Allocation of resources – a State’s budget

A Rights Based Approach to a State's Bugdet

What is a state’s budget?

A State's budget is a reflection of its values. It maps out in financial terms a State’s action plan – where they are going to allocate the State’s funds (usually collected through taxes), why, how much and to who. Budgets have the potential to transform a country to meet the needs of everybody.


What can be done?

A rights-based approach to budget demands that decisions be made on the basis of transparency, accountability, non-discrimination and participation. Rights-based approaches to budgets can help all citizens understand how the budgetary process can affect the daily lives of children and how they can intervene. In this way, citizens, including children and their advocates, can hold governments accountable for their spending choices.

Taking a rights-based approach to budgets includes looking at how a country’s budget system works, identifying which parts are open to public scrutiny, and monitoring budgetary allocation. This makes it possible to detect any neglected aspect of children’s rights or any allocations that threaten economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights.

Transformations in the way budgets are allocated will not be achieved overnight. Governments, confronted with limited resources, prioritise budget allocations according to perceived economic and political pressures. However, by actively motivating citizens to participate in budget procedures, a rights-based approach can influence budgetary allocations over time in positive ways to promote children’s rights.

Example: A Child’s Portion -An analysis of spending on children in the UK

It is not always easy to track what portion of government spending on all children will benefit particularly vulnerable groups.  So budget input analysis has been used to monitor government spending on an identified group or category of vulnerable children.

To better understand how governments are targeting the eradication of child poverty around the UK, Save the Children commissioned an analysis of public spending on children living in poverty in the UK. The analysis focused on key sectoral budgets including education, early years, tax and benefits across spending by the UK Government and the Devolved Administrations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland). It also looked at changes in public spendingsince 1997.

The analysis reveals that since the UK Government made its pledge in 1999 to eradicate child poverty, changes in public expenditure have delivered more money to low-income families with children and contributed to the decline in child poverty between 2000-2004. However, the analysis suggests that the re-distributive impact of these changes since then has been negligible and as we have seen in 2007 and 2008, the levels of child poverty in the UK have started to rise again.

A Child’s Portion accessed at this link: