On 5 September 2022, the Ministry of Finance of the Czech Republic, with the support of the OECD and the European Commission, successfully completed a project aimed at introducing spending review processes into practice.
Spending reviews is a tool that is widely used around the world and is described by the OECD and other supranational organisations as an effective and efficient tool for increasing transparency, governance and medium-term sustainability of public finances.
In practice, there are two types of spending reviews, namely comprehensive and thematic. Comprehensive spending reviews aim to describe the whole structure of public expenditure and to orientate and evaluate its effectiveness. A thematic spending review is a process and performance assessment of the value for money already obtained on a pre-selected thematic area of spending. Thus, the main objective of a thematic spending review is to improve the effectiveness of individual government policies and programmes.
"A major outcome of the project is the report itself, the first ever comprehensive thematic spending review. Once implemented in practice, it can make a significant contribution to improving the efficiency of state spending in a wide range of areas. The tested area of our project was healthcare, specifically subsidies for post-graduate medical education," says Deputy Finance Minister Jiří Valenta. Another result is a set of publications and methodological and process procedures for further rounds of thematic spending reviews.
The project was funded by the European Union through the Technical Support Instrument (TSI) and implemented by the OECD in cooperation with the European Commission's Directorate General for Structural Reform Support (DG REFORM).
The Ministry of Finance is now preparing a proposal for further thematic evaluations to be carried out for other areas of public expenditure (education, security, public administration). At the same time, MoF representatives are discussing a new round of support from the European Commission through the Technical Support Instrument to develop the new process in cooperation with foreign experts and staff who have been working on the topic of spending reviews for a long time.