Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS)

Public Expenditure Tracking Survey(PETS)

It goes without saying that governments require money and other resources for their daily operations buildings, equipment, water and electricity, as well as staff, are among the inputs that are required. Usually these inputs are supplied by the central government and distributed to localities through various administrative layers. But research has repeatedly shown that the link between public spending and outcomes is weak. Far too often, the failure of increased public spending to generate better outcomes is due to “leakage,” or the fact that large portions of the funds allocated by the government do not fully reach frontline service providers.

In recognition of this fact, the main purpose of participatory public expenditure tracking surveys, or PETS, is to check whether or not there is leakage of funds, estimate the amount of funds not reaching its intended beneficiaries, and detect the origin and causes of the leakage. Furthermore, experience shows that the release of tracking survey results through mass media can significantly contribute to reducing leakage by promoting social ownership and generating public pressure.

The first PETS was pioneered by a group of researchers from the World Bank in Uganda in 1996. Since then, PETS have been implemented by donor agencies, governments and CSOs in more than 35 countries worldwide. They have been applied to a diverse range of sectors, including education, health, agriculture, energy, sanitation, and infrastructure.

This module provides participants with an overview of PETS. It begins by emphasizing the importance of developing PETS in a context of weak public service delivery systems, provides a basic definition of PETS, and describes their major objectives and characteristics. Later in the module, the steps involved in the development of a PETS are described in detail, providing course participants with an in-depth “how-to” guide for their design and implementation. The module ends by discussing key findings of PETS based on the rich base of international experience with this social accountability tool.

Learning objectives By the end of this module you will:
Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) constitute useful tools to diagnose weaknesses in the financing and effectiveness of frontline service delivery. The main question that PETS can help answer is the following: How much of the originally planned funds actually reached the beneficiary institutions
The main question that PETS can help answer is the following: How much of the originally planned funds actually reached the beneficiary institutions
Experience shows that the wide diffusion of PETS results can contribute to significant reductions in terms of leakage
PETS should not be seen as a ‘one-off experiment’: they should become part of the routine work undertaken both by governments and CSOs
PETS should be combined with other approaches, such as report cards, to get a full picture of the real performance of public services
Last modified: Friday, 4 April 2014, 2:34 PM