Budgets are a key sign of a government's values. So, if human rights are not in there, what's being said is that they are not a value worth counting.Professor Aoife Nolan
What is Human Rights Budget Work?
Taking a human rights based approach to budgeting means distributing resources in a way that puts people first.
It involves thinking through how people's rights are impacted by the way that money is raised, allocated, and spent. Specifically, budget decisions should reflect human rights standards and the process of formulating, approving, executing, and auditing the budget should reflect human rights principles.
Why are human rights relevant to the budget?
All governments must respect, protect and fulfil human rights. The way they generate, allocate and spend money plays a key role in this.
You can't guarantee the right to vote if you don't have an effective electoral system and you can't guarantee the right to habitable, accessible, affordable and secure housing without well-regulated public and private housing sectors.
Report: Open Budget Survey Results for Scotland's 2017-18 Budget
This report compares the openness of Scotland’s budgetary processes with those of 117 countries involved in the International Budget Partnership’s (IBP) latest Open Budget Survey (OBS). The report has been compiled with the support of the ALLIANCE Scotland, the University of Glasgow, Glasgow Caledonian University and the New York-based Center for Economic and Social Rights.
Downloads and Links:
- Open Budget Survey Results for Scotland's 2017-18 Budget - Full Report | Summary Report
- Letter to MSPs: Open Budget Survey Results
- The Open Budget Survey - The Open Budget Survey is part of the International Budget Partnership’s Open Budget Initiative, a global research and advocacy program to promote public access to budget information and the adoption of accountable budget systems.
Human Rights Budget Work: What, Why and How?
A new set of briefing papers explains the "what, why and how" of using human rights to create and scrutinise Scotland's national budget.
The papers have been developed by the Scottish Human Rights Commission, the Health and Social Care ALLIANCE and a range of academic and other partners in an EU-funded Human Rights Budget Work project.
- Human Rights Budget Work: What, Why, How? Collected Briefing Papers. [Word] [PDF]
- Briefing Paper 1: Human Rights Budget Work. [Word] | PDF
- Briefing Paper 2: The Context for Human Rights Budget Work in Scotland. [Word] | [PDF]
- Briefing Paper 3: Human Rights Budgeting. [Word] | [PDF]
- Briefing Paper 4: Human Rights Budget Scrutiny. [Word] | [PDF]
- Briefing Paper 5: Human Rights Standards and the Budget. [Word] | [PDF]
- Briefing Paper 6: The Budget Process and Human Rights Procedural Principles. [Word] | [PDF]
Past and Current Work
Since the Commission's EU funded project into human rights budgeting in 2018, a programme of ongoing work has been developed to better understand and support wider scrutiny of public spending decisions through a human rights lens.
This work includes:
- Chairing the Human Rights Budgeting Working Group which drives and supports the Commission's human rights budget work programme
- Participation as a permanent member of the Equality Budget Advisory Group
- Development of three process indicators to support scrutiny of national and local council budget processes
- Supporting further capacity building on human rights budget scrutiny through a What? Why? How? Human Rights Budget Scrutiny event on 15 March 2019
- Participation at the CIFPA Public Finance Live Scotland 2019 Annual Conference
- Forthcoming publication in CIFPA International in July 2019
- Collaborative PhD (with Dr Katie Boyle of Stirling University and Dr. Jo Ferrie of Glasgow University) on Minimum Core Obligations: using a sociology of human rights to examine the potential for human rights budgeting in Scotland
- Publication of a background briefing paper on human rights budgeting and budget analysis which details how applying a human rights framework to the budget would add value to efforts to realise social justice in Scotland.
- Submitting a detailed response to the Scottish Government's consultation Tax policy and the Budget - a Framework for Tax in October 2021.
- Writing a comment piece on why we need human rights based taxation to help Scotland build back from COVID-19
- Submitting a response to the call for evidence from the Finance and Public Administration Committee for pre-Budget scrutiny of Scotland's public finances in 2023-24: the impact of the cost of living and public service reform.
- Submission to the Equality, Human Rights and Civil Justice Committee’s Pre-budget scrutiny 2023-24: The Impact of Human Rights Budgeting in September 2022.
- Briefing in advance of the Committee’s oral evidence session: Social Justice and Social Security Committee Pre-Budget Scrutiny 2023-24 in September 2022.
Our background briefing paper on human rights budgeting and budget analysis details how applying a human rights framework to the budget would add value to efforts to realise social justice in Scotland.
To find out more or discuss any aspect of this work, contact our Research Officer, Dr Alison Hosie.
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