National monitoring frameworks for public social spending: an analysis of policies in 35 countries

The report explores how 35 European countries monitor social spending through dedicated national frameworks, and investigates the processes assessing the outcomes and effectiveness of public social spending. While these are fairly diverse, the report identifies two broad categories of monitoring practices: within and separately from the overall public spending monitoring framework. The strengths of these frameworks include reliable, timely and precise indicators, mostly on levels of public social spending, as well as comprehensive centralised information systems. Social spending review processes may be recurrent, but are in most cases conducted on an ad hoc basis to respond to specific institutional needs or political circumstances. Supreme Audit Institutions often play a key role in social spending reviews. Monitoring of social outcomes of public spending, such as poverty, inequality reduction or income redistribution, appears to be quite uncommon, and reviews of its effectiveness (i.e. linking social spending to social outcomes) are even rarer.