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Monitoring

a guide for ngos


Monitoring Government Budgets to Advance
Child Rights: a Guide for NGOs is motivated by
growing global awareness of the relevance of
applied budget work to advance human rights
government
and increasing requests by NGOs to the
Children’s Budget Unit for information on how budgets to
to conduct budget analysis to advance the
rights of the child.
The Guide:
advance
• provides information about ways to
monitor government budgets to advance child rights
the rights of the child;
• aims to support research on government’s
budgeting for children and,
• is intended as an information resource for
child rights activists to apply budget
information to reinforce their advocacy
work.
This Guide has been compiled by the Children’s
Budget Unit of the Budget Information Service
(BIS) at the Institute for Democracy in South
Africa (Idasa).

Compiled by Judith Streak


Childrens Budget Unit (CBU)
Budget Information Service (BIS)
Monitoring gover nment
budgets to advance
child rights
a g u i d e f o r n g o s

Compiled by Judith Streak

Childrens Budget Unit (CBU)


Budget Information Service (BIS)
Institute for Democracy (Idasa)
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be
reproduced or transmitted, in any form or by any means,
without prior permission from the publishers.

This publication was printed by Idasa


6 Spin Street Cape Town 8001

September 2003

ISBN: 1-919798-51-X
Table of contents
The purpose of this Guide

Part I – Introduction to the budget and child rights


Chapter 1: The budget
1.1 What is the budget? 1

1.2 The budget cycle 2

1.3 Key elements of a sound budget system 6


1.4 The Public Expenditure Management approach to budgeting 10

1.5 Common weaknesses in budgeting 12

Chapter 2: Child rights


2.1 The legal human rights framework underpinning child rights 15

2.2 Role-players in the implementation of child rights 17

2.3 The obligation on state parties to deliver child rights 19


2.4 The role of markets, the state and budgeting to fulfil child rights 24

2.5 Budget monitoring to advance child rights 27

Part II – Developing a research framework for


a child budget study
Chapter 3: Pegging out the research terrain

3.1 What is the research objective? 31

3.2 What is the timeframe to be studied? 32


3.3 What rights will be included in the analysis? 32

3.4 Who is the target audience? 34


Chapter 4: Setting research questions

4.1 Deriving research questions from the child rights framework 36

4.2 Framing questions that engage the target audience 39


4.3 Deriving insights from economic theory 41

4.4 Identifying questions to channel the views of children 42

4.5 Selecting a final set of research questions 43

Part III - Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at


advancing child rights
Chapter 5: Profiling child poverty

5.1 Profiling the extent and distribution of income child poverty 49


5.2 Using indicators to profile different aspects of child poverty 57

5.3 Using child participation to highlight the non-realisation of child rights 60

5.4 Assessing the prospects for child poverty to be reduced through markets 62
Chapter 6: Analysing programme existence and design

6.1 Identifying government programmes that advance child rights 64

6.2 Describing and analysing the design of a child rights programme 65


Chapter 7: Analysing budget allocations to a child rights programme

7.1 Identifying and recording budget allocations 70

7.2 Expressing programme budget allocations as a percentage of


total budgeted expenditure 73

7.3 Calculating nominal growth rates in programme budget allocations 75

7.4 Adjusting nominal budget values for inflation and calculating


real growth rates 79
Chapter 8: Analysing budget implementation and service delivery

in a child rights programme

8.1 Analysing budget implementation 86


8.2 Analysing expansion in access to services 88

8.3 Uncovering service delivery problems 92

8.4 Examining government plans to improve budget implementation


and service delivery 93

Part IV - Information dissemination


Chapter 9: Developing an effective dissemination strategy
9.1 Why an effective information dissemination strategy is important 97

9.2 Different ways of packaging and disseminating research findings 98

9.3 The value of careful timing 100

Appendix I Examples of CBU research studies aimed at


advancing child rights in South Africa
• Study on government programme and budget measures aimed at

giving effect to child socio-economic rights in South Africa 104


• Assessment study on government’s sexual offences court

programme in South Africa 115

• Study on the implementation of the protocol on child abuse and


neglect in four of South Africa’s provinces 120

Appendix II Definition of key concepts on the budget,


economics and child rights
Acknowledgements
The Children’s Budget Unit (CBU) at the Institute for
Democracy in South Africa (Idasa) acknowledges with
gratitude the funding received from Save the Children
Sweden, the British Department for International
Development (DFID) and the Norwegian Institute for
Human Rights for the research and production of this
Guide.
Our appreciation to the International Budget Project
(IBP) in Washington DC for granting the CBU
permission to use their publication ‘A Guide to Budget
Work for NGOs’, Isaac Shapiro (ed.).
Erika Coetzee for editing the Guide and for creative
input. Many thanks to her for her partnership in
developing this Guide.
Doret Ferreira and Merylle Cornelson for design and
illustration.
The purpose of this guide
This guide is about how to monitor government budgets as a means to advance child
rights. It has been written with two categories of readers in mind, both within the
NGO sector:

• The guide aims to assist people who plan to conduct their own research on
government’s budgeting for children. For these target readers, the handbook offers
research support and practical guidance on how to use child budget analysis to
generate information that can be used to advance child rights.

• The guide is also intended as an information resource for child rights activists to use
budget information to reinforce their advocacy work. For these target readers, the
handbook provides insights into the different types of information that can be
generated through child budget analysis.

The guide thus facilitates and encourages meaningful interaction and strategic alignment
between the work of budget analysts and child rights activists in the NGO sector.

The book has been compiled by the Childrens Budget Unit (CBU), a project within the
Budget Information Service (BIS) at the Institute for Democracy in South Africa
(Idasa)1. The need for such a booklet is motivated by the following factors:

• The growing interest within the NGO and donor community in applied budget work
(see Shapiro 2002: 7).

• The increasing dialogue between individuals and organisations involved in applied


budget work and those involved in human rights advocacy work (see Schultz 2002).

• Specific requests made to the CBU for information on how to conduct child budget
analysis in South Africa and elsewhere.

The guide draws primarily on the CBU’s experience of conducting research on


government’s budgeting for children as a means to help reduce child poverty and advance
child rights.

1
Idasa is a public interest not-for-profit organisation i
promoting democracy and advocating for social justice in South
Africa and elsewhere.
About the Childrens Budget Unit (CBU)
The CBU was established in 1995 with the objective of conducting research and
disseminating information on government’s budgeting for children in South Africa. The
birth of the CBU came at a time of dramatic transformation in the political landscape of
the country. South Africa’s first democratic government, elected in April 1994, inherited a
legacy of extensive and deep poverty - including child poverty. At the time, it was
estimated that at the very least 60 percent of South African children were income poor.
During the first few years of democratic rule, the new government took a number of
significant steps that reflected a strong commitment to reducing child poverty and
advancing socio-economic rights. These included (amongst others):

• Government’s ratification (in June 1995) of the Convention on the Rights of the
Child (CRC);

• Certification of the new Constitution (in June 1996), which includes a broad range of
civil, political, socio-economic and cultural rights, for everyone and specifically for
children; and

• The design and initial introduction of a broad range of government programmes


aimed at giving effect to everyone’s socio-economic rights, but particularly those of
children.

In the mid 1990s, South Africa’s fledgling democracy was further strengthened by an
active NGO sector and many independent agencies conducting research and advocacy
work aimed at promoting socio-economic rights, pro-poor policies and legislation.
However, no research was then being undertaken on government’s budgeting for children
and how it could be improved. The CBU was established with a view to filling this
budget information gap.

Throughout this guide, examples are drawn from the work of the CBU to explain useful
research procedures and budget analysis methods. The handbook thus provides a
practical illustration of the kinds of research conducted by the unit. By way of
introduction, the CBU’s main research activities can broadly be summarised as follows:

ii
• Describing the child poverty situation and highlighting where it seems as if
government may be violating its obligations to deliver child rights.

• Describing the nature of the legal obligations on the state and particularly on
government (the executive) to deliver child rights,
with the focus on budget obligations and child socio-
economic rights.

• Identifying what programmes government has put in The work of the CBU has evolved over time.
place to deliver child rights and analysing the design However, its objectives, as expressed in its
of these programmes against the legal obligations to most recent mission statement, have
deliver child rights.
essentially remained the same. The mission
• Identifying and recording government budget of the CBU today is:
allocations to the key programmes in place to deliver “to contribute to child rights
child rights, relative to the total amount made realisation and child poverty reduction by
available for spending in the budget. conducting research, training and
information dissemination on government’s
• Analysing the implementation of the key programmes
government has put in place to deliver child rights budget allocations and service delivery in
(focusing on spending of budgets, the speed of roll- relation to legal obligations”.
out of services, discrimination in access and service
delivery problems).

• Making recommendations about how government


should build its programming and budgeting to better fulfil its obligations to child
rights.

Traditionally, the CBU focused its attention on analysing government programmes,


budgets and service delivery in four sectors: health, education, social development
(welfare) and justice. However, since 2001 the CBU has directed a great deal of its
research capacity to monitor government’s measures to give effect to two child socio-
economic rights, namely the right to social assistance and to education.

iii
Figure 1 below helps to clarify the approach the CBU adopts in its research. It illustrates
the link between ‘paper rights’ and the process of bringing these rights to fruition for
children. The figure outlines how the rights that are given to children on paper in the
form of legal documents - such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) and
constitutions – need to be translated into reality through government action.

Figure 1: Realising child rights: the link between rights on paper and
government action

Children are given a holistic range of rights in legal documents such as:
• the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child
• the constitutions of various countries

To help translate the paper rights into actual rights, governments must take
measures to:
• Reform the legal framework in a country so that it is congruent with child
rights treaties, ensuring that child rights are respected, protected and
fulfilled and that child rights laws are enforced.
• Assist the private sector to create jobs (and hence income) for parents in
low-income households (for example through fiscal, monetary, trade and
industrial policy).
• Develop programmes for the delivery of services that can fulfil child rights
to all children that need them, ensuring that there is non-discrimination in
programme design and the plan is to roll out services speedily.
• Allocate resources to child rights programmes so that they can be
implemented and to the enforcement of child rights laws.
• Implement child rights programmes in a way that ensures that budget
allocations, infrastructure and administrative capacity bring about the
rapid roll-out of services that can give effect to the rights for all children
in need. This includes spending budgets allocated to the programmes and
using financial and non-financial resources to deliver quality services,
quickly, to all children in need.

iv
In many developing countries where child poverty is extensive, markets are doing little to
help deliver socio-economic rights. By and large, the private sector is not generating
many job opportunities for poor people. In such circumstances, it is particularly vital for
government intervention to deliver socio-economic rights via the design and effective
implementation of programmes that deliver basic services.

As indicated above, the scope of the CBU’s budget monitoring covers not only the
identification of budget allocations to programmes designed to give effect to child rights.
It also analyses the design of the programmes that government has put in place to deliver
child rights, and the implementation of these programmes.2 This dual focus is necessary
because the realisation of child rights in South Africa is as dependant on the South
African government designing and effectively implementing programmes that facilitate
rapid roll-out of services to all children in need, as it is on budget allocations to such
programmes.

Against this background, this guide offers assistance on how to go about analysing not
only government’s budget allocations to child rights programmes, but also how to analyse
the design and implementation of such programmes.

Overview of the guide


The guide is structured to support readers in a process of conceptualising, planning,
conducting and ultimately disseminating research on government budgeting to advance
child rights. It is divided into four parts, followed by two appendices.

Part I lays a foundation for the rest of the guide by clarifying some key concepts and
providing background information on the budget and child rights. It presents a starting
point of essential basics that anyone should be familiar with before embarking on a
budget study that aims to advance child rights.

• Chapter one gives a brief overview of basic budget concepts, including the budget
cycle and the importance of budget monitoring.

2
Due to capacity constraints, the CBU’s budget work from a child rights perspective currently v
excludes the analysis of legislation. A number of other research organisations in South Africa
have a specific focus on holding government accountable for ensuring that South African law is
congruent with the legal child rights framework. These include the Community Law Centre at the
University of the Western Cape and Children’s Rights Institute at the University of Cape Town.
• Chapter two offers an introduction to the child rights terrain and outlines the
obligations on states to deliver these rights. It draws attention to the manner in which
states are required to use their budgets to advance child rights.

Part II of the guide is intended to support the conceptualisation and planning phase of a
child budget study. It offers practical suggestions on how to go about developing a
coherent and detailed research framework.

• Chapter three provides guidelines for defining the objective and scope of the study, as
well as the target audience for which the research findings are intended.

• Chapter four puts forward a five-step process for identifying and selecting the
research questions for a budget study that aims to advance child rights. The chapter
concludes with a summary of twelve key questions to ask in relation to government’s
programme conceptualisation, budget allocations and programme implementation
when conducting budget analysis from a child rights perspective. These questions
should be seen as a guide rather than a prescription, on the understanding that the
exact set of research questions will differ from country to country and study to study.

Part III of the guide explains and illustrates the basic research methods typically used in
studies aimed at monitoring budgets in a way that help to advance child rights. For
readers that aim to conduct their own child budget analysis, it provides an overview of
basic budget and research skills that will assist them in answering most of the research
questions identified in part two of the guide:

• Chapter five highlights the value of developing a profile of child poverty as part of a
child budget research study. It outlines various approaches to child poverty profiling
and examines how to tackle these in practice. The chapter also includes guidelines to
help assess the prospects for child poverty to be reduced via growth in the market
economy.

vi
• Chapter six offers pointers on how to begin the process of analysing the programmes
that government has set in place to give effect to a particular child right. It focuses on
the identification of such programmes and a method for examining and describing
their design.

• Chapter seven tackles the nuts and bolts of analysing budget allocations to a child
rights programme. It explains a range of basic budget analysis skills and illustrates
how these can be applied to specific programmes set in place to advance child rights.

• Chapter eight outlines how a research team can go about analysing budget
implementation and service delivery in relation to a child rights programme. This
chapter includes practical guidelines for monitoring government’s performance in
translating its budget allocations into service delivery for children.

Part IV of the guide focuses on the dissemination of information generated by child


budget research. Its single chapter, chapter nine, considers the importance of effective
information dissemination and provides advice about how to go about developing and
implementing such a strategy.

Readers can access more information on the key themes and topics of the guide by
consulting the resource lists that appear at the end of each part (and in some cases at the
end of individual chapters).

Appendix I presents three diverse examples of CBU research studies that monitor
government programmes, budgeting and service provision for children. While they differ
in significant respects, the examples are united by the common aim of providing
information that can be used as a tool to advance child rights. The diversity of the
examples illustrates that there are many disparate kinds of research studies that can be
classified as projects that monitor budgets for children in order to advance child rights.

