgeting process must be observed in the development of these reports. Specifically, they state:

  • A dynamic system of internal financial controls, including internal audit, should be in place to assure the integrity of information provided in the report.
  • The report should contain a statement of responsibility by the finance minister and the senior official responsible for producing the report. The minister should certify that all government decisions that have fiscal impact have been included, and the senior official certifies that the Finance Ministry has used its best professional judgement in developing the report.

Source: OECD (2002). Best Practices for Budget Transparency at (accessed 24 September 2012).

Page Created By: Ben Eisen on 24 September 2012. Updated by Ian Clark on 17 January 2013. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases. This material does not necessarily reflect the official view of the publishing organization.


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