Open Government action plan 2021 to 2025 - commitment 1: fiscal openness and transparency

Overview of the fiscal openness and transparency commitment, including milestones and their co-creation process, alongside progress reports submitted throughout the action plan.


While we have made progress improving the openness and transparency of our fiscal information, we know there is more we can do. We are committed to improving the understanding of the public finances, and for citizens, their representatives and other interested parties to be better able to ‘follow the money’ from revenue raised to the outcomes it achieves.

As part of our financial transparency commitment in Scotland’s second Open Government Partnership (OGP) Action Plan, in Spring 2021 the Scottish Exchequer commissioned user research with a range of users of fiscal information. Users we engaged with included the Scottish Government, equalities and human rights organisations, and wider public sector stakeholders producing, interpreting and publishing fiscal information and data in Scotland. We also carried out international research to understand best practice and learn from different approaches in other countries.

This research was carried out over a 10-week period, using a digital ‘Agile’ approach, with objectives to map the current fiscal information landscape in Scotland; identify the main user needs and frustrations when engaging with this information, and to define what improved fiscal transparency services should be with benefits, goals and a roadmap to achieve this. This approach provided incredibly valuable insights that helped us to understand how we can improve services for users to better meet their needs.

Using the findings and recommendations from our research, and subsequent insights we gained from our engagement with the OGP Financial Transparency Public Workshop in July 2021, we (Scottish Exchequer: performance, tax, budget and public spending and infrastructure and the Scottish Procurement & Property Directorate) engaged with civil society partners in a Short Life Working Group to co-create a financial transparency commitment to address these issues. Partners included the Open Government Partnership (lead non-government stakeholder), Open Data Cooperative, Equalities and Budget Advisory Group, Scottish Human Rights Commission, Young Scot, Infrastructure Transparency Initiative, The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland, and Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations. In a number of engagements over Summer 2021, we reviewed the actions we had taken to date in previous Action Plans and discussed the findings from our Discovery research. Through this process the group developed the fiscal openness and transparency commitment, with a range of initial milestones to work towards.

Implementation of the commitment

As this will be an iterative process we set out activity for year one and have committed to up-date milestones each year, to monitor progress and focus on opportunities for further development. As the lead within government for the fiscal openness and transparency commitment, the Scottish Exchequer will submit quarterly progress reports to the OGP Steering Group. A four-year Action Plan provides an opportunity to continue to work closely with civil society stakeholders on the implementation of the commitment, as well as ongoing collaboration on the opportunities for further development.

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