The role of the budget officer in controlling public spending

Working and discussion papers
May 2019

The role of a budget officer – an individual responsible for supervising spending by a line ministry – is a familiar one across all finance ministries, yet relatively little has been written about what they do and why they do it. This review of the work of budget officers in five countries – the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Slovenia, Malaysia and Myanmar – finds that the day-to-day tasks of these officials differ considerably. Much of this variation relates to differences in the organisational setting and the nature of the overall spending control framework, rather than individual capacity or skill issues.

The findings of this review have implications for thinking about how to strengthen the performance of a budget officer.