Appendix II provides an alphabetical list of key definitions relating to basic budget,


economic and child rights concepts.

vii
Part 1
Introduction to the budget
and child rights

When embarking on a study of government’s budgeting for


children, it is useful to have some knowledge about the budget
and about child rights, and to understand some key budget
and child rights concepts.
The aim of this section of the guide is to provide general and
basic information about the budget, child rights and state
obligations to deliver these rights. The appendix at the back
of the guide also provides definitions of basic budget and child
rights concepts.
“Ultimately, policy makers have to
determine how much public spending
should be allocated for the purposes
of redistribution …(and child
rights)…and how these resources
should be distributed within society…
Unfortunately, economic theory
provides little guidance on these
questions…These issues have to be
resolved in the political sphere…”

(Fozzard, 2001:21-22).
Chapter one:
The budget 1 Chapter one: The Budget

1.1 What is the budget


“The Budget is Government’s
Technically speaking, the budget is the document that includes a operational plan to deliver a better life
government’s expenditure and revenue proposals. These expenditure to all our people. It sets out what you
and revenue proposals reflect a government’s policy priorities and will pay in taxes, how we will spend
fiscal targets. They are based on government’s projections about the that money, and what we will deliver.
performance of the economy over the medium term.
It is a synthesis of all our Government
The budget expresses the objectives and aspirations of the policies. The budget is our contract
government in power. In a democratic society, these objectives and with the nation”.
aspirations should, at least in theory, reflect those of the majority of (Trevor Manuel, South African Minister of
the electorate. Government really has no money of its own. In the Finance, in the 1998 Republic of South Africa
budget – in outlining its plans for spending money – it is explaining Budget Review).
how it is going to spend money that belongs to the public. In a
democratic society, citizens give the government a mandate via their “Public budgets are the instruments by
votes. Politicians are obliged to translate that mandate into policies which governments raise and allocate
and plans that are, in part, reflected in the budget. For example, if a the financial resources of the state.
government is elected by a majority that supported it due to its They are also the means by which
promises to deliver child poverty reduction and child rights, then the governments provide for basic
budget is expected to reflect these commitments. necessities that relate to human rights.
Public budgets are more than a
No government in the world has infinite public resources at its
disposal. At the same time, there is a boundless array of needs to be collection of numbers, they are a
met through public expenditure. The budget thus always declaration of a community’s or
incorporates trade-offs between different spending priorities and nation’s priorities”. (Shultz, 2002:10).

1 This chapter draws heavily on chapter 4 of Isaac


Shapiro’s (2001) Guide to Budget Work for NGOs , titled
‘Budget Basics’.
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Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

includes value judgements about which services, and whose interests, are most important. The
budget is clearly a political and contestable document.

Defining the budget solely as the document that outlines government’s expenditure and revenue
proposals misses the important point that the budget is a manifestation (or product) of a long and
intricate budget decision-making process and a country’s system for managing and assessing its
spending and tax policies.

1.2 The budget cycle


The budget cycle is made up of the major events or stages in making decisions about the budget,
and implementing and assessing those decisions. By looking at the budget cycle in your country,
you get an idea about the nature of the budget process and system in your country and the way in
which the various parts of the budget (document, process and system) interact. When conducting an
analysis of government’s budgeting for children, an understanding of the budget cycle in your
country can also help you to identify strategic opportunities to disseminate research findings.

The budget cycle usually has four stages:

Stage 1 Budget formulation The budget plan is put together by the executive branch of
government.

Stage 2 Budget enactment The budget plan may be debated, altered, and approved by the
legislative branch of government

Stage 3 Budget execution The policies of the budget are carried out by the government.

Stage 4 Budget auditing The actual expenditures of the budget are accounted for and
assessment assessed for effectiveness.

2
Chapter one: The Budget

Budget formulation
This initial stage in the formulation of the budget occurs almost exclusively within the executive
branch of government. Typically, one office – usually the budget office in the ministry of finance –
co-ordinates and manages the formulation of the budget, requesting information from individual
departments. It is also likely to propose trade-offs necessary to fit competing government priorities
into pre-determined budget expenditure totals, based on fiscal policy targets2 and growth
projections. This process can take a few weeks to several months, largely depending on the extent to
which departments are involved and their views are taken into account.

The broad contours of the budget are determined in part by government’s projections of key fiscal
and other parameters – such as economic growth, inflation, or demographic changes – which will
influence overall revenues and expenditures. Yet the budget formulation process is also influenced
by government spending priorities, policy goals and legislative requirements.

In general, budgets are not built from the ground up every year. Instead, new budgets tend to use the
budget most recently adopted into law as a starting point (baseline). This does not mean that all
budget changes from baselines are incremental. Especially when new policies or laws are
introduced and priorities change, there will be substantial changes in budgets.

Many countries have adopted a three-year rolling budget system, otherwise known as the Medium
Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF). The MTEF is a multi-year approach to budgeting that
aims to strengthen the links between planning, policy-making and budgets. Under this system, the
formulation stage of the budget involves deciding on expenditures and revenues not only for the up-
coming financial year, but also on estimates for the two subsequent financial years.

One of the intended outcomes of conducting budget analysis for children is to help ensure that the
allocation of funds to programmes designed to give effect to child rights (particularly basic child
socio-economic rights) is given high priority in the formulation stage of the budget. For most
countries, the international human rights framework and domestic legislation demands that this be
the case. This is because international treaties and domestic laws (in some countries, their
constitutions) place an obligation on states to prioritise resource allocations for the provision of
those basic services that are required to deliver rights. However, in decision-making around the

2 Fiscal policy targets refer to targets for macroeconomic


variables such as the level of government debt, economic
growth rates and inflation.
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Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

allocation of scarce resources, the obligation on government to prioritise allocations to children’s


programmes is not always reflected in government actions.

Budget enactment
During the second stage of the budget cycle, the executive’s budget is discussed in the legislature and
enacted into law. The second stage of the budget cycle begins when the executive formally proposes the
budget to the legislature. The legislature then discusses the budget, a process that may include public
hearings and votes by legislative committees. The process ends when the budget is adopted by the
legislature, either intact or with amendments. The budget can, in some countries, be rejected by the
legislature and be replaced by the legislature’s own proposal, but this is not usually the case.

It is typically during the budget enactment stage that public attention on the budget is greatest and
information about the budget is most broadly disseminated and read.

At this time of the year, the media is likely to have particular interest in receiving budget analyses,
including research findings on government’s budgeting for children.

Budget execution
The third stage in the budget cycle involves the implementation of the budget and monitoring of
spending. Governments differ widely in how they regulate and monitor spending to ensure adherence to
budgets. In some cases, the treasury (or finance ministry) exercises strong central control over spending,
reviewing allocations to departments and approving major expenditures. Where departments are more
independent, treasuries will monitor expenditures by requiring, for instance, regular reporting by each
department on its spending.

In practice, budgets are not always implemented in the exact form in which they were approved. For
example, funding levels in the budget may not be adhered to or authorised funds may not be spent for the
intended purpose. These deviations can be acceptable when they flow from conscious policy decisions or
a reaction to changing economic conditions. However, deviations that cannot be justified in relation to
sound policy shifts are cause for concern. Such deviations may result from outright abuse by the executive,
but also often reflect a poor budget system and a lack of administrative capacity in programmes.

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Chapter one: The Budget

Typical problems that lead to deviations between the budget plan and implementation include:

• A lack of clarity about the intended use of funds;

• Poor costing of policy and programmes (sometimes due to lack of data but also simply due to lack of
costing capacity);

• Weak reporting systems for monitoring budget implementation;

• Lack of knowledge in government about how to roll out programmes; and/or

• Inadequate administration, infrastructure and institutional capacity.

In most countries, the executive (led by the finance ministry) issues regular public reports on the status
of expenditure during the year in different programmes and sectors.

As explained in the introduction, budget analysis for children does not only involve asking and
answering questions about how much has been allocated to children’s programmes and whether it is
enough (questions related to the first two stages of the budget cycle). It also involves analysing the
implementation of child budget allocations and programmes. This aspect of child budget work asks
whether there are deviations between budget allocations to child programmes and actual expenditure
on these programmes. It also examines whether resources are being used in a way that ensures that
quality services are being rolled out rapidly to all children in need (particularly the most vulnerable).

Budgeting auditing and assessment


This final stage in the budget cycle aims to shed light on whether the budget has been implemented as
planned and whether funds have been used effectively. Ideally during this stage, the executive branch
reports extensively on its fiscal activities to the legislature and to the public. In addition, the
implementation of the budget is reviewed by an established, independent and professional body, such as
an audit institution or an Auditor General.

To understand budget assessment, it is useful to be aware of the terms: budget inputs, budget outputs
and budget outcomes. Budget inputs are the resources assigned to a budget. Budget outputs refer to

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Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

the services produced by budget inputs. Budget outcomes refer to the change in the environment or
quality of life that the service is supposed to bring about. (See also Appendix II).

During the assessment process, it is desirable to consider deviations between planned inputs (budget
allocations) and actual inputs and between planned outputs (services) and actual outputs. Some
countries have moved even further in budget evaluation, to also consider deviations between
planned and actual budget outcomes (Buhler, 2002). It is very difficult to rigorously link budget
inputs, budget outputs and budget outcomes and hence to evaluate budgets by considering all three
levels (Ibid).

1.3 Key elements of a sound budget system


There are four key elements of a sound budget system:

• A legal framework to define institutional roles and responsibilities, including checks and
balances (accountability).

• A comprehensive budget that captures the totality of government’s financial operations.

• Accurate and timely information and projections (this depends on developing good
demographic statistics and the capacity to effectively cost implementation of policies).

• A process that is transparent, allows for meaningful participation by the legislature and civil
society and builds performance monitoring into the budget system.

A legal framework
An appropriate legal framework helps to ensure that adequate checks and balances have been
established for the budget system. For example, the legal framework should outline the role of the
legislature and of independent auditing institutions in guarding against the total dominance and
potential abuse of the budget system by the executive. In some countries, like in South Africa, the
Constitutional Court and independent bodies such as the Human Rights Commission, are also

6
Chapter one: The Budget

given, by law, a role in overseeing government’s budgeting.

A legal framework that clarifies the roles and responsibilities of the executive and legislative
branches in the budget system and of independent institutions is essential to establishing
accountability. The clarification of roles and responsibilities should extend to the different levels of
government, explaining which tier is responsible for delivering which public services, and which
revenues can be raised by different tiers.

A legal framework should also establish the rules and regulations that guide the budget decision-
making process and the management of government revenue and public expenditure. Even simple
rules can be important, such as setting the key dates in the budget process and defining the reporting
obligations of the executive. The rules may also dictate the scope of the budget or spell out the
complex procedures surrounding the procurement of goods and services by the public sector. Legal
frameworks in some countries include a significant number of procedural details, while others give
more flexibility to government managers. Even in the latter case, the legal framework will include a
minimum set of requirements to ensure that managers can be assessed and the public interest
protected.

A comprehensive budget
Ideally, the budget should capture all of the intended financial transactions of government: the total
revenues to be collected, funds to be expended, debts to be repaid, as well as new and old liabilities
to be incurred. The full picture of a government’s financial status cannot be captured if some
programmes, agencies or commitments are ‘off budget’. In most low-income countries, where
donor money makes up a large part of the total funds available for spending on public services, it is
important for (revenue and expenditure) information on these funds to be included in the
government budget.

Without a comprehensive budget it is virtually impossible to have a meaningful debate on the


allocation of scarce resources to specific public services. It is also very difficult to conduct rigorous
and useful monitoring of government’s budgeting for children.

Over the recent past, the definition of a comprehensive budget has been expanded to include the

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Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

requirement of providing budget data over several years. To be comprehensive, budgets should – at
the minimum – include information on estimated levels of expenditure and revenues in the year
immediately preceding the budget year as well as the actual levels for the year or two prior to this.
The presentation of actual expenditure and revenue levels provides an important benchmark for
assessing the budget proposals for the up-coming financial year. It is also important to compare the
actual and budgeted expenditure over the last couple of years. To be really comprehensive in terms
of yearly coverage, the budget should also – in line with the MTEF framework – include
projections of spending, revenue and macro-economic outcomes for the two years following the
upcoming financial year.

Accurate, timely and relevant information and projections


Accurate and timely budget information is an essential element of a sound budget system. Such
information is necessary at all stages of the budget cycle. It is needed to determine the type and
magnitude of public services to be funded by the budget, the extent to which budgets are being
implemented as planned and to assess budget performance. Without appropriate information, a
government would be operating in the dark and monitoring institutions would not be able to play
their roles effectively.

It is particularly important for budgets to be based on sound projections of key macroeconomic


variables (such as growth and inflation). Failure to make prudent and accurate decisions with
regard to these revenues can lead to revenue inflows being far lower than expected and spending
plans being reversed. When this occurs in developing countries, experience has shown that it is often
expenditure on programmes delivering crucial services to the poor (including children), that is cut
first.

It is crucial that proposed allocations are based on a sound costing of programme implementation.
Costing programme implementation requires knowledge about the administrative capacity of
government to implement key policies and programmes (and how quickly it can be built), and the
numbers of people eligible for services produced by the programme. Good information about the

8
Chapter one: The Budget

expected demand for services is needed in order to develop sound baseline budgets. This highlights
how important it is to build appropriate systems for recording demographic data in order to
establish a sound budget system. This is a key challenge in many developing countries, including
South Africa.

Transparency and participation


Transparency and participation transcend the budget process and reflect the extent of good
governance and democracy in a society. Open and democratic societies are characterised by an
informed citizenry, formal channels for public participation, accountability mechanisms and
transparent governing processes. As the capstone of a good budget system, transparency and
participation are therefore heavily dependant on the promotion of democracy and good governance
in a country. Due to a lack of democracy and good governance in many countries, transparency in
the budget process is inadequate and public participation is limited.

Transparency rests on the availability of information and also on its usefulness to public debate and
the formulation of policy. There is an important connection between transparency and participation:
one aim of transparency is to promote greater participation. Many of the objectives of transparency
– such as holding government accountable, or increasing support for government decisions, or
improving efficiency in government programmes and projects – cannot be fully realised without
complementary participation by legislatures and civil society. For example, access to information
may allow legislatures to monitor executive decisions and performance, but without the opportunity
to act on the information they receive, their oversight will be ineffective and there will be no real
incentives to correct performance.

To develop and sustain a sound budget system, a country requires the participation of government,
the auditor general (or some independent auditing agency), parliament, civil society and the
electorate.

9
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

1.4 The Public Expenditure Management approach to


budgeting
Public Expenditure Management (PEM) is a new approach to budgeting. The PEM approach
evolved over the last decade as part of the process of trying to build better budget processes and
systems in various countries.3 The main message of the PEM approach is that budgets should be
reformed in a way that allows them to be driven not by cost pressures, but by consideration of
aggregate fiscal discipline, allocative efficiency and operational efficiency:

• Aggregate fiscal discipline means that total expenditure should reflect explicit decisions that are in
line with sustainable growth-oriented economic and fiscal policy, and not merely demands on
spending from different actors.

• Allocative efficiency means that the allocation of resources, and consequently expenditures,
should be based on explicit priorities that reflect society’s choices and (presumably anticipated)
programme effectiveness.

• Operational efficiency means that the delivery of public goods and services should be cost efficient
and of high quality.

The PEM approach therefore highlights the importance of considering three levels when
government officials allocate and use resources – and when researchers evaluate government
budgeting. These are illustrated in Figure 2.

3 The pioneer of the PEM approach is Allan Shick. See for


example, Schick, A. (1998), A Contemporary Approach to
Public Expenditure Management. Washington D.C: World Bank
10 Institute. Key advocates of the approach are the World Bank
and International Monetary Fund.
Chapter one: The Budget

Figure 2: The importance of fiscal disciple and efficiency in budgeting

Aggregate level of spending Budgets should be planned and implemented in such a way
HOW MUCH IS SPENT? that the levels of spending and taxing are affordable.

Allocations should be made and money spent in such a way


Composition of spending
that resources are allocated to strategic priorities and to
ON WHAT IS IT SPENT? programmes that are expected to be most effective in
realising chosen policy goals.

Efficiency of spending Money must be spent in programmes in such a way that


value for money is maximised and wastage minimised
HOW WELL IS IT SPENT?

In practice, it is very difficult for politicians, budget planners and society as a whole to ensure that
resources are allocated in line with the principles outlined above. This is because:

• Unforeseen economic shocks can undermine revenue collection and hence the ability to adhere
to the fiscal prudence principle.

• Individuals in society have diverse needs and preferences, making it virtually impossible for
government to identify what should, in an ideal world, be priorities for the allocation of public
resources.

• Politicians, driven by party interests, have their own ideas about what should be prioritised and
often do not consult adequately with their electorates.

