budget on which budgetary units base their annual expenditure plans at the commencement of the fiscal year. Failure of the legislature to approve the budget within the time specified in the constitution may result in significant delays in budget approval well into the fiscal year. When, owing to such delays, there is, in effect, no originally approved budget, the deviation between budget and outturn cannot be calculated, and that particular fiscal year should be considered an ‘outlier,’ as explained above. Note, it is the originally approved budget not supplementary budget that should be used for calculation.

1.1:6. The dimension can be calculated using either cash-based accounting or accrual-based accounting. The basis chosen should be noted and used consistently in all indicator assessments. In a cash-based accounting system data on payments is required for rating even with a modified cash accounting system. If payment data is not available, the PEFA report narrative will need to elaborate on the reasons why, and on the most relevant data to be used instead.

1.1:7. Expenditures include transfers and subsidies of any kind, including to other levels of government. In the case of variances between budgeted and actual transfers to sub-national governments, reporting against PI-7 would supplement the information for this dimension. Expenditures also include interest and other costs related to debt but not repayment of the principal.

1.1:8. It is normal that the scoring of quantitative indicators should be based on unaudited accounts, since the accounts of the most recent year(s) may still be awaiting audit. The unaudited accounts may be used with reasonable assurance if they do not differ significantly from previously audited accounts. In the absence of such assurance (because accounts have not been audited for several years, or because nonsystematic and significant differences exist between audited and unaudited accounts), it is recommended that the unaudited data be used. In such cases the assessment should be considered preliminary and should be updated after accounts have been audited. In Jurisdictional Court System, as there are rarely audited financial accounts, certified accounts or judged accounts could be used.

1.1:9. For the purpose of calculating the budget reliability, transfers to entities outside of BCG, but still part of the originally approved budget need to be included.

1.1:10. Assessors are encouraged to provide information explaining the causes of the differences between the executed budget and the approved budget. Explanations could include the accuracy of the original fiscal forecasts, external factors that may have impacted on revenues and expenditures after the budget was approved, and/or post-budget spending and revenue policy decisions, etc. Assessors are encouraged to specify whether these explanations come from the government or their own assessment.

Dimension 1.1. Timing, coverage and data requirements

Time period Coverage Data requirements/calculation Data sources
Last three completed fiscal years. Budgetary central government (BCG).

Data requirements

  • The aggregate expenditure outturn and the approved aggregate budget expenditure for each of the last three completed fiscal years. Calculation


  • For calculation of this indicator, assessors should use the electronic spreadsheet on the PEFA website (www.pefa.org).


  • Annual budget law/ documentation / estimates approved by the legislature.


  • Annual budget execution report or Comparative Statement of Budget and Actual Results.


PEFA Handbook Volume 1: The PEFA Assessment Process – Planning, Managing and Using PEFA