Public expenditure tracking surveys in education
Peru, Uganda and Zambia
by Ritva Reinikka and Nathan Smith
Sub-regional course on Public expenditure tracking surveys in education
Accra, Ghana, 22-26 May 2006
PETS: lessons from Tanzania
Download the brief prepared by the U4
Welcome to the PETS page.
Here you can easily find out what this method consists of, where and how to use it, its results, information campaigns on PETS, countries where PETS studies have been carried out, as well as reports and publications related to PETS.
PETS is a method used to study the flow of public funds and other resources. It can vary greatly in content as to the type of expenditures tracked, the number of levels of public administration studied, and the sectors analysed.
The main question that a PETS sets out to answer is whether public funds and material resources end up where they are supposed to. If this is not the case, a PETS should find out why funds are diverted.
PETS can be used on several levels: from the central government level, through the administrative hierarchy, and out to the frontline service providers. It is most relevant where public accounting systems function poorly or provide unreliable information.
The approach was developed by a group of researchers at the World Bank and was first used to study a primary education reform in Uganda in 1996. Since then, several dozens of PETS have been implemented around the world, both in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and in Eastern Europe. PETS has also been used in the health sector.
PETS can vary greatly in quality (e.g. data quality, sample size). To implement a PETS, a research team consisting either of external consultants or employees of a government statistical office, tries through dialogue with different stakeholders, to identify leakage problems.
The next step is to draft a set of questionnaires corresponding to different tiers of the hierarchy and categories of respondents. It is important to use these questionnaires at central (employees in the ministry), and local level (local population, within the school).
For more information, see the sample questionnaire on PETS for primary school surveys
In order to analyse how resources made available to frontline service providers are transformed into services for the end users, a PETS is often complemented by a so-called 'Quantitative service delivery survey’ (QSDS) (for more information, please see the studies referred to on this page).
It is crucial that the ministry of education is involved in the procedure. In this connection, the IIEP has organized several intensive courses, where representatives from the education sector have been trained in PETS.
Conducted studies have shown that the amount of leakage is often difficult to estimate, due to poor book keeping. Leakage rates can in some cases be very high. There are, however, fewer problems with leakage in salary expenditures compared to non-salary expenditures.
As the experience from Uganda , shows PETS can have a positive impact when adequate information campaigns are conducted. The Ugandan central government thus began publishing the monthly intergovernmental transfers of public funds in the main newspapers. They also broadcasted information on the radio and required primary schools to post information on their flows of funds.
This not only made information available to parents, but also signalled to local governments that the centre had resumed its oversight function, drastically reducing fund leakages.
Indicating list of countries where one or several PETS studies have been carried out: Cambodia, Ghana, Kenya, Mongolia, Namibia, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia
Other reports and publications