• It is very difficult to conduct the cost-benefit analysis necessary to show the relative
effectiveness of different programmes in realising a particular objective once it has been
selected.4

4 For a good overview of the limits of applying the PEM


principles of good budgeting in practice, see Fozzard, A.
(2001). ‘The Basic Budgeting Problem: Approaches to
Resource Allocation in the Public Sector and their 11
Implications for Pro-Poor Budgeting’ ODI Working Paper
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

1.5 Common weaknesses in budgeting


A number of problems in each stage of the budget cycle are common to all countries.

During the budget formulation and enactment stages:

• Allocation of resources in line with stated priorities (as reflected in political campaigns and
legal documents) is often undermined by politicians playing political games and acting in their
own interests.

• Fiscal discipline and the efficient allocation of resources are undermined by a lack of capacity to
predict the future performance of key economic variables (such as inflation and economic
growth) and the relative efficiency of different programmes (expenditure priorities).

• Inability to predict key macroeconomic variables is, in part, simply the result of inherent
uncertainty regarding the future of the national and international economies. However, it is
also due to lack of capacity amongst civil servants tasked with making the predictions.

• Poor predictions of the relative efficiency of different programmes usually result from a lack of
proper costing of programmes, a lack of technical costing and modelling capacity and poor
quality data.

• During the enactment stage many countries, legislatures – and sometimes NGOs – do not have
the political will (or power), research capacity and time to play a meaningful oversight role by
reviewing the budget.

During the budget implementation stage:

• Common problems usually include a poor flow of information about what funds are to be spent on.

• Transfers to the department responsible for spending the funds may be unacceptably slow.

• Service providers often lack the administrative capacity and infrastructure to effectively
implement programmes.

• Many countries have weak accountability and reporting systems.

12
Chapter one: The Budget

During the audit and assessment stage:

• A lack of independence on the part of auditors undermines the transparency and accountability
of the auditing process.

• Budget assessment may be too narrow in its focus (for example, consideration of inputs but not
outputs and outcomes).

• A team tasked with budget assessment may itself lack the evaluation capacity to undertake this
task effectively.

13
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

RESOURCE LIST FOR CHAPTER 1


Buhler, B, Groszyk, W and Kristensen, J. 2002. ‘Outcome-focused Management
and Budgeting’, in OECD Journal on Budgeting. Vol 1, no 4, pp 7 – 34.

Fozzard, A. 2001. The Basic Budgeting Problem: Approaches to Resource Allocation


in the Public Sector and their Implications for Pro-Poor Budgeting. Overseas
Development Institute (ODI) Working Paper no 147.

Hickey, A and Van Zyl, A. 2002. 2002 South African Budget Guide and
Dictionary. Cape Town: Idasa.

Schick, A. 1998. A Contemporary Approach to Public Expenditure Management.


Washington DC: World Bank Institute.

Schick, A. 1966. ‘Planning-Programming-Budgeting System: A Road to PPB: The


Stages of Budget Reform’, in Public Administration Review. December, pp 243 – 258.

Shapiro, I. 2002. A Guide to Budget Work for NGOs. Washington: The


International Budget Project.

World Bank’s internet site on public expenditure: http://www1.worldbank.org/


publicsector/pe/

Wildavsky, A. 1997 ‘The Poor and the Uncertain: Low-income Countries’, in


Wildavsky, A. Budgeting – A Comparative Theory of Budgetary Processes.
London: Transaction Publishers.

World Bank. 1998. Public Expenditure Management Handbook. Washington: The


World Bank.

14
Chapter two:
Child rights Chapter two: Child rights

In a recent report1 titled Promises


Child rights are child-specific human rights standards, set to Keep: Using Public Budgets as a Tool
by international and regional human rights treaties and by to Advance Economic, Social and
domestic law. The rights place an obligation on the state, Cultural Rights, Shultz provides a
and most importantly in this context on governments, to summary description of human
protect and promote the development of children. They rights and how they have evolved:
also entitle children to claim certain things that will allow
“Human rights are the promises
them to meet their basic needs, live with dignity and enjoy
that societies make to their
freedom from both want and fear. The ultimate objective of
child rights is to protect children from actions that members to assure dignity. These
undermine their dignity and to promote actions that bring rights go beyond being mere
about a decent quality of life for children. promises, however, they are also the
law, be it by domestic statute or
international accord. Over time
2.1 The legal human rights framework and nation-by-nation, the nature of
underpinning child rights how those promises are recognised
and enshrined into law has
At the global level, rights are on the one hand given to children in the changed. Originally, human rights
general human rights treaties that have been developed by the United
were mostly about protecting civil
Nations. These include:
liberties, such as freedoms of
• the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) speech, press and religion, and
and freedom against torture and abuse
– restrictions on the excesses of
• the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural
government’s against individuals.
Rights (ICESCR).2
For a century, our definitions of
Both these covenants were adopted by the United Nations in 1966 and human rights have expanded to
came into force in 1976, when they had been ratified by a sufficient include economic and social rights
number of states (Liebenberg and Pillay, 2000:84). – to health, food, income, housing
On the other hand, and more importantly, child rights are also given at the and other basic needs that
global level in a child specific human rights treaty, the UN Convention on governments must guarantee”
(Shultz, 2002:10).
1
This report flowed from a conference involving human
rights activists and applied budget analysts held in
Mexico, Cuernavaca in January 2002.
2
Both the ICCPR and ICESCR flowed from the Universal
15
Declaration of Human Rights, which in turn flowed from
the United Nations Charter, adopted in 1945.
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

the Rights of the Child (CRC). The CRC was developed by the United Nations in the late 1980s to
give children all over the world a holistic set of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
It was adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in November 1989 and entered into
force shortly thereafter. The CRC has thus far been ratified by all countries in the world except the
United States of America and Somalia.

The general and child-specific rights given to children at the global level via the United Nations
treaties are complemented in most countries by the ratification of regional human rights treaties. In
a few countries, they are also supplemented by the inclusion of child rights in the Constitution. For
example, in South Africa, the relevant international child rights legal framework is the ICCPR and
the CRC (South Africa has signed but not yet ratified the ICESCR). At the regional level, the
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (AC) also applies to South African
children.3 In addition, the South African Constitution also gives children particular legal rights
(civil, political, economic, social and cultural). The Constitution’s Bill of Rights includes rights
given in general to everyone, as well as child-specific rights.

There are different categories of child rights: civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights.
These different categories of child rights are inter-dependant: unless all the rights are ultimately
realised, it will be impossible to ensure that children can truly live with dignity and be free from
both want and fear.

Civil and political rights


Civil and political child rights are rights that limit physical and legal abuse by governments (and
other parties) against children. They entitle children to be free from feeling physically threatened
and abused by the political system, law or another person. Examples from the CRC include:

• the child’s right to life - Article 6(1)

• the child’s right to be registered after birth – Article 7(1)

• the child’s right to freedom of association – Article 15(1)

• the child’s right to be heard in any judicial and/or administrative proceedings affecting the
child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body – Article 12(1).

3
This is a child specific human rights treaty developed by
the erstwhile Organisation of African Unity (OAU). It was
16 adopted by the OAU in 1990. South Africa signed the
African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African
Child (AC) in January 2000.
Chapter two: Child rights

Economic, social and cultural rights


These child rights aim to ensure that children have their cultural practices respected and have the
minimum level of income and access to basic goods and services needed to live a dignified life.
Examples from the CRC include:

• the child’s right to a good enough standard of living – Article 27

• the child’s right to health and health services – Article 24

• the child’s right to benefit from social security (social assistance) – Article 26

• the child’s right to education – Article 28

• the child’s right to enjoy his or her own culture, practice his or her own religion or use his or her
own language – Article 30.

• the right to dignity given specifically to disabled children – Article 23.

2.2 Role-players in the “All you get with a law is words on


paper. How do you turn that into
implementation of child rights real change on the ground?” (Maggie
The rights that exist for children on paper have to be translated into Beirne, human rights campaigner from Ireland,

tangible benefits in order for them to become meaningful. When cited in Shultz, 2002:20).
thinking about the role-players involved in this process, it is useful to
make a distinction between those that are explicitly given obligations “All human rights are tools for
in the international human rights instruments and domestic laws, and empowerment and mobilization.
those that are not. Only through knowing our socio-
economic rights, and organising to
In most of the relevant treaties like the CRC, and in constitutions,
two role-players are explicitly given obligations to advance child defend and advance these rights, will
rights. These are states (referred to as ‘State Parties’ in the CRC) and they become more than `paper
parents.4 The pace at which child rights are realised in a country is rights’.” (Liebenberg and Pillay, 2000:17).
indeed heavily dependant on the actions of parents and the state.

4
In Article 4, the CRC also implicitly refers to obligations
of the international community by suggesting that it may be
necessary in some cases for the developing countries to draw 17
on international assistance for realisation of child socio-
economic rights.
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

However, the international human rights treaties, including the CRC, do not say anything about the
relative role of the different organs of state - the executive (government), parliament and the
judiciary - in fulfilling state party obligations. Constitutions (for example, the South African
Constitution) usually set out more explicitly how the various components of the state are required to
give effect to child rights. Broadly speaking, it can be argued that government, in the form of the
executive, is the pivotal player.

A number of other roleplayers make important contributions in the child rights arena, although they
are not explictly given the obligation to do so. These players can, for example, advance child rights
by monitoring the actions of those that do have explicit obligations, advocating for child rights and
enforcing child rights laws. The table below summarises how these different role players help to
advance child rights.

Role player How they help to give effect to child rights

A country’s government (executive) By developing laws, conceptualising and implementing programmes


(including allocating and spending resources) and using policy to
create an environment in which the market creates income
opportunities for the poor.

A country’s parliament By monitoring the fulfilment of a government’s child rights


obligations

A country’s judiciary By interpreting and enforcing laws pertaining to child rights

Human rights commissions By monitoring the measures governments undertake to realise child
rights

Parents By helping to provide the material goods, love, protection and


psychological support children need to meet their basic needs and
live healthy and secure lives.

Civil society By assisting in the provision of pubic or other services to children,


conducting research on the fulfilment of child rights obligations and
advocacy to promote child rights

18
Chapter two: Child rights

Research organisations By monitoring the implementation of child rights and conducting


research the helps define rights, obligations and implementation
strategies

The international financial By making loans to governments in state parties and/or by giving aid
community that finances specific child rights programmes and offering technical
support

United Nations Committee on the By overseeing the implementation of the CRC5 , including through
Rights of the Child (the UN accepting State and NGO reports on implementation of child rights
supervisory body for the CRC) obligations

Children (rights bearers) By being aware of and claiming their rights.

When conducting budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights, the focus is on monitoring the
extent to which one organ of the state, namely government, is fulfilling its responsibilities in relation
to these rights. The section below provides an overview of States Parties’ obligations, focusing on
governments’ responsibilities to deliver child rights.

2.3 The obligation on States Parties to deliver child


rights

The obligation to protect, respect and fulfil child rights


Any child right entails an obligation on government. More specifically, when a government has
signed and ratified a human rights treaty (and in some countries, adopted a constitution) that give
children certain rights, the government simultaneously takes on the obligation to respect, protect
and fulfil the child rights in question.

5
See section 2.5 for more information on the monitoring role
of the UNCRC.

19
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

• The obligation to ‘‘respect’


respect’ means that governments are obliged not to take
For example, article 2
away a child’s rights, or make it difficult for him or her to gain access to these rights. For
of the CRC says the
example, governments are obliged not to pass laws that prevent a child living with HIV
following:
or AIDS from attending school. They must also not do away with, or cut back on
“1. States Parties shall
programmes that have been put in place to deliver a child’s rights.
respect and ensure the
rights set forth in the • The obligation to ‘protect’ means that governments are obliged to pass laws
present Convention to preventing powerful people or organisations (including government itself) from violating
each child within their child rights. Moreover, they must enforce these laws by acting against perpetrators and
providing effective remedies if the rights are violated. For example, governments must
jurisdiction without
pass laws aimed at ensuring that a child cannot be abused and if this happens, they must
discrimination of any
act against the perpetrator. Governments are also obliged to respond to a case of a child
kind, irrespective of the
being excluded from school because he/she is poor or living with HIV.
child’s or his parent’s
or legal guardian’s • The obligation to ‘fulfil’ means that governments must increase awareness of
race, colour, sex, child rights and must take positive steps to assist children who do not have their rights
language, religion, realised, to help them access these rights. This translates into an obligation on
political or other government to develop programmes to give effect to child rights, particularly in relation
opinion, national, to socio-economic rights where realisation is very dependent on the provision of public
services. It also translates into a duty to set aside sufficient resources in budgets for the
ethnic or social origin,
fulfilment of child rights. More specifically, government is obliged to allocate resources
property, disability,
for the following:
birth or other status.
Public awareness campaigns around child rights;
2. States Parties shall The development and enforcement of laws relating to child rights; and
take all appropriate The implementation of programmes designed to give children access to their
measures to ensure rights via provision of public services (such as education services, health services, social
that the child is assistance, police services and criminal justice/protection services).
protected against all
forms of discrimination Non-discrimination in fulfilment of obligations
or punishment on the
Crucially, in respecting, protecting and fulfilling child rights, states (including
basis of the status,
governments) are obliged not to discriminate against any particular sector of children and
activities, expressed
to cater for the most vulnerable (CRC and Creamer, 2002).
opinions, or beliefs of
the child’s parents,
legal guardians,20 or 20
family members.”
Chapter two: Child rights

The obligation to progressively realise child rights


The obligations on states to give effect to
child rights are coupled with an
acknowledgement that this cannot be
achieved overnight. This acknowledgement
The CRC places a time and resource limit on States Parties’
is particularly relevant to socio-economic
obligation to deliver socio-economic rights of children with the
rights and the measures governments must
following statement:
take to give effect to these rights. To realise
child socio-economic rights, governments “States Parties shall undertake all appropriate legislative,
are required to develop, finance and administrative and other measures for the implementation of the
implement (perhaps with the assistance of rights recognised in the present Convention. With regard to
the private and NGO sectors) effective economic, social and cultural rights, States Parties shall
public programmes, that deliver services undertake such measures to the maximum extent of their
such as health, education and income available resources and, where needed, within the framework of
support to children. It is clear that such international co-operation.” (Article 4, CRC).
undertakings need resources and time.
The ICESCR limits the obligation of state parties to deliver
In addition, in listing each of the socio-
economic rights of children, reference is socio-economic rights of children and everyone in the
again made, in most instances, to resource ICESCR in the following way:
availability and time constraints on state “Each State Party to the present Covenant undertakes to
parties’ delivery responsibility. take steps, individually and through international
assistance and co-operation, especially economic and
If governments are not obliged to realise
technical, to the maximum extent of its available
socio-economic rights overnight, then at
resources, with a view to achieving progressively the full
what speed – according to the international
realisation of the rights recognised in the present Covenant
rights treaties – are they in fact obliged
to deliver child socio-economic rights? by all appropriate means, including particularly the
What does the obligation to adoption of legislative measures.”
‘progressively deliver child socio- (Article 2.1, ICESCR).

economic rights’ require of governments


in practice?

21
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

There are no concrete answers to the questions above.6 It is not completely clear at what pace
governments (which have different political conditions, economic and human resource capacities)
are obliged to deliver socio-economic rights to all children in practice. Similarly, the legal
framework does not spell out what level of services has to be delivered to give effect to different
levels of rights - immediately and over time.

However, some insight about what is required has emerged from General Comments of the United
Nations Committee on the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The
interpretations of human rights experts also help to give greater definition to what is required of
governments as they progressively realise child rights.

The emerging view: requirements for governments to meet in the step-


by-step roll- out of socio-economic rights to children
First, the progressive realisation clauses and the absence of prescriptions on the exact
proportion of public budgets that must be spent on child socio-economic rights, does not
provide governments with an excuse not to allocate resources for programmes to give effect to
child socio-economic rights. Instead, governments are obliged to prioritise allocating parts of
their budgets to the development of sustainable programmes to give effect to child socio-
economic rights (particularly to a basic level, or minimum core of these rights).7

Second, if governments have not put in place programmes to realise at least a minimum core
of each socio-economic rights and are not allocating resources to these programmes, the onus is
on the relevant member states’ government to prove that the resources (financial and or
administrative) are not available.

