In accordance with article 8.2. of the Andalusian Law of Public Finance: “Public expenditure, included in the Budget of the Autonomous Region, will carry out a fair allocation of public resources, and their planning and implementation will meet the criteria of efficiency and economy and the principles of solidarity and territoriality”. Efficiency and economy are therefore the guiding principles of Andalusian Finance. For the precise purposes of promoting the principle of efficiency, increasing use is being made of what are known as ‘spending reviews’. These are systematic in-depth analyses of a programme or batch of public expenditure carried out for the purposes of obtaining improvements to efficiency and opportunities and identifying policies that have ceased being effective or have lost their priority.
Spending reviews have the potential to identify efficiency savings and are an opportunity to limit inefficient items, helping to achieve intelligent fiscal consolidation and freeing up resources for new public priorities. By providing greater understanding of how public resources are spent, spending reviews help improve their composition, guiding such spending towards purposes that are more likely to favour growth or more sustainable over the long term. They also encourage a culture of evaluation in the Administration and help design better strategies for the future.
The EU has highlighted the importance of spending reviews, recommending them to the Member States. Following these recommendations, many countries have implemented more or less routine programmes of spending review. The Spanish Government has channelled through the AIReF (Independent Authority for Fiscal Responsibility of Spain) a set of spending reviews carried out on different phases and programmes. In the words of the European Commission, “as a fundamentally empirical exercise, the spending review benefits hugely from ‘learning by doing’ and from the exchange of good practice.”
The IEHPA Foundation, a body affiliated to the Regional Ministry of Economy, Finance and European Funds, is organising this awareness-raising day to highlight the interest for public administrations of undergoing a programme of spending reviews, together with the principal aspects to take into account from the perspective of the bodies carrying out such reviews.