Government budgets—both State budgets (APBNs) and local government budgets (APBDs)—are important instruments used by government to determine national and regional development priorities. Indeed, it could be said that government budgets mirror political decisions taken jointly by the executive and legislative wings of government. Such decisions necessarily have a big impact on community living standards: depending on the extent to which resultant budgetary expenditure brings benefit to people—especially for the poor and women—in the form of better public services. In short, budgets are yardsticks for measuring the extent to which governments govern for the people.
The KiPAD research project was the brainchild of a network of NGOs who then developed the idea and implemented it as a means of monitoring and evaluating local government budget performance. With support from The Asia Foundation (TAF), Seknas FITRA has carried out KiPAD studies since 2009. In that year and again in 2010, the study encompassed 42 kabupatens (districts) and cities in Indonesia and involved 28 civil society networks, including NGOs, other community groups and tertiary level research units.
The research's overall aim has been to assess the extent to which principles of good governance (transparency, participation, accountability and gender equality) are being integrated into local budgetary processes. More specifically, it has aimed to provide feedback to local governments to help them lift their budget management performance across all phases of the budgetary cycle. By looking at this report, local governments will be able to tell to what extent their budgetary processes are in accord with requirements outlined in the study and will hopefully be inspired by innovative practices put in place by other governments. We also hope that the central government will treat the study as a chance to have a fresh look at national policies for improved sub-national budget performance throughout Indonesia. NGOs too should be able to use KiPAD as a resource for their advocacy work, particularly on budgetary issues—especially pro-poor budgeting in areas studied.
This report—coordinated by Seknas FITRA and supported by TAF and USAID's Kinerja Program— incorporates findings of research on budget management in 20 kabupatens and cities for the 2011 fiscal year. It focuses on four stages of the budgetary cycle: 1) planning: which involves various local government activities preparatory to the drafting of annual local budgets; 2) discussion: at this point local governments discuss and reach decisions on budgets they have drafted; 3) implementation: this phase sees local governments carrying out approved budget programs in accordance with allocated funding; and 4) public accountability: at this point governments render an account of implemented budget programs and expenditure.
B. KiPAD's Methodology
This KiPAD is an evidence-based assessment of key documents and principal activities relevant to the management of budgets in three sectors: health, education and public works. It looks at 21 specific documents spread across all four stages of the budgetary cycle. The study's assessments measure the extent to which existing law is being observed and evaluate local government initiatives aimed at delivering public services especially for the poor, women and the marginalized.
Four principles of good governance—transparency, participation, accountability and gender equality—are used as bases for assessments made in this study. These principles inform the study's analysis of the entire budgetary cycle from planning through to accountability. Assessments were based on the following indicators:
Transparency: This refers to efforts by local governments to make information publicly available in a systematic way at each stage of the budgetary cycle. Three indicators were used to measure transparency: availability of and access to budget documents; openness of budget management processes; and institutionalization of freedom of information (FoI) procedures as required by Law No.14/2008 concerning Freedom of Access to Public Information (known as UU KIP). Participation: This refers to involvement of civil society in decision making at every stage of the budgetary cycle. It was measured by: availability of mechanisms for participation; the number of community members participating in such mechanisms; existence of local government regulations guaranteeing community participation; and the level at which budget policy decisions were taken. Accountability: This refers to the extent to which local governments render an account of their management of budgets to both local legislative assemblies (DPRDs) and the public generally. Indicators used to measure it included: the method used to submit accountability reports; timeliness of completion/adoption of budget documentation; institutionalization of mechanisms for the supply of goods and services; and findings of national Audit Board (BPK) reports on local finances. Gender Equality: This refers to efforts by local governments to provide space for the poor and women to take part in the budgetary cycle. The following indicators were used to measure their success rate: the extent to which participation of such groups was specifically considered and provided for at each stage of the budgetary cycle given their particular situation and standing in society; the availability of mechanisms to manage their participation; and the existence of local regulations guaranteeing such participation.