Third, in deciding how much can be allocated to programmes designed to give effect to child
socio-economic rights, governments must adopt a broad view of resource availability and make
full use of the maximum resources available.8

6 7
As De Vylder (2000:44) has pointed out, the obligations On the issue of the minimum core obligation, see the UN
clause (Article 4) in the CRC and limitations around it are Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
intentionally vague. There are obvious difficulties around comment number 3. Also, look at the emphasis on basic
prescribing what each country can afford to spend on services in the articles relating to socio-economic rights in
eradicating poverty immediately, without running into the CRC.
macro-economic imbalances. 8
See Van Bueren, G. (1999) ‘Alleviating Poverty through
22 the Constitutional Court’ in South African Journal of
Human Rights , vol.15, pp.52-74.
Chapter two: Child rights

Fourth, even though the rights treaties do not prescribe a precise rate for rolling out
services that give effect to child socio-economic rights, they emphasise that governments
must do as much as is possible, as quickly as possible, taking into account all resources.
They also emphasise government’s obligation to prioritise rapid delivery of basic services
to give effect to the basic socio-economic rights of all children in need.9 This suggests
that government must roll out services (particularly basic services) to realise the rights
(particularly a minimum core content) as quickly as possible, progressively up-grading
what is being provided to fulfil the rights.

Fifth, governments cannot take steps backwards, say for example by terminating
programmes designed to give effect to socio-economic rights or reducing the quantity
and/or level of services produced via them.

Sixth, if large numbers of children are denied access to their socio-economic rights,
particularly to a minimum core of their basic socio-economic rights, it will be assumed
that a government is not doing all it can.10 Moreover, the government will bear the
burden of proof in establishing that it is fulfilling its obligation to child socio-economic
rights (for example by proving that sufficient resources are just not available and it just
could not build the necessary administrative capacity to provide the needed services).

Seventh, in cases were child socio-economic rights are not being fully realised (either due to
lack of existence of programmes or because there is not full access to services in established
programmes), governments must have plans that shows how the rights are to be delivered over
time.

10
As the UN Committee on Economic, Social and
9
Cultural Rights has declared in one of its interpreting
Unless there really are severe budget shortfalls comments on the ESC covenant: ‘a State party in which
that absolutely prohibit spending on basic services any significant number of individuals is deprived of
for children, it may be best here to think in terms essential foodstuffs, of essential primary health, of
of governments having to roll out services to basic shelter and housing , or of the most basic forms
deliver basic socio-economic rights as quickly as of education, is, prima facie (at first look) failing to
real administrative capacity allows. discharge its obligations under the Covenant’. See UN 23
Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,
General Comment 3: ‘The Nature of State Parties’
Obligations’, paragraph 10.
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

This summary of the obligations on governments to deliver child rights can be used as a guide when
designing a research project to monitor your government’s budgeting for child socio-economic
rights. However, it is important for any researcher embarking on such an initiative to understand
any specific obligations on the state and in particular on government in the country in question. It is
useful to consult legal experts in your country. Where child rights and associated obligations are set
out in a constitution (as in South Africa), the precise details of the rights and obligations on
government will differ slightly from country to country. The rights and obligations in the country’s
constitution will be dominant in setting out exactly what the obligations on government are. It is not
clear how the obligations on state parties to deliver child socio-economic and other rights would
differ in countries that are affected by sanctions or war. (See the first case study example in Appendix
I for an overview of the obligations on government to deliver child-specific constitutional socio-
economic rights in South Africa.)

The international human rights treaties do not define the exact package of services or types of
programmes that state parties (and by inference governments) must use as a means to give effect to
child rights. It is left up to the domestic country to decide exactly what programmes and services
will be most effective. In every country, the minimum core of each socio-economic right that
government is obliged to deliver to children will have to be considered in relation to that country’s
administrative (and financial) capacity and what programmes can best be used to deliver this.

2.4 The role of markets, the state and budgeting to


fulfil child rights
Private markets play a crucial role in facilitating (or preventing) the realisation of child rights
(particularly child socio-economic rights). Annand and Ravallian (1993) point out that the relative
role of private markets (through provision of income linked to employment creation) and the state
(through provision of public services) will differ across countries, but both institutions will always
play a role.

The market mechanism channel for the fulfilment of child rights works in the following two ways:

24
Chapter two: Child rights

• When markets generate income in poor households, this increases the resource capacity of
parents for spending on food, clothes and shelter for them and their children. It also increases
the ability of children to access the public services that are important to realise their rights
(such as health, education, justice and welfare services). As the income of parents in poor
households increases, so too does their ability to spend on transport and other transaction costs
needed to give children access to public services.

• Income generated in markets is a crucial source of the tax revenue. Especially in the absence of
sufficient foreign aid, governments can use increases in tax revenue to finance state programmes
delivering services to children.

Aside from putting in place and enforcing laws, the most significant way in which the state
contributes towards the fulfilment of child rights (particularly child socio-economic rights), is by
developing and implementing programmes targeted at the delivery of services to children. Such
programmes are needed to deliver social security (income payments), health services, education
services (including early childhood development services), justice, police and nutrition services to
children. In order to fulfil their child rights obligations, governments need to allocate resources in
their budgets to these types of programmes for children, and ensure that the corresponding funds are
spent effectively.

Where child poverty and violation of child rights is extensive and severe, there is a desperate need
for both the private sector (markets) and the state sector to work rapidly in carrying out their roles
in relation to child rights. In most developing countries, due to limited investment and employment
generation for unskilled workers, the market mechanism is not playing an adequate role in helping
to deliver child rights. This intensifies the burden on the state. The capacity of states to develop and
implement programmes to deliver services to children is undermined by insufficient government
revenue (which is, in turn, related to stagnant markets). This cycle highlights how important it is to
encourage private sector investment and employment creation, while at the same time increasing the
level and efficiency of spending on public services for the fulfilment of child rights. The
international finance community plays a significant role in supporting the rapid delivery of child
rights (particularly socio-economic rights) in very poor countries.

25
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

Figure 3: Markets, the state, budgeting and child rights fulfilment

Private sector (markets)) State sector

• Private markets help to fulfil • The state sector helps fulfil child
child rights via employment rights via:
creation that raises income in
- Developing and enforcing laws
poor households. This in turn
increases household capacity to - Designing programmes to
spend on basic services and to deliver services to children
access public services for - Allocating resources to the
children that help them realise programmes
their rights.
- Implementing the programmes
in a way that ensures rapid
• Private markets help to deliver
roll-out of quality services to
child rights by generating
all children in need.
income that is the base for the
tax revenue required to finance
public spending on services • To play its role government has to
that are needed to fulfil child use the revenue collected through
rights. taxes and borrowing. Most
revenue is gathered by tax from
firms and individuals that earn
their income in private markets.
However, in some developing
countries, where private markets
are thin, borrowing (especially
from abroad), aid and tax revenue
generated from incomes earned in
the state sector, are also important.

Realisation of child rights

26
Chapter two: Child rights

2.5 Budget monitoring to advance


“A government that has signed the
child rights CRC has also committed itself to
Child rights cannot be realised unless governments (particularly in allocating resources to defend these
poor countries) stay true to their child rights obligations through rights, and this should be reflected in
legal reform and enforcement, programme development, budget the national budget…Directly or
allocation and programme implementation. Budget monitoring can indirectly, virtually all Articles entail
loosely be described as research that examines how well governments economic obligations for the public
are using programme development, budget allocation and sector. Some are obvious, for
programme implementation to respond to their obligations. Such example, the right to education…in
research makes an important contribution to the realisation of child other cases, the economic
rights by helping to hold governments accountable for taking the consequences are more indirect. For
measures required of them. In countries where foreign assistance (for
example, the provision that no child
example in the form of aid) is crucial in the delivery of programmes
be subject to discrimination”
and services to give effect to child rights, it is important for budget
(De Vylder, 2000:43-44).
monitoring to include analysis of the use of foreign inflows to realise
child rights.

Budget monitoring in relation to child rights obligations can be a


powerful tool when it catalyses government into taking actions to improve its measures. Budget
monitoring initiatives are likely to generate the desired response from government if their research
findings are disseminated to and used by particular interest groups. These include parliament, child
rights advocacy organisations, international monitoring bodies (such as the United Nations
Committee on the Rights of the Child) and government officials.

The role of parliament and child rights advocacy organisations


Parliamentarians and child rights activists are important in the chain that links budget monitoring
to improvements in the realisation of child rights. Parliamentarians have a mandate to monitor the
executive’s implementation of laws, including child rights laws. Child rights activists have an
interest in accessing and using information to put pressure on government to advance child rights.
These role-players are thus well-placed to make use of research findings that shed light on
government’s performance in meeting its child rights obligations.

27
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

The role of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child
The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child was established to monitor the
implementation of the CRC in countries that have ratified it. Two years after ratifying the CRC, the
government of the ratifying country is required to submit a report to this committee on progress
with implementation. Civil society organisations in the country, including NGOs, are encouraged
to submit ‘shadow reports’. Thereafter, the government reports and shadow reports are submitted at
five-year intervals. The committee responds to the government and NGOs’ reports via a report of
their own, which highlights concerns about progress in fulfilling obligations and makes
recommendations on what the government in question needs to do in order to stay true to its CRC
commitments. The press (international and domestic) often gives considerable space to negative
comments by the committee on a country’s performance in implementing the CRC. The CRC is
the only international human rights treaty that expressly gives (in article 43) NGOs a role in
monitoring its implementation. The committee has systematically encouraged NGOs to submit
reports, documentation or other information in order to provide it with a comprehensive picture as
to how the convention is being implemented in a particular country. It is clear that budget
monitoring from a child rights perspective can make a useful contribution in this regard.

The role of government officials


Research that monitors government’s budgeting for children usually includes recommendations on
where and how to improve programme design, budget allocations and programme implementation.
Ultimately, such research initiatives will only serve to advance child rights if policy makers and
those that design and implement associated programmes act on these recommendations.

Politicians play a crucial role in deciding how society’s resources are allocated. This opens up an
action space for using budget research as a tool to pressurise government officials into spending
more on the poor and on child rights.

28
Chapter two: Child rights

RESOURCE LIST FOR CHAPTER 2

African Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child: http://
www.itcilo.it/english/actrav/telearn/global/ilo/law/afchild.htm

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC): http://www.unicef.org/crc/crc.htm

Universal Declaration for Human Rights (UDHR): http://wwwfourmilab.ch/etexts/


www/un/udhr.html

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: http://


www.unhchr.ch/html/menu3/b/a_cescr.htm

International Covenant on Political and Civil Rights: http://www.cirp.org/library/


ethics/UN-covenant/

Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women:


gopher://gopher.un.org:70/00/ga/cedaw/convention

Creamer, K. 2002. The Impact of South Africa’s Evolving Jurisprudence on


Children’s Socio-Economic Rights on Budget Analysis. Cape Town: Idasa.

De Vylder, S. 2000. Macroeconomic Policies and Childrens Rights – A Book


Focusing on Developing Countries. Sweden: Save the Children.

International Human Rights Internship Programme and Asian Forum for Human
Rights and Development. 2000. Circle of Rights: Economic, Social & Cultural
Rights Activism: A Training Resource. Washington: International Human Rights
Internship Programme.

Liebenberg, S and Pillay, K. 2000. Socio-economic rights in South Africa – A


Resource Book. Cape Town: Community Law Centre of the University of the
Western Cape.

29
Part 1: Introduction to the budget and child rights

Scott, L. 1998 ‘Another Step Towards Indivisibility: Identifying the Key Features of
Violations of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights’, in Human Rights Quarterly.

Shultz, J. 2002. Promises to Keep - Using Public Budgets as a Tool to Advance


Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: A Conference Report. Mexico City: Ford
Foundation and Fundar.

United Nations. 1987. The Limburg Principles on the Implementation of the


International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Agenda Item 8.
U.M. Doc.E/CN.4/1987/17/Annex.

United Nations. General Comments of the United Nations Committee on Economic,


Social and Cultural Rights. www.unhcchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf.

United Nations. Database of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the
Child. www.unhchr.ch/tbs/doc.nsf.

United Nations. 2001. Substantive Issues Arising in the Implementation of the


International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Poverty and the
International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Statement
adopted by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights on 4 May
2001. A/CONF.191/BP/7.

30
Chapter three: Pegging out the research terrain

Part 2
Developing a research
framework for a
child budget study

Planning a child budget study aimed at advancing child rights starts


with a process of conceptualising the study. This includes, amongst
other things, setting the time frame for the analysis, identifying
researchers, establishing a method and sources and deciding how
the study is to be packaged. Most importantly, it involves identifying
the questions to ask in the study.
This part of the guide deals with the conceptualisation phase of
the research process.

Chapter 3 provides guidelines and suggestions for defining


the objective and scope of a child budget study.
Chapter 4 focuses particular attention on how to identify
research questions for a study that aims to monitor
government budgeting in order to advance child rights.

29
Part 2: Developing a research framework

“Progress towards the goals endorsed


in [the] Plan of Action could be …
accelerated, and solutions to many
other major problems confronting
children and families greatly
facilitated, through … research and
development. Government and [other]
institutions are requested to increase
their efforts in both basic and
operational research, aimed at …
more effective … and better delivery
of existing social services.”
Plan of Action for Implementing the
World Declaration on the Survival,
Protection and Development of
Children

30
Chapter three:
Pegging out the research terrain
Chapter three: Pegging out the research terrain

To conceptualise a child budget study aimed at advancing child rights, an essential


first step is to formulate the objective of the study into a statement. If the
statement leaves any questions hanging about the scope and objectives of the
analysis, now is the time to address these. It is crucial to develop a sound
understanding of the study’s objectives and scope before embarking on the
process of formulating research questions (as discussed in chapter 4). This will
help to ensure that the research questions you select will be able to generate the
type of information that is needed to fulfil the ultimate objective of the study.

3.1 What is the research objective?


If a particular budget study, for
While the statement on the right does go some way towards making
clear the objectives and scope of the research, it is too vague. More example, has the aim of examining the
specifically, it begs the following questions. realisation of children’s socio-economic
rights, it would be possible to
• What time period does the research aim to cover? summarise the objective of the research
• What is the scope of child rights to be included in the research? study as follows:
Does the study aim to provide information on government’s “to conduct an analysis of
budgeting to promote all child socio-economic rights? Or is the government’s budgeting for child socio-
aim to focus on providing useful budget information for the economic rights that generates useful
advancement of one or a couple of rights? information for the advancement of
child socio-economic rights”.
• Who will have to use the results of the study for it to have the
desired impact of advancing child socio-economic rights?

31
Part 2: Developing a research framework

3.2 What is the time-frame to be studied?


Two steps can help you to clarify the time frame for a study:

• First, a desired timeframe has to be decided upon and stated. For example, it could be clarified
that the aim of the research study, to be conducted in 2002, is to analyse government’s
performance in budgeting for child socio-economic rights over the fiscal year period 1995/96-
2004/05. The choice of the time period will obviously vary across studies and countries. Take
into account for what period(s) budget data is available, and any other relevant factors such as
the date on which a new government assumes office or when a set of new public programmes
was put in place for children.

• Secondly, point out that the exact time frame that will be covered in the analysis of budget
allocations and services for children will depend on the various dates when the relevant
programmes were implemented.

3.3 What rights will be covered in the analysis?


Child socio-economic rights are inter-dependent. For example, if a particular child’s right to social
assistance is realised via a minimum income grant for children from government, the child will also
be more likely to realise her or his right to basic education. Due to the grant, the child’s household
will have more resources to pay for goods (such as school uniforms and transport), which are
necessary to access schooling. By way of another example, imagine that in a particular country,
children have seen their rights to basic nutrition, shelter, education and health services realised.
These children will have less need for an income transfer from the state: their right to social
assistance has already been realised in part through the fulfilment of other rights.

