February 25, 2016Doug Hadden
There are two dominant narratives about government transparency. One states that transparency is about public relations. It’s about providing the appearance of transparency and openness. Some governments adopt transparency initiatives while cutting back of freedom on information and increasing state surveillance.
Another narrative is transparency, in and of itself, does nothing. Some governments adopt transparency without accountability: No consequences. And, the information provided by governments may be difficult to understand or extract. PDFs are no way to operationalize government transparency.
Transparency has political risk. Transparency and accountability are long political journeys.
We believe that fiscal transparency is a critical milestone for any country. That’s because governments operate based on budgets. Everything governments do is based on the budget. The budget plan shows what governments expect to accomplish. Actual expenditures and revenue is the first stage to understanding government results.
A government financial software – the “Government Resource Planning” system – is the technology that can automate fiscal transparency. Not all governments leverage their financial systems, as a 2013 World Bank study found.
That’s why we encourage our government customers to use the FreeBalance Accountability Suite for fiscal transparency. For internal and external audit. And, for civil society transparency.
Our government customers will be discussing how fiscal transparency can be enabled through technology at our upcoming FreeBalance International Steering Committee (FISC) conference next month. Good practices will be discussed such as integration with back-office systems, front-office content management systems and mobile technology. And, we’ll be helping our customers to navigate the transparency political journey.
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