Expert review group publish findings on Holyrood's budget process

30 June 2017

Glasgow Caledonian University's Dr Angela O'Hagan is one of a number of public finance experts calling for change to Holyrood's budget process to take account of Scotland’s new financial powers and fiscal framework.

A report published today by the expert review group, to which Dr O'Hagan was appointed, presented its findings following a nine-month review of Holyrood's budget process.

Dr O'Hagan is a lecturer in Equalities and Public Policy and member of the WISE Research Centre at GCU. She is also Convenor of the Scottish Women's Budget Group and joint co-ordinator of the European Gender Budgeting Network, and was one of only eight experts chosen to inform this joint process between the Scottish Government and Scottish Parliament.

The group's findings have called on the Scottish Government to adopt a more strategic approach to financial planning by publishing a Medium-Term Financial Strategy for Scotland’s public finances every spring as well as a Fiscal Framework Outturn Report, setting out data for Scottish tax revenues, each autumn. 

Dr O'Hagan said: "This is a positive opportunity to build on distinctive work in Scotland to integrate equality to the Scottish budget. The recommendations offer new entry points for parliamentary scrutiny of equality outcomes and for linking equality outcomes with government strategies and the new fiscal powers on taxation and social security."

The report recommends that Parliament should adopt a "culture change" towards an “all-year-round approach” to scrutiny, where committees seek to influence government plans in advance of the budget being published each autumn. 

Recommendations included four main objectives: to have an influence on the formulation of the budget; improve transparency and raise public understanding and awareness of the Budget; respond effectively to new fiscal and wider policy challenges; and lead to better outputs and outcomes as measured against benchmarks and stated objectives.

Read the full report here