Because child socio-economic rights are inter-dependent in this way, it would of course be ideal for
every child budget study to cover the full spectrum of rights. However, time, research capacity and
financial constraints usually make this impossible. So during the conceptualisation stage of a study,
the researcher or team of researchers usually face the difficult challenge of deciding which

32
Chapter three: Pegging out the research terrain

particular rights to include and which to exclude from the analysis. In so doing, it is useful to
consider the following questions:

Looking at the specific characteristics and contours of child poverty in


the country, which child rights would be particularly important to cover?
For example, children in some countries (as is the case in South Africa) may have relatively
adequate access to education and health services, but are still desperately poor in the sense that they
lack income. In this instance, it would be important to analyse budgeting for the child’s rights to
social assistance and nutrition. In a country where levels of child abuse and neglect are very high, it
would be particularly important to focus attention on government’s programming and budgeting for
the child’s right to feel physically secure and protected.

Which rights lend themselves to budget analysis and which do not? For
which rights is it possible to access budget and service delivery data?
Budget analysis in relation to child rights involves analysis not only of how much is allocated to and
spent on programmes that deliver child rights. It also involves research into the services that flow
from these budget inputs and children’s access to such services. So it is important to consider the
ease with which you can access good information on budget allocations and spending, but also on
service provision in relation to each of the rights. Generally, it is easier to conduct the necessary
analysis when there are specific programmes targeted at delivering the right in question to children.
It should also be possible to access information, either from budget documentation or from
government officials, about how much has been allocated to and spent on these programmes.

For example, in many countries, there are child-specific programmes targeted at realising the
child’s rights to social assistance and education. If in addition, it is feasible to access the
corresponding information on allocations and spending in these programmes, it would be relatively
easy to conduct an analysis on these two rights. On the other hand, it is usually difficult to focus a
budget study on the child’s right to shelter. There are often no child-specific programmes aimed at
delivering this right. It is also almost impossible to identify how much of the total money allocated
to and spent on housing programmes for example, actually flows to children.

33
Part 2: Developing a research framework

Capacity constraints
In defining the scope of your study, it is essential also to consider the time availability and the
expertise of the research team that will be responsible to conduct and write up the research. It is
more useful to cover fewer rights and generate good information on government’s performance in
budgeting for these, than to cover a large number of rights in a way that is too vague or superficial.

3.4 Who is the target audience?


Defining a target audience for your study is likely to involve details that are specific to the role-
players in your country. Besides the broad public terrain, the target audience for a child budget study
in most countries will probably involve the following three interest groups:

• Parliamentarians, because they play an oversight and monitoring role in government’s


budgeting for child socio-economic rights

• Child rights advocacy groups

• Government officials, including:

officials responsible for allocating resources to and drawing up budgets for child rights
programmes

officials responsible for implementing child rights programmes and

officials responsible for designing policies and programmes relating to child rights.

34
Chapter four:
Setting research questions for
Chapter four: Setting a child
research questions budget study
for a child budget study

The process of identifying and selecting the research questions for a child budget study is
particularly important. The research questions give shape to the kind of information that will be
generated by the study. This in turn will determine the potential for the study to be used as a
tool to promote child rights.

Figure 4 sets out a process that can be used to this end. After clarifying the objective and scope
of the study (as discussed in chapter 3), this chapter pursues the following five steps to identify
and ultimately to select research questions for a child budget study.

Figure 4 – A process for setting research questions for a child budget study

Step one: Derive research questions from the child rights legal framework
• Establish what the obligations on government are to budget for child rights by consulting relevant legal
documents, such as the CRC, ICESCR, ICCPR, domestic laws and constitutions, expert opinion and child rights
jurisprudence
• Derive and list research questions that logically flow from these obligations

Step two: Derive questions from considering what information the target audience would find useful
• Consult with parliamentarians, government officials and child rights advocates about what information would be
useful to them
• Use input gathered from consultations to derive potential research questions.

Step three: Derive questions from economic theory insights


• Develop questions from the insight that the market helps in reducing child poverty and delivering child rights
through job creation
• Think about the link between budget inputs (allocations) and outputs (services), and what this suggests about service
delivery questions that should be asked of the lead government programmes affecting child rights. List them.

Step four: Develop questions aimed at gathering useful information from children
• Develop research questions to gather information from children about their experiences of poverty and the
extent to which their rights are being violated, their experiences of service delivery in government- financed
programmes aimed at realising the relevant child rights and/or their views on what government should be
prioritising in their budgets.

Step five: Select the final set of questions



35
List all the questions generated in steps 1- 4, in relation to each of the rights identified in chapter 3.
• Select the final set of questions from the list, bearing in mind time and capacity.
35
Part 2: Developing a research framework

4.1 Step 1: Deriving research questions from the


child rights framework
Budget research from a child rights perspective is geared towards monitoring governments’
performance in meeting their obligations towards children. So it is clearly crucial for such research
to be grounded in a firm understanding of what obligations a government in a particular country
actually has in relation to child rights. An examination of this terrain will also help to generate
possible research questions.

Step 1 in the process of setting research questions for a child budget study thus involves:

• establishing what obligations there are on government to budget for child rights in the country
in question; and

• developing questions to monitor government’s performance in meeting these obligations.

Chapter 2 of this guide identified the obligations placed on governments – by their ratification of
particular human rights treaties – to realise child rights in their respective countries. The chapter
highlighted some of the questions left hanging in the legal framework pertaining to child rights. It
also outlined how these questions have been addressed by human rights role players to provide more
clarity on governments’ child rights obligations.

Against this background, it is unrealistic to presume that a child budget study should try to address
all of the questions implied by the child rights obligations. However, it is useful to include at least
some of these questions in such a study. For parliamentarians and civil society organisations trying
to promote child rights, there will be value in any information that helps to shed light on the extent
to which a government is or is not meeting its obligations towards children.

As explained in chapter 2, government obligations in relation to child rights - in most countries –


derive from international and regional human rights treaties, as well as any domestic statutes that set
out child rights and state obligations. The precise details of the rights and obligations will differ
slightly from country to country, depending on which regional treaties and domestic laws are
relevant. So in conceptualising your research study, it will be necessary to consider the laws and

36
Chapter four: Setting research questions for a child budget study

rights treaties that are relevant to the country you will focus on. To gain a more detailed
understanding of the obligations –especially the budget obligations - on government to deliver child
rights in the country in question, you may need to consult experts in the human rights law of the
country.

Once you have a clear idea of the obligations on government to deliver (and in particular to budget
for) child rights in a given country, it will be possible to summarise the obligations into a concise
list. This list can then be used to identify potential research questions for the study.

Section 2.3 of this guide provided a summary of the consensus emerging around the nature of the
obligations on government to deliver child socio-economic rights. Figure 5 on the following page
shows what research questions may be drawn from these obligations.

The following listing of government obligations to deliver child socio-economic rights and
attendant research questions can be used as a baseline in countries where the CRC and ICESCR
has been ratified.

However, every team of researchers will need to adapt the obligations and attendant research
questions to take into account any child rights and government obligations that are specific to the
country in question. If the study you are planning is to cover child rights that are not socio-
economic, questions related to the obligations on government to deliver these rights will also need
to be added.

37
Part 2: Developing a research framework

Figure 5 – Drawing research questions from the obligations framework


Obligations on government to budget for the realisation of Research questions to examine whether
child rights and how government is meeting these
• Governments are obliged to prioritise allocating parts of their
obligations
budgets to the development of sustainable programmes to give • Has government put in place a programme
effect to child socio-economic rights and in particular to provide (or programmes) to give effect to the right?
basic services to ensure that a minimum core of each right is
realised. • If yes, how much has been allocated to the
programme(s)?
• If governments have not put in place programmes to realise at
least a minimum core of each socio-economic right and are not • If yes, what is the programme content
allocating resources to these programmes and/or using them to (including the implementation plan and the
deliver effective services, the onus is on the relevant member states planned rate of roll out of services) and is the
government to prove that the resources (financial and or programme’s design such that it promotes
administrative) are just not available. non-discrimination and pays particular
attention to the needs of the most vulnerable?
• In deciding how much can be allocated to programmes designed to
give effect to child socio-economic right, governments must adopt a • If yes, have allocations made to the
broad view of resource availability and make full use of the programme been spent in the programme?
maximum resources available. • If yes, has implementation of the programme
• The conventions do not prescribe a precise rate of roll out of been such that access to services (particularly
services in the programmes governments set up to give effect to basic services) has expanded according to
child socio-economic rights. However, they emphasise that plan and rapidly and most children,
governments in state parties must roll out services as quickly as particularly the most vulnerable, are gaining
resources permit, and give particular attention to prioritising the access to the services produced by the
rapid roll out of basic services to give effect to basic socio- programme? Or is there discrimination in the
economic rights of all children in need. The design and expansion of services to children and is the
implementation of child rights programmes must be in line with the roll-out behind the planned schedule and/or
principle of non-discrimination. slow?

• Governments cannot take steps backwards, say for example by • If yes, are the services being provided
terminating programmes designed to give effect to socio-economic through the programme quality services and
rights or reducing the quantity and/or level of services produced via are they being produced efficiently?
them. • If yes, what sort of problems (non-financial
• If large numbers of children are denied access to their socio- and financial) have to be overcome in the
economic rights, particularly to a minimum core of their basic programme to ensure that services are in
socio-economic rights, it will be assumed that a government is not future rolled out quickly to all children in
doing all it can. Moreover, the government will bear the burden of need (particularly basic services)?
proof in establishing that it is fulfilling its obligation to child • If yes, but there are problems undermining
socio-economic rights. rapid roll-out of services to all children on an
• In cases were child socio-economic rights are not being fully equitable basis, what is government’s plan to
realised (either due to lack of programmes or because there is not develop this and other programmes to
full access to services in established programmes), governments overcome the service delivery programmes
must have plans that show how the rights are to be delivered over preventing universal access to services and
realisation of the child right?
time.

38
Chapter four: Setting research questions for a child budget study

4.2 Step 2: Framing questions that engage the


target audience
The next step in the process of identifying possible research questions for a child budget study, is to
consider what type of information the target audience would find useful. The best way to do this is to
consult with representatives from the target audience and then to develop questions from this
information. The precise details of the information that target audiences would find useful will
clearly vary across countries and time periods. However, it is possible to draw out some generic
information that target audiences often would want from a child budget study:

First, parliamentarians and advocacy organisations are likely to welcome information on


government’s performance in budgeting for children in relation to their legal obligations to do so.
They will thus be most interested to know if and where it appears that government may not be
fulfilling its obligations to budget for child rights.

Second, advocacy organisations and parliamentarians are likely to be interested in information on


the level of wastage of budget allocations in programmes targeted at child rights. This implies that
it may be useful to ask the following questions:

• What percentage of total budgets allocated to child rights programmes find their way to these
programmes and are spent?

• How efficiently are budget allocations (inputs) translated into budget services (outputs) in
programmes targeted at child rights?

Third, advocacy organisations will probably be interested in information that shows the real trend
over time in allocations to child rights programmes, the percentage of the total budget flowing to
child rights programmes, and the trend in the real value of any grant payments flowing to children.
Such information can often be used to lobby for increases in allocations to children. This suggests
the following questions:

• What proportion of the total government budget has been allocated to the programmes
designed to give effect to child rights?

• What is the real trend in the allocations to child rights programmes over the time period in
question?

39
Part 2: Developing a research framework

• What is the real trend in the value of grants to children over the time period in question?

Fourth, advocacy organisations and parliamentarians will be interested in information on changes


in the level and depth of child poverty over time and the prospects for child poverty to be reduced in
the future. Calls for government to improve and/or increase spending on child rights programmes
can be made far stronger by linking them to a sound story about the extent and depth of child
poverty and prospects for improvement in this regard. Government officials involved in child-
related policy-making and programme implementation will also be interested in child poverty
information, particularly if it includes good estimates of the numbers of children that are poor and
desperately poor in different regions of the country. Such information can be very useful to them in
their attempts to cost child rights programmes and establish where to target resources. These
interests point to the following research questions:

• What is the extent and depth of child poverty in the country and its geographical spread? More
specifically, what is the income child poverty rate and child poverty shares in different regions?

• What are the prospects for child poverty to be reduced in the near future?

Finally, government officials and parliamentarians will often have an interest in constructive
suggestions about whether budget allocations to child rights programmes are sufficient and if not,
by how much they should change. Such information can be extremely valuable to improve
budgeting and programming in practice. Unfortunately, this kind of information is not easy to
generate. Answering these questions requires modelling and costing of the programme in question.
This in turn calls for a synthesis of in-depth knowledge of administration and other input costs over
time, how administrative capacity and the price of inputs are likely to change in future, as well as
sound projections on the number of children eligible for the service produced by the programme in
question.1 While not to be tackled lightly, this interest on the part of a target audience highlights
the following questions:

• Are the budget allocations to programmes designed to give effect to child rights sufficient?

• If not, what needs to be done by way of increasing budget allocations and building
administrative capacity in child rights programmes?

1
The child rights programmes that are most conducive to
analysis of the sufficiency of budgets are those put in place to
deliver the right to social assistance.
40
Chapter four: Setting research questions for a child budget study

4.3 Step 3: Deriving insights from economic theory


Economic theory can also be a useful source for generating possible research questions for a child
budget research study. This section of the guide looks at two important insights from economic
theory relating to the role of government budgets in advancing child rights. Research questions that
flow from each insight are set out below.

Section 2.4 of the guide made reference to the suggestion that both the market mechanism and
government action play important roles in reducing child poverty – and thus delivering of child
socio-economic rights (World Bank ,1990; Annand & Ravallion, 1993). When the market
mechanism is not making an adequate contribution to reducing child poverty, this increases the
burden on the state. So the worse the child poverty situation is in a country and the smaller the
prospects for markets to help reduce poverty, the more important it becomes for government to
deliver child rights via the allocation of resources to effective programmes that realise child rights.
This insight highlights the value of posing the following research questions:

• What is the child poverty situation in the country?

• What are the prospects for child poverty to be reduced in the near future via employment
creation amongst the parents of poor children?

Economic theory also provides insight into the link between budget inputs (allocations) and outputs
(services). Budget allocations to programmes targeted at child poverty reduction and child rights
realisation are not ends in themselves. They are merely a vehicle needed to produce publicly
financed services that can help to reduce child poverty and realise child rights. This implies that
budget inputs (allocations) must not be viewed in isolation from the budget outputs (services) they
produce. To draw useful conclusions about government’s performance in budgeting for children, it
is thus necessary to ask questions not only about the size of budget allocations to child rights
programmes but also about the services produced from these allocations. This suggests the
following questions:

• What quantity and quality of services are being produced by budget allocations to child rights
programmes?

41
Part 2: Developing a research framework

• Are all children (including the most vulnerable) benefiting from budget allocations by
accessing the services produced and are services being rolled out quickly?

• What is the level of efficiency in translating budget allocations into quality outputs in
programmes targeted at child rights, and how has this been changing over time?

4.4 Identifying questions to channel the views of


children
When deciding on the research questions for a child budget study, it is important to consider what
types of questions could be asked of children in order to shed light on the extent to which
government is meeting its responsibility to implement child rights. In broad terms, the following
types of information may be a starting point to derive further research questions:

• Information that reveals children’s experiences of poverty and violations of rights, particularly
basic socio-economic rights.

• Information that reveals children’s experiences of service delivery in terms of the main
programmes that government is financing and administering as a means to deliver child rights.

• Information that shows what children think government should prioritise in their budgets and
how government should alter its interventions to improve their quality of life.

