Using Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys to Monitor Projects and Small-Scale Programs : A Guidebook

Year of publication : 2010

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The goal of this guidebook is to serve as a starting point for civil society organizations, as well as Bank teams interested in conducting Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys, both on a small and larger scale. It is designed to lead a research team from idea inception to results dissemination, while emphasizing the importance of utilizing evidence to influence policy, regardless of whether it is on a macro or micro-level.

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This guidebook is the product of a collaborative effort between the World Bank Human Development Network’s Office of the Chief Economist and the Transparency and Accountability Program (TAP) of the Results for Development Institute. The goal of this partnership is to support the capacity of civil society organizations (CSOs) to monitor and evaluate government programs in the human development sectors.

Most often, Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) are referred to in the context of a large, nationally sampled public expenditure review, conducted by organizations such as the World Bank.  Since 1996 when the first PETS survey was carried out by the World Bank in Uganda, PETS have been shown to be effective in identifying delays in financial and in-kind transfers, leakage rates, and general inefficiencies in public spending.

Civil society organizations’ comparative advantage resides in their ability to “take the temperature” on the ground and to act on those issues that are most heated in the minds of the citizens whom they represent. In many cases, service delivery in the education and health sectors is a top priority. One way of improving service delivery, by keeping both governments and service providers accountable, is through the monitoring of budgets and efficiencies in public spending. PETS, when used by civil society organizations, offer an opportunity to carefully monitor specific programs or public spending in targeted districts and regions.

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