Tools And Methods

Participatory expenditure tracking

Participatory expenditure tracking

To track the flow of public resources through different levels of government.

Information is gathered from the central, local and service provider level. This method traces the amounts originally allocated to each level to see what share of these funds actually reach where they were supposed to. The aim is to identify any weak points in the system, in order to improve the quality of service delivery for users at the local level.

Steps in the process

  1. Gather a team of people with knowledge about the budget you want to focus on, for example the health sector.
  2. Select the budget programmes to track.
  3. Determine what budget allocations were made to each programme. 
  4. Establish how much was transferred from the relevant government department in the capital to the district and local levels.
  5. Establish any contributions from local government, user fees and/or NGOs.
  6. Compare the budgets allocated to the programmes for the year in question with what was transferred and what was actually spent in that year. See what the money was spent on and compare it with what was planned. Remember to check expenditure to see how it benefits men and women. Make notes of what you find.
  7. Summarise your findings.
  8. Decide what to do next, together with relevant stakeholders.


This video describes and discusses the different stages of social audits and PETS - Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys - with examples of Constituency Development Fund projects in Magarini District in coastal Kenya: 

This video - amongst other tools - show how PETs are used in civil society network KOCISONET in Koboko in Northern Uganda:


Do you have a comment or question about this Tool or Method? Discuss it with the rest of the community.

Filipe Sambo Tue Nov 16 at 05:11:46 0 like
This tool is crucial in terms of analyse budget location and expenditure but some time we have challenges in terms of access the information but we use to society this tool with others tools to get information which we need for example we use Theater Forum and Gatekeeper

Karen Jørgensen Tue May 17 at 05:05:40 0 like
I have heard good practices from Uganda, India, Kenya and more on how this tool has been useful when linking local and national level work - including evidence collection and advocacy interventions. Any good stories available?

Eddy Robert Thu May 19 at 22:05:14 0 like
I have used this in conducting a survey during a social audit in education sector where we realized there were a number of projects in the budget paper, with allocations per project but had not been implemented. some of the projects were not even available and couldn't be located even by the community members.


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