Workshops can provide a forum to gather this type of information from children. It is important to
ensure that vulnerable children (such as street children, the poorest of the poor and orphans) are
included in such processes.

42
Chapter four: Setting research questions for a child budget study

4.5 Selecting the final set of research questions


To conclude the process of formulating research questions for a child budget study, a useful last step
is to pull together and list all the potential questions identified by steps 1 to 4. Thinking about your
own time and research capacity constraints, a final decision can now be made about which of the
questions to set for the study.

Table 1 lists the potential research questions that have been drawn from the discussions and
considerations in this section of the guide. As such, the table draws together all the questions that
were derived, in turn, from the legal obligations framework, the needs of the target audience,
economic theory and the insights from children themselves. You can see that there is an overlap
between the questions that flowed from the different considerations.

When choosing exactly which questions to ask in a proposed child budget study, it is important to
consider time and capacity constraints. It is better to select fewer questions that can be answered
well with the time and capacity available, than to set all the questions but provide weak analysis and
information in trying to answer some of them.

Figure 6 reduces and summarises the full list of questions into twelve clusters of research questions
for a typical child budget study. It is these twelve clusters of questions that would then be applied to
each of the child rights selected for the study. The twelve clusters of questions are divided into:

• four clusters of questions about the existence of programmes to deliver each right and the
design of the programmes;

• three clusters of questions about the amounts allocated to these programmes; and

• five clusters of questions about budget implementation and service delivery in the programmes.

For a more detailed illustration of how this process of deriving research questions was applied and
carried through in a child budget study, see Example 1 in Appendix I. In this example, the South
African Constitution, rather than the CRC and ICESCR, was used in step 1 to identify questions
relating to the obligations on government to deliver child rights. The summary also outlines how
each set of questions was tackled by the research team to generate information that can be used to
advance child rights.

43
Table 1: Potential research questions drawn from this section of the guide
Part 2: Developing a research framework

Source of questions Research questions to ask in relation to each right chosen to be analysed in
the study
Legal framework for child socio-economic rights • Has government put in place a programme to give effect to the right?
and state obligations • If yes, what is the programme content and design (including nature of services, rate of
roll-out and implementation plan) and is it such that it promotes non-discrimination
and pays particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable?
• If yes, how much has been allocated to the programme?
• If yes, has implementation of the programme been such that access to services has
expanded according to plan and rapidly and most children, particularly the most
vulnerable, are gaining access to services?
• If yes, have programme budget allocations been fully spent?
• If yes, but there are service delivery problems that are resulting in slow roll-out of
services and/or lack of equity in roll-out, what are the problems impeding rapid roll-out
of services to all children?
• If yes, what is government’s plan to develop this and other programmes to ensure
universal access to services and delivery of the right to all children in need?

The interests of the target audience • What percentage of the total budget allocated to the programme designed to give
(parliamentarians, government officials and child effect to child right finds itself to the programme and is spent?
rights activists)
• What is the efficiency of translation of budget inputs (allocations) into outputs
(services) in the programme aimed at giving effect to the child right?
• What proportion of the total government budget has been allocated to the programme
designed to give effect to the child right?
• What is the real trend over time in the budget allocations to the programme designed
to give effect to the right?
• If the programme designed to give effect to the right produces a monetary service, what
is the real trend in the value of the service?
• What is the extent and depth of child poverty in the country and its geographical
spread?
• What are prospects for child poverty to be reduced by market development in the near
future?

Insights from economic theory: • Are the budget allocations to programme designed to give effect to the right in question
• That the market plays a role in delivering sufficient, and if not, what needs to be done by way of increasing budget allocations
child rights via employment creation and building administrative capacity?
• That budget allocations are only wanted for
the services they produce • What is the quantity and quality of services produced by the budget allocations and
other inputs and the programme designed to give effect to the right?
• Are all children (including the most vulnerable) benefiting from budget allocations to
the programme by accessing the services produced?
• What is the level of efficiency in translating budget allocations into quality outputs in
the programme targeted at the child right in question, and how has this been changing
over time?

Considering how information from children • What are children’s experiences of poverty and what do these experiences suggest
might be used to add insight on budgeting for about the extent to which rights (particularly basic socio-economic rights) are being
child rights realised?
• What are children’s experiences of service delivery in key programmes directed at
realising child rights?
44 44 • What do children think government should spend public money on for their basic rights
to be realised and quality of life improved?
Chapter four: Setting research questions for a child budget study

Figure 6: Questions to ask of government’s programme design, budget allocation,


budget implementation and service provision for each child right

1. Programme existence and design questions


• Has government put in place a programme (or programmes) to give effect to the right?
• If yes, what is the content of the programme, including the implementation plan?
• If yes, is the scope of the programme such that there is non-discrimination and does the
time-frame envisage rapid roll-out of services (particularly basic services) to all children
in need?
• If there is no programme in place, or the programme design is such that the programme
(perhaps due to resource and time constraint arguments) does not cater for all children
and envisages slow roll-out of services, what is government’s plan for extending the
programme to ensure all children can be reached quickly in future?

2. Budget allocation questions to ask (if there is a programme)


• How much has been allocated to the programme on an annual basis since implementation
began and what is allocated for future years?
• What proportion of total budgeted expenditure has been allocated to the programme each
year?
• What is the trend over time (growth rates year on year and annual average) in the
nominal and real budget allocations to the programme?

3. Budget implementation and service delivery questions to ask (if there is a programme)
• Are the funds allocated to a programme reaching its intended destination and what
proportion of the budget allocated to the programme is being spent?
• What is the trend in access to services of the programme? At the national level, is access
broadening quickly, are there inter and intra-regional variations in access, is there
racial or gender discrimination and are the most vulnerable being catered for?
• What is the quality and efficiency of service delivery in the programme and have quality
and efficiency been improving over time?
• What type of service delivery problems (financial and non-financial) need to be dealt
with in future to facilitate the programme rapidly rolling out services to give effect to the
right in question to all children in need in future?
• Does government’s plan for programme development and implementation deal with the
problems (financial and non-financial) that are undermining universal access to services
and realisation of the right?

45
Part 2: Developing a research framework

RESOURCE LIST FOR PART II


Annand, A and Ravallian, M. 1993. ‘Human Development in Poor Countries:
On the Role of Private Incomes and Public Services’, in Journal of Economic
Perspectives. Vol 7, no 1, Winter.

Cassiem, S and Streak, J. 2001. Budgeting for child socio-economic rights:


Government obligations and the child’s right to social security and education.
Cape Town: Idasa.

Childrens Budget Unit, Idasa. 2002. Child Budget Analysis Training Manual.
Cape Town: Idasa.

Creamer, K. 2002. The Impact of South Africa’s Evolving Jurisprudence on


Children’s Socio-Economic Rights on Budget Analysis. Cape Town: Idasa.

Raworth, K. 2001. ‘Measuring Human Rights’, in Ethics and International


Affairs. Vol 15, no 1.

World Bank. 1990. World Development Report: The State in A Changing World.
New York: Oxford University Press.

46
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

Part 3
Basic methods for budget analysis
aimed at advancing child rights
This part of the guide offers guidance on how to go about the different aspects
of research commonly involved in child budget study:
Chapter 5 makes suggestions about how to develop a profile of child poverty.
Such a profile can be used to illustrate the extent to which child rights are
not realised in a country, and to establish the prospects for child poverty to
be reduced by market development.
Chapter 6 offers advice on how to identify what programmes are in place to
deliver the child rights being studied in the research, as well as methods for
analysing their design. These methods can be used to address the first cluster
of research questions presented in Figure 6.
Chapter 7 explains how to analyse budget allocations to the child rights
programmes that have been identified in relation to each right being
investigated in the study. This chapter provides tools for tackling the second
cluster of research questions from Figure 6.
Finally, chapter 8 considers how to go about analysing budget implementation
and service delivery in the identified programmes. The methods outlined
here can be used to unpack the third cluster of research questions identified
in Figure 6.

45
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

“Poverty and equity are multi-


dimensional phenomena, which
embrace basic requirements such as
being well nourished, sheltered and
clothed and `such complex
achievements as taking part in the life
of the community, having a joyful and
stimulating life or attaining self-
respect and the respect of others’.”

(Sen 1999:31 in Fozzard 2001:19).

46
Chapter 5:
Profiling child poverty
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

As Sen was the first to highlight among poverty profilers, poverty is about much more than
insufficient income.1 Before trying to profile child poverty, it is
important to think about what poverty entails and to arrive at a
reflective definition. Of course, due to the subjective nature of “There has been a progressive
poverty, it is impossible for people not experiencing poverty to broadening of the definition and
understand it fully. The fact that poverty is multi-dimensional –
measurement of poverty, from
spanning the psychological, sociological, political and economic –
command over market-purchased
makes it even more difficult to define.
goods (income) to other dimensions
A good way to begin grappling with the different aspects of child of living standards such as longevity,
poverty is to consider poor children’s experiences. Poor children literacy and healthiness, and most
themselves tell us that child poverty is much more than having little recently, to concerns with risk and
money or household income.2 Participatory child poverty studies vulnerability, and powerlessness and
offer a broad description of child poverty and highlight a range of
lack of voice”
different aspects of poverty that go beyond income (Hickey and
Streak, 2001:2). According to this description, poor children may (Kanbur and Squire 1999:1, cited in Cassiem
experience any or all of the following: and Streak 2000:vii).

• Worry about not having any money of their own, about family
income level and about future income earning opportunities;

• Worry about whether an adverse shock – such as death of a parent due to HIV/AIDS or a
parent losing his or her employment (income earning power) – is going to further erode
household income and assets and the impact of the shock on the household;

• Feelings of hunger, fatigue, anger, illness and poor health;

• Feelings of insufficient knowledge, of worry about quality of education and/or ability to access
education;

• Concern about physical security; and

1 See for example Sen’s 1985 book titled Commodities i i . Report of the child participation exercise
and Capabilities, Amsterdam: North Holland and his 1999 conducted by the Alliance for Children’s
book titled Development as Freedom, Oxford: Oxford Entitlement to Social Security (ACESS) in South
University Press. Africa. This report is titled Children Speak
Out on Poverty: Report on the ACESS Child
2 See for example: Participation Process. Johannesburg: Soul City. 47
i. Findings of the child participation exercise conducted iii. The findings of the participatory poverty
in South Africa in 2000 by Deborah Ewing and reported research conducted by the World Bank in 1999
in the Idasa study Child Poverty and the Budget 2000 – and reported in the World Bank’s 2000/01
Are Poor Children Being Put First? World Development Report.
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

• Feelings of social exclusion and of powerlessness (at the level of the household, family or
community).

This description of child poverty fits well with the framework put forward by the World Bank in its
2000/01 World Development Report. The framework was intended as a tool for researchers to use in
profiling poverty and policy makers to use to sharpen their thinking about the role of government in
reducing poverty. The World Bank framework defines poverty in terms of four categories of
deprivation:

• Insufficient income and income earning opportunities;

• Lack of human development opportunities (linked to lack of education, insufficient nutrition,


poor health and health services, lack of recreational facilities, inability to enjoy leisure activities
and inability to develop one’s talents);

• Feelings of physical and economic insecurity otherwise described as feelings of vulnerability;


and

• Lack of ability to participate in family and community life and an inability to influence one’s
own destiny, otherwise described as powerlessness or social exclusion.

The definition of poverty set out above can be used as a framework for profiling child poverty. For
example, indicators may be identified in relation to each of the four dimensions of child poverty.
Data can then be gathered pertaining to each indicator over a given period, and analysed to provide
a relatively comprehensive overview of child poverty. The strength of this approach is the thorough
picture of child poverty it produces; but it is a very time-intensive research process.

There are two other common approaches to child poverty profiling. One involves focusing on the
income aspect of child poverty and using measurements of income child poverty based on survey
data and income poverty lines to provide information on the extent and distribution of income child
poverty. The other involves drawing on poor children’s experiences to record the non-realisation of
child rights, a method that is useful for highlighting an urgent need for government action to give
effect to child rights. These three approaches are discussed in more detail below.

48
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

This chapter is structured as follows:

Section 5.1 sets out how household income survey data can be used to shed light on the extent of
income child poverty in a country and regional shares of income poor children.

Section 5.2 explains what is involved in the approach that uses indicators to profile the four
components of child poverty identified above.

Section 5.3 illustrates how to use the child rights framework as a benchmark and draw on child
participation to highlight the violation of child rights.

Section 5.4 considers how to go about shedding light on the prospects for markets to help
reduce poverty and deliver child rights in future.

5.1 Profiling the extent and distribution of income


child poverty
The most conventional approach to profiling child poverty is to focus on the income aspect and to
use income or expenditure data to count the number and percentage of children living below the
income poverty line. The advantage of this approach is that if you have access to survey data and
survey data analysis skills, it can be applied to produce very useful information from a policy and
budgeting perspective. More specifically, this approach can be used to generate information on the
following:

• The percentage of children that are poor (in the sense that they fall below the income poverty
line) in a country and in different regions of the country. This kind of information is otherwise
referred to as the child poverty rate in a given country or region.

• The absolute (or total) number of children that are poor in the sense that they live below the
income poverty line in a country, and in different regions of the country.

• How the total number of children that are income poor in a country is distributed across

49
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

different regions (or provinces) of the country. This is illustrated by expressing the number of
children that fall below the income poverty line in a particular province or region as a
percentage of the total number of income poor children in that country. This kind of
information is generally referred to as regional child poverty shares.

To generate this kind of child poverty information, the discussion below presents
guidelines for applying the following six-step procedure:

Step 1 Identifying income or expenditure survey data

Step 2 Deciding on the income poverty line to be used in the profile

Step 3 Selecting which regions to include in your profile

Step 4 Using the survey data and the chosen poverty line to calculate child poverty
rates or alternatively, employing a survey data analyst to calculate the
child poverty rates.

Step 5 Recording the country and regional child poverty rate findings and making
explicit what they mean

Step 6 Estimating the total number of poor children in each region and regional
child poverty shares

Step one: Identifying survey data


Before embarking on this research, make sure that you have access to appropriate household survey
data. You will need data on income or expenditure for a sample of households, and the data should
be representative of the demographic, geographical and income profile of the country. Generally
speaking, surveys of household income and expenditure are conducted at about five year intervals in
countries. They are conducted either by government, international research organisations or local
research organisations. A key problem relating to the household survey data that underpins child

50
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

(and any other) poverty measurement studies, is that usually the data is a little old. For example, in
South Africa in 2002, the most recent household income and expenditure survey data was from a
survey conducted in October 1999 by government’s statistical services (Statistics South Africa).

Step two: Selecting a poverty line


The task of selecting a poverty line is not easy. It is however, very important. Where you choose to
set the poverty line will play a significant role in determining how many children you classify as
income poor. To decide on the poverty line:

• Consider whether you want to define the poverty line with reference to the level of income or
expenditure a child has per month. It does not really matter which is chosen.3

• If the household survey data set you have selected for the study records only data on household
income per month, then the choice will be simple – income. For the purposes of this outline,
let’s assume that the child poverty line is to be defined in terms of income.

Next, a choice must be made between an absolute or relative income poverty line:

• A relative child poverty line classifies a child as poor by comparing his or her income with that
of other members of the community. So for example a typical relative income poverty line used
in child poverty measurement studies classifies a child as poor if he/she resides in one of the
bottom 40% of households in a region, when the households in the region are ranked according
to income.

• An absolute child poverty line classifies a child as poor if he or she has an income level that is
estimated to be less than that needed for her or him to consume the goods needed to meet basic
needs. The absolute nature of child rights (including socio-economic rights) suggests that when
measuring child income poverty it is best to use an absolute poverty line.

