How to analyse budget performance

Health Financing
Analysing budget performance can help you to understand how much money was committed and spent on the things you care about.

WHAT is it?

The Budget Performance Dashboard tool (download available below) will help you to get a better understanding of how much has been spent on a sector, programme, or item, compared with commitments. The dashboard can be presented in meetings to review whether the budget has been implemented according to plans and used to facilitate discussion on what actions can be taken to improve budget performance.

The accompanying training slides (download available below) can help you to understand the key information sources for budget analysis, know what calculations you can perform, and ask the right questions to interrogate your findings.

E4A-MamaYe supported coalitions have found that tracking budget performance is critical to understand whether political will has translated to action. By packaging evidence in a visual format, coalitions can make their case to decision makers and catalyse action.

HOW do I do this?

You need:

  • A list of the priorities you want to track the annual budget and/or costed workplan expenditure reports the Budget Performance Dashboard tool.
  • Identify your priority
  • The budget line item, programme or sector to be tracked.
  • Tabulate and list allocations using the annual budget.
  • List expenditure recorded against each budget line selected.
  • The tool will perform a simple calculation (amount spent/amount allocated × 100).


WHEN do I do it?

For best results, you should update the Excel tool on a quarterly basis, throughout the implementation of the annual budget. The dashboard can be presented during quarterly review meetings to explore budget performance and identify potential bottlenecks that prevent planned funding being spent. The dashboard can also be used on an annual basis, to review performance of the previous financial year’s budget and determine what needs to be done to improve the performance of the current year’s budget.


WHAT can I do with the information?

Look at the numbers and dashboard, and discuss the following questions as a group:

  1. Is the budget allocated to health higher or lower than any commitments or benchmarks? (If there is no local benchmark, you can compare against the Abuja Declaration – 15% of the total budget for health.)
  2. Is the budget allocated to health close to the budget allocations in comparable regions (e.g. other states, counties, districts or countries)?
  3. Is the proportion of the allocated budget spent on health close to 100%? If the budget performance is good (e.g. benchmarks are being met and 100% of the allocated budget is spent on health), have health service delivery indicators improved?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, probe to understand why and use this information to inform your advocacy efforts. More guidance on exploring root causes and using this information to inform advocacy interventions can be found here.