3 Some argue that it is better to use expenditure to


define the poverty line and count the number of poor
children because households frequently under-report
income but under-report expenditure infrequently. 51
Household income is also subject to more monthly
fluctuations than household expenditure.
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

Setting an absolute child poverty line – based on the income a child needs per
month to meet his or her basic needs

The choice of where to set the absolute child income poverty line to reflect the
minimum level of income needed to meet basic needs is plagued with problems.
In theory, the absolute income poverty line should be set at the level of income
below which a child would not have sufficient income to afford to consume the
quantity and quality of basic goods needed to live a healthy and secure life. The
level of income chosen must also be the minimum level that applies in the year in
which the household survey was conducted. In practice, it is impossible to estimate
accurately this level of income. Amongst other complicating factors, children
have different physical needs and live in different areas. The price for the basket
of goods needed to meet basic needs - whatever that contains – will vary from
place to place.

Faced with these problems, there are two options. You can yourself try to estimate
the minimum level of income needed for a child to meet his or her basic needs in
the year for which you have household survey data. Or you can look towards the
suggestions of others. Whichever route is taken, it is important to make clear
what the chosen income poverty line is, and how it was identified. An approach
taken recently at the CBU is to set our child poverty line at R400 per month per
child in 1999 rands. This choice is informed by the recommendation of a respected
research and policy committee, set up to investigate poverty and social security
strategy in South Africa.

Step three: Deciding which regions to include


To conclude the first step in the procedure, select the regions or provinces for which you want to
calculate child poverty rates, numbers of poor children and child poverty shares:

52
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

• Consider what regions you have data on household income for.

• Think about what type of regional breakdown would be useful to meet the broader objectives of
your study.

For example, South Africa has nine provinces and survey data on income and expenditure of
households covers all these nine provinces. The majority of child rights-related programmes are
budgeted and implemented at provincial level. It thus makes sense to calculate child poverty rates
and numbers of children that fall below the poverty line for each of the nine provinces, as well as the
country as a whole.

Step four: Calculating the child poverty rates


The survey data now has to be analysed in relation to the chosen income poverty line in a way that
allows:

• the number of children living in the different regions to be counted; and

• the child poverty rate for each region to be calculated.

The easiest approach is to ask a survey data analysis specialist to manipulate the data so as to:

• Identify and count the number of children in the survey that have less income than the level set
by the poverty line in each region.

• Express the total number of poor children in each region and the country identified as having
less income than that of the poverty line as a percentage of the total number of children, thereby
producing regional and country child poverty rate results.

Alternatively, if you have the computer software and basic computer skills needed to analyse the
survey data, you could calculate the poverty rates yourself. The box below sets out a simple method
to follow.

53
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

Calculating child poverty rates

1. Divide the total income in each household by the number of people in the
households, thereby generating data on income per person (including per child).
2. Study the income per person data to identify the number of children in each
region and the country as a whole whose income is less than the level of the
poverty line. Count them.
3. Now count the total number of children in each region and the county as a whole.
4. Finally, express the number of children you have identified as having less income
than that of the poverty line as a percentage of the total number of children you
have identified in each region. Similarly, to arrive at a national (or country) child
poverty rate you need to express the total number of children that you have
identified as having less income per month than that set by the poverty line as a
percentage of the total number of children in the country.

Step five: Recording the child poverty rate results


The next step is to record the child poverty rates and to make explicit what exactly they tell us about
child poverty. By way of example, the table below presents the child poverty rate results recently
generated by an analysis of 1999 household income data in South Africa, using an absolute poverty
line of R400 per child / month in 1999 rands. 4

4 Conducted by Dr Ingrid Woolard of the Human


Sciences Research Council in South Africa on
behalf of the Childrens Budget Unit.
54
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

Table 2: Child poverty rates in South Africa and in the nine provinces, based on income
survey data generated in 1999 and poverty line of R400/month per capita in 1999 rands

Province
Province Child poverty
rate in 1999 (%)

Western Cape 46.8

Eastern Cape 88.4

Northern Cape 72.9

Free State 77.2

Kwa-Zulu Natal 80.0

North West 78.7

Gauteng 55.4

Mpumalanga 78.7

Limpopo 84.3

Republic of South Africa 75.8

Source: Streak, J. (2002) Idasa Child Poverty Monitor no.1

The results in Table 2 show the percentages of children that were poor in 1999 in the sense that they
fell below the poverty line of R400 per child per month in 1999 rands.5

Step six: Estimating regional numbers of poor children and child


poverty shares
To conduct this step, you will need estimates on the number of children currently living in the
different regions of the country in question. If such estimates are available, you can use your child
poverty rate findings to estimate total numbers of poor children and poverty shares for each region.

5 Due to inflation, the level of (nominal) income that would be


required to meet a child’s basic needs in years subsequent to
the year of the survey would be different from the R400 that
was estimated to be needed in 1999. Also, the child poverty rate 55
cannot be expected to stay constant in years subsequent to that
of the survey.
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

The box below sets out how to do this. Table 3 illustrates a way to present your findings.

Calculating regional numbers of poor children and child poverty shares

1. Record the child poverty rates from the survey data analysis for each region.
2. Record the most recent estimate of the number of children in each region of the
country, and for the country as a whole.
3. Multiply the child poverty rate for each region, by the estimated number of children
in each region to arrive at an estimate of the total number of poor children in
each region. For example, the estimated number of poor children in the Eastern
Cape region in South Africa in 2002 = the number of children in Eastern Cape
in 2002 (3 462 084) X the child poverty rate in Eastern Cape in 1999 (88.4%).
The answer is 3 060 483.
4. Use the data on the number of poor children in each province to calculate each
region or province’s percentage (share) of the total number of poor children in
the country.

For example the Western Cape region’s share of the total number of poor children in South Africa in
2002 is calculated as follows: The number of poor children in Western Cape in 2002 (712 114)
divided by the total number of poor children in South Africa in 2002 (14 360 072), X 100. This
amounts to 5%.

56
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

Table 3: Child poverty rates, estimates of poor children and child poverty shares based
on OHS 1999 and poverty line of R400/month per capita

Province
Province Child poverty Estimated number Estimated number of Child poverty share
rate in 1999 (%) of children in 2002 poor children in 2002 in 2002 (%)

Western Cape 46.8 1 518 692 712 114 5


Eastern Cape 88.4 3 462 084 3 060 483 21
Northern Cape 72.9 365 358 266 565 2
Free State 77.2 1 146 368 885 913 6
Kwa-Zulu Natal 80.0 4 106 547 3 286 470 23
North West 78.7 1 521 258 1 197 230 8
Gauteng 55.4 2 465 114 1 366 659 10
Mpumalanga 78.7 1 377 413 1 084 438 8
Limpopo 84.3 2 965 484 2 500 200 17
Republic of South Africa 75.8 18 928 319 14 360 072 100

Source: Streak, J. (2002) Idasa Child Poverty Monitor no.1

5.2 Using indicators to profile different aspects of


child poverty
This approach to developing a child poverty profile draws from the World Bank’s poverty
framework. By way of summary, the four dimensions of poverty identified in the framework are:

• insufficient income and income-earning opportunities;

• insufficient human development opportunities;

• economic and physical vulnerability; and

• powerlessness.

57
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

Table 4 provides guidance on the type of indicators that can be used to profile these different aspects
of child poverty. For example, for the first deprivation category - that of insufficient income and
income earning opportunities - a key indicator of this aspect of child poverty is the child poverty
rate. Thus the income-based approach outlined in section 5.1 and this indicator-based approach to
profiling child poverty should not be seen as mutually exclusive. On the contrary, it is a good idea to
use the income-based approach as a first step in compiling a more comprehensive child poverty
profile.

Table 4: Facets of child poverty and indicators that can be used to profile them

Deprivation category Examples of the poor child’s Indicators


experiences and feelings
Insufficient income and • Concern that the level of • The child poverty rate / information on
income-earning household income is not sufficient the number of children living below the
opportunities to pay for meeting the basic needs income poverty line.
of the household. • Child poverty share data and data on
• Concern about not having number of income poor children.
sufficient human capital, money • The unemployment rate and future
or other assets to earn a living trends in the rate.
after school. • The level and nature of productive
assets in low income households.

Insufficient human • Feeling hungry and or • Anthropomorphic indicators (indicators


development opportunities malnourished. of children’s weight for height, height
• Feeling sick and or unable to get for age and weight for age).
support from a medical • Indicators of health status such as child
practitioner. mortality and morbidity statistics,
• Wanting to go to school all the immunisation data and data on access
time, but being prevented from to health services.
doing so, or/and feeling that one’s • Indicators of education status such as
level of knowledge and education the enrolment rate in early childhood
will be insufficient for development centres and primary
participation in the formal schools, the matriculation pass rates
economy and to develop one’s and the matriculation exemption rate.
talents. • Indicators of availability and use of
• Feeling that recreational recreational facilities such as the
facilities and leisure are scarce number of sports grounds and parks.
and unable to enjoy life.

58
Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

Deprivation category Examples of the poor child’s Indicators


experiences and feelings

Economic and • Feeling worried about the economic • The HIV/AIDS incidence rate and
physical vulnerability implications of a death in the family mortality rate.
or any other adverse shock (such as • The number of children living on the
that caused by retrenchment). streets, without parents, and living in
• Having to look after younger siblings child headed households.
and/or older members of the family • The unemployment rate and expected
and worrying about variations in the trends in it.
future income flows needed to meet • Child labour rates.
family needs. • School drop-out rates.
• Feeling physically insecure and • Indicators of physical abuse against
scared about being abused in future. children such as rape and assault
statistics, gun shot and land-mine wounds,
and burns.
• Indicators of the number of children
involved in violence such as statistics on
child soldiers and child gangsters.

Powerlessness • Feeling oppressed within the family It is difficult to think of any indicators
and unable to have one’s voice that can be supported by nation-wide data
heard. for this aspect of poverty. Perhaps the only
• Feeling scorned by the community. way to shed light on this is to speak to
• Feeling unable to become involved in children themselves about their
the broader development of society. experiences.

Once indicators have been selected in relation to the different dimensions of child poverty, your next
task is to gather data to support each of the indicators. Bear in mind that the child poverty profile
will be enriched if you are able to gather data that allows you to show the following (in relation to
each indicator):

• How that aspect of poverty varies across different regions of the country.

• How that aspect of poverty has been changing over time.

• Whether child poverty is worse for any gender, race, minority grouping, disabled children and
children without parental care.

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

To show the extent of the different aspects of child poverty across the entire country, it will be
important to try and access data to support the different indicators by drawing on national surveys
and government statistics. It is also a good idea to gather some insights on the different aspects of
child poverty in your country by conducting child participation workshops.

5.3 Using child participation to highlight the non-


realisation of child rights
In your child poverty profile, you may want to show any stark contrast between the child rights given
in the legal framework in your country and the actual situation of children. This can be done by
offering examples of how some children’s rights are not realised. Gathering information from
children’s experiences on the non-realisation of their rights will add a valuable angle to your study.
For the purposes of the poverty profile, you might choose to focus on any or all of the following
child rights: the right to benefit from social security (a minimum income), basic education, health
services, nutrition, housing and clothing. It is also important to include categories of particularly
vulnerable poor children in the research process, such as children with disabilities and children
without parental care.

Engaging with child poverty through participative research

• Gain a good understanding of the child rights that apply in your country.
• Convene focus groups with poor children in which discussion is facilitated, and
information is gathered on their lives. Aside from simply asking poor children to
talk about their lives and what they would like to see change, a useful way to
gather information about the violation of rights (particularly basic socio-economic
rights) is to ask children what they would do with a small monthly income
supplement. Children may respond to this kind of question by explaining that
they would give money to their care-givers to buy food, use some of the money to
buy school books and clothes for school, and use some of the money for basic
toiletries. Such answers reveal starkly the existence of violations of children’s
basic socio-economic rights.

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Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

• Analyse the children’s perspectives and views with the objective of identifying
which rights are not being realised.
• Write up the information in a way that links children’s experiences to particular
rights and draws clear attention to any rights violations. For example, a story
about a child not being immunised due to it being too costly to access a health
clinic could be linked to the child’s right to primary health care. A story about
a girl who is looking after her siblings due to the death of her parents, and
working instead of attending school, can be linked to the child’s right to engage
in play and leisure, to primary education and to benefit from social security.

This approach to developing a child poverty profile can strengthen a child budget study in a
number of ways:

• It provides very clear examples of which child rights are being violated in a county and
illustrates how children are suffering because of the non-realisation of rights.

• It highlights the urgent need for action (including in the form of government programmes
and budget allocations) to realise these children’s rights.

• The information generated by this approach can be used as a powerful advocacy tool.

At the same time, this participative research approach has certain limitations, particularly if it is
not coupled with other forms of research. Naturally, only a small sample of a country’s children
can be interviewed. The information flowing from the interviews does not shed light on the
magnitude or scale of different child rights violations. Nor does it show how these violations vary
across different regions of the country. Survey data, based on a large sample of households in a
country including information on the quality of life of children, is needed to provide a quantitative
picture of child rights violations. Unfortunately, even in countries with excellent household
survey data, it is not possible to find support for all the indicators needed to paint a complete
picture of the extent and violation of all child rights.

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

5.4 Assessing the prospects for child poverty to be


reduced through markets
Developing a child poverty profile – using any or all of the approaches outlined above – helps to
construct a foundation for a child budget study. It allows you to illustrate the child poverty situation
in a given country, thereby highlighting the need for child rights to be realised. A useful next step is
to provide some comment on the prospects for child poverty to be reduced and child rights to be
realised through the market mechanism. As explained in part one of the guide, markets can play a
powerful role in delivering child rights through creating employment and hence income for parents
of poor children. But when there are limited prospects for private investment to generate
employment opportunities for the parents of poor children, the role of the state becomes relatively
more important. In this instance, the need for the state to give effect to child rights through public
programmes becomes even more urgent. If this is the case in the country your study will focus on, it
is important to illustrate this in your study. It will help you to emphasise how essential it is to ensure
that children are prioritised in government’s programming and budgeting.

The kind of data you will need to establish whether there are good prospects for income to be raised
in poor households via employment creation in a given country, includes:

Governments usually provide a forecast of the macro economy in their respective countries for the
next couple of years when presenting their budgets. This should include information on private
investment and employment creation prospects. Keep in mind that projections from government are
usually slightly optimistic, so it is worth comparing these to projections from other sources.

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Chapter five: Profiling child poverty

RESOURCE LIST FOR CHAPTER 5


ACESS. 2002. Children Speak Out on Poverty: Report on the ACESS Child
Participation Process. Johannesburg: Soul City.

Glewwe, P and Van der Gaag, J. 1990. ‘Identifying the Poor in Developing
Countries: Do Different Definitions Matter?, in World Development. Vol 18(6), pp
803 - 814.

Johnson, D. 1996. ‘Poverty lines and the measurement of poverty’, in Australian


Economic Review. No 1, pp 110 - 126.

Robb, C. 1999. Can the Poor Influence Policy? Participatory Poverty Assessments
in the Developing World. Washington DC: World Bank.

Sen, A. 1985. Commodities as Capabilities. Amsterdam: North Holland.

Sen, A. 1999. Development as Freedom . Oxford: Oxford U n i v e r s i t y


Press.

Steak, J. 2001. ‘The nature and extent of child poverty in South Africa’, in Budget
Brief. Cape Town: Idasa.

Streak, J. 2000. ‘The extent and provincial distribution of child poverty in South
Africa’. Chapter one in Cassiem, S. Perry, H. Sadan, M and Streak, J., Child
Poverty and the Budget 2000 – Are poor children being put first? Cape Town: Idasa.

Streak, J. 2002. Child Poverty Monitor No 1. Cape Town: Idasa Budget


Information Service.

World Bank. 2001. World Development Report 2000/01: Attaching Poverty. New
York: Oxford University Press. Or, online at http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/
wdrpoverty

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Chapter six:
Analysing programme existence and design
Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

This chapter sets out guidelines for how to begin a process of analysing
government budgeting to advance child rights. The first part of the chapter
considers the nuts and bolts of identifying government programmes that are
relevant to the child right(s) included in your child budget study. Section 6.2 then
looks into the task of analysing programme design. It presents a number of
windows through which to assess the basic conception and attributes of a
programme set in place to advance a child right.

6.1 Identifying government programmes that advance


child rights
The most effective way to establish whether government has a programme (or programmes) to
deliver a particular child right, is to consult with relevant government officials. In deciding which
government department to contact at which level of government (national, regional or district), it is
important to think about which department and tier of government is responsible for designing,
budgeting for and implementing programmes to deliver the right in question. For example, in
South Africa, the national Department of Social Development (Welfare) is responsible for
designing policies and programmes relating to the right to social security and overseeing their
implementation. So to find out about the existence of programmes to deliver the child’s right to
social security (and in particular to social assistance) in South Africa, the first option is to contact
officials in the national department.

After making contact with the relevant government officials and establishing that there is a
programme (or are programmes) in existence to give effect to a particular child’s right, a useful next
step is to set up a meeting in order to access further information on the programme. It is also crucial
to gather any available official documents that can help you to describe and analyse the content of
the programme.

In trying to find out whether government has any programmes that help to deliver a given child
right, you may encounter some difficulties. One common problem is that a government
intervention or service that impacts on a child right may not be defined as a programme in its own
right. In other words, the budgets and services you are interested in may form part of a larger

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Chapter 6: Analysing programme existence and design

programme that is not targeted exclusively at children. For example, government may explain that
the programme aimed at delivering the child’s rights to health is a sub-component of a larger
programme to deliver health care services through public hospitals and clinics to all citizens that
cannot afford to use private medical practitioners.

Another challenge is that for some rights, like the right to education, there may be a range of
programmes directed at delivering the right. For example in South Africa there are a number of key
programmes in place to deliver the right to education. These include, among others, government’s
public ordinary schooling programme (aimed at delivering nine years of education to all children),
government’s early childhood development programme (aimed at very young children) and
government’s special needs education programme (designed to cater for children with disabilities).

When identifying the programmes in place to deliver the child rights that form part of your study, it
is important to identify all the main programmes, including those that are not targeted specifically
at children.

If there is no programme in place to deliver the child right in question, try to establish why this is so.
For example, if the argument is that there are just not enough resources in government’s budget to
finance a programme to deliver the right, even the core elements of it, then this must be recorded in
the budget study. Moreover, it should be made clear in your study that the failure of government to
design and implement a programme to give effect to the right is at odds with its obligation to do so
in terms of the CRC and any relevant regional and domestic child rights obligations.

6.2 Describing and analysing the design of a child


rights programme
This section of the guide offers guidelines on how to extract insights and findings from official
documents and information gained from government officials pertaining to a particular child right.
It outlines:

• Pointers for describing the programme, paying attention to the level of services, rate of roll-out
of services and objectives of the programme;

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

• How to establish whether the programme caters for all groups of children - and particularly the
most vulnerable – by studying the eligibility criteria and procedure for gaining access to the
services produced by the programme; and

• If there is discrimination in the programme design, questions that may help you to analyse
government’s justification for it and establish whether government has a plan in place to reduce
it in future.

Describing the programme


As a starting point, you can use the material and information at your disposal to establish:

• when the programme was initiated

• what objectives the programme has

• what level of services the programme aims to deliver and for whom

• what the time schedule for delivery is and who the implementing agencies are

It is particularly important to establish whether the basic services that the CRC and other child
rights legal instruments highlight as those to be prioritised, are covered in the programme design. If
the programme does not envisage a rapid expansion of services and/or does not clearly delegate
responsibilities to different delivery agencies, this should be highlighted as it will affect the
realisation of child rights.

Establishing whether there is discrimination in access to services


Consider whether the programme eligibility and access procedures (particularly for basic services)
are discriminatory and fail to cater for vulnerable groups of children. If this is the case, your study
can be used to highlight and explain how the programme is at odds with the spirit of the CRC and
other legal child rights instruments.
This step in the research process may often require consultation with legal experts and programme
implementers. The box below provides an example of this step in the analysis of a programme
aimed to give effect to a child right.

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Chapter 6: Analysing programme existence and design

The Child Support Grant programme in South Africa

The Child Support Grant (CSG) programme in South Africa is an example of a


child rights programme in which both the eligibility criteria and the procedure
for accessing services are discriminatory. The CSG programme, introduced in
1998 by the country’s first democratic government, is the main programme put
in place to deliver the child’s right to social assistance. It replaced an existing
programme delivering income support to children, which was inherently
discriminatory on racial grounds. With the newly introduced CSG, only children
younger than seven were made eligible for the income grant of R100 per month
offered by the programme. (The grant has recently been raised to R140 per month
and government has announced its intention to incrementally raise the age limit
of the grant to 14 years).
To gain access to this grant on behalf of the child beneficiary, the care-giver of
the child has to apply through a provincial Social Development department for
the grant. This involves producing an identification document of the child and
proving that the income of the child’s care-giver is below a certain amount. The
care-giver also has to get to one of government’s pay-points every month to receive
the grant on behalf of the child. The eligibility criteria currently discriminate
against children aged seven to seventeen. The access procedure discriminates
against poor children. Many poor children do not have identity documents and
their parents or care-givers do not have the income needed to pay for the
transaction actions that have to be covered in the process of accessing the grant.
It also discriminates particularly against poor children who do not have care-
givers to access the grant for them (such as children living in child-headed
households or on the streets).

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

Analysing government’s justification for discrimination in eligibility


for a programme
Many government programmes that give effect to child rights are not open to all children in a
country. In setting eligibility requirements for a child rights programme, a government may be
found to be discriminating against particular categories of children. The justification for doing so,
on the part of government, is usually that available resources (mostly financial, but also other
resources) do not allow the programme to be extended to children currently excluded.

It is very difficult to establish whether discrimination on the basis of insufficient resources is ‘fair’ or
justifiable. The following pointers might help you to grapple with this question and develop an
argument that casts doubt on the fairness of discrimination in the eligibility requirements of a given
programme:

• Consider how much more money could be made available to deliver rights to children by
changing budget priorities (say from spending on defence and tax cuts to primary health care
for children) or increasing operational efficiency.

• Try to locate or generate information on the actual cost implications of extending the
programme in question to children currently excluded from it. It is usually possible to illustrate
how little such a step would cost – relative to what is available in the entire budget.

• Probe into government’s efforts to secure the resources needed to realise child rights – it
remains the responsibility of government to build and access such resources (for example from
the international community). Governments are also required to develop the administrative and
infrastructure capacity needed to spend resources allocated for the implementation of relevant
programmes.

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Chapter 6: Analysing programme existence and design

Is discrimination justifiable in the case of the CSG programme in South Africa?

The South African government justified the age restriction on the eligibility for
the CSG programme when it was introduced in April 1998. It put forth the
argument that it would not be able to afford to pay the grant (then R100) to
children of all ages who passed the means test. Is this argument justifiable?
To answer this question, the CBU considered the trend in the total amount of
revenue government has available in the budget, the cost that would have to be
incurred if government paid the grant to children of all ages, and government’s
priorities, as reflected in the budget.
Since the fiscal year 2000/01, government has seen a very positive total
government revenue scenario. This was partly due to excellent tax collection by
the South African Revenue Service, but also to fiscal prudence over the period
1996/97-1999/00. In the face of revenue windfalls, it has prioritised giving tax
relief to South African citizens. The CBU illustrated that the estimated cost of
extending the grant to all children – about R 10 billion – is less than the R 15
billion allocated by government in the 2002/03 budget for tax relief. The CBU
also argues that government should already have built – or at least be in the
process of building quickly – the financial and administrative capacity to deliver
the child’s basic right to social assistance in South Africa.

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Chapter seven:
Analysing budget
Part 3: Basic methods allocations
for budget analysis aimed at to a child
advancing rights programme
child rights

This chapter takes a closer look at methods you can use to analyse government’s
budget allocations to programmes set in place to advance child rights. The chapter
provides practical guidance on how to:

• identify and record budget allocations to child rights programmes;

• assess what priority a particular programme has been given, by expressing the
allocation to this programme as a percentage of the total expenditure
budgeted by government;

• calculate nominal growth rates in budget allocations to child rights


programmes; and

• adjust budget allocations for inflation and work out real growth rates.

7.1 Identifying and recording budget allocations


An important part of a child budget study is to identify and record data on how much government
has allocated to the programmes that seek to deliver the child rights included in the research. The
method used to identify the budget allocations involves two steps:

• Establishing how much has been allocated to the programmes per year – either for the time
period chosen for your analysis or since programme implementation began; and

• Recording the data on these programme budgets in a way that is easy to read and understand.

Identifying information on budget allocations


Most countries’ budget documents (national and regional) are classified in a way that provides
information for the upcoming financial year and two subsequent years. This information should
provide data on allocations to:

• the main government departments (for example, health, welfare, education, finance);

• the main programmes within these departments; and

• the main sub-programmes within these departments.

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Chapter 7: Analysing budget allocations to a child rights programme

To locate the budget data relevant to your study, you will need to be sure:

• whether the programme under scrutiny is financed at the national or regional (provincial) level;
and

• what department’s budget the programme or sub-programme falls under.

If the programme is financed at the regional (provincial) level, look in the regional budget books
for data on budget allocations to the programme or sub-programme, focussing on the relevant
department’s budget. For example, in South Africa, the provincial level education departments –
one for each of the nine provinces – are responsible for financing and administering the public
ordinary schooling programme aimed at delivering the child’s right to education. To identify budget
allocations to this programme, it is therefore necessary to consult each province’s provincial budget
documents and look for the allocations to the public ordinary schooling programme in the section
that deals with the department of education.

In a best case scenario, when you look in the provincial or national budget books and find the
programme you are looking for, you will simply see the associated budget allocations listed.
However, this will not be the case for all programmes. Unfortunately in most cases, the way the
programmes and sub-programmes are divided will not enable you to identify the budget allocations
so easily. If this is true of the programme you are interested in, make contact with the relevant
department’s officials (either national or regional depending which is relevant) to try and access the
budget allocation data. For example, in the case of the CSG programme in South Africa, which is
financed and administered by the nine provinces, only two provinces list this programme as a sub-
programme in the Social Development Department section of their budgets. The CBU therefore
contacts social development department officials in the remaining seven provinces to get a full set of
data on budget allocations to this key child rights programme.

When the programme in question is one targeted specifically at children, a lot of badgering of
government officials should enable you to get the data you need. However, when the programme
directed at delivering the child’s right is part of a larger programme targeted at everyone,
conversations with government officials may prove futile. In many instances, government will
probably not have a system in place for recording and reporting how much of the money allocated to

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

the entire programme is specifically allocated to children’s services. For example, in South Africa,
the district health services programme, which renders primary health care services, is a key
programme in government’s strategy to deliver the child’s right to health services. A considerable
share of the money allocated to this programme is spent on rendering services (such as
immunisation) to children. But the health department does not record and report on exactly how
much money within the total programme budget is actually allocated and spent specifically on child
services.

The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child requires of countries that have ratified
the CRC to develop the data-recording systems needed to monitor implementation of the
convention. If you are unable to gather information on budget allocations to the child rights
programme you are investigating, it is important to highlight this and explain why you were not able
to access the data. This aspect of your research can provide a valuable tool to advocate for changes
in budgeting systems, so that it is possible to monitor government’s compliance with its child rights
obligations.

Recording the budget allocation data


Budget information in a child budget study is at its most useful when it is presented in a way that
your target audience will find easy to understand and make sense of. When you record the budget
allocation data you have uncovered, it is useful to list the allocations for the different regions and
county as a whole year by fiscal year in tabular form. Remember to label the table in a way that
makes clear what years the budget allocations are for, what currency has been used and whether the
values are in thousands or millions. The table below gives an example of how the CBU reported on
government’s budget allocations to the CSG programme.

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Chapter 7: Analysing budget allocations to a child rights programme

Table 5: Provincial CSG programme budgets 2001/02 to 2004/05, R million

Rand million 2001/02 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05


Budget Budget Estimate Estimate

Eastern Cape 261 691 1 231 1 337

Free State 78 140 164 176

Gauteng 191 385 582 884

KwaZulu-Natal 346 813 885 1 021

Limpopo 272 546 854 853

Mpumalanga 148 309 379 488

North West 106 258 299 319

Northern Cape 31 51 63

Western Cape 75 223 241 263

Total 1 508 3 417 4 697

Sources: Estimates of Expenditure for 2001/02 and 2002/03 for KwaZulu-Natal and Western Cape and provincial Social Security
Departments for the other provinces.

7.2 Expressing programme budget allocations as a


percentage of total budgeted expenditure
When analysing budget allocations to any child rights programme, it is useful to express the
amounts allocated to the programme (for the years in which data is available) as a percentage share
of the total expenditure budgeted for by government. This statistic shows how big a slice of the total

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

budget pie has been given to the child rights programme. So it sheds light on the level of priority
given to the child rights programme in the allocation of public resources available for spending in a
particular year. You might find that a very small proportion of total government expenditure is
flowing to a child rights programme, even in the face of extensive violation of that right. Including
such evidence in your child budget study provides strong grounds to advocate for increased budget
allocations to the programme in question. The steps below set out how to express an amount
allocated to a child rights programme as a percentage of the total budgeted for expenditure by
government.

• First, list the years for which you have data on allocations to the child rights-related programme
you are researching. Now study the national government budget documentation or speak to
national treasury officials in your country to get data on the total government expenditure
budgeted for in each of the corresponding years.

• Second, for each year, divide the amount allocated to the child rights programme by the total
amount of expenditure in the budget and multiply by 100 to get a percentage. The box below
provides an example.

Expressing budget allocations to a child rights programme as a percentage of the


total expenditure budgeted

(R million) 2001/02 2002/03


Child support grant allocation 1 508 3 417
Total expenditure budgeted for 258 318 287 909
Source: Republic of South Africa National Treasury Budget Review 2002:49.

In 2001/02, of the total budgeted for expenditure by the South African


government, the percentage allocated to the child support grant programme
was 1 508 / 258 318 million X 100 which is equal to 0.58%.
In 2002/03, the percentage of total budgeted for expenditure allocated to the
child support grant programme was 3 417 / 287 909 million X 100 which is
equal to 1.1%.
The increase in the percentage - from 0.58% in 2001/02 to 1.1% in 2002/03 -
illustrates that government is giving increased priority to this programme in its
budget allocations, even though the proportion of total government spending
allocated to the child support grant programme has been, and still is small.
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Chapter 7: Analysing budget allocations to a child rights programme

If you find that the proportion of total government expenditure allocated to the child rights
programme in question is small relative to an unmet need for the right to be realised, it is important
to highlight this. However, any call for increasing the size of the allocation to a programme should
take practical factors into account. For example, having more resources assigned to a programme is
only useful when there is a corresponding capacity within government to spend the funds. If such
capacity does not exist, consider how quickly such capacity can feasibly be built. Also think about
the need to spend public money more efficiently. There is no use government wasting public
resources by allocating them to programmes that do not have the capacity to spend them efficiently.
It is not a quick process to build government capacity to spend higher allocations and roll out
services more quickly to larger groups of children in need. It usually requires the development of
human resources, investment in infrastructure, expanding access to the services of the programme
and improvements in the marketing and targeting strategies of the programme.

Once you know what proportion of total budgeted expenditure has been allocated to the child rights
programme you are studying, it might be useful to compare this to expenditure on a competing priority, such as
defence or interest on debt payments. You can use exactly the same method to calculate the proportion of total
budgeted for expenditure allocated to the competing priority. For example, one of the main budget documents
in South Africa (National Treasury’s Budget Review) for 2002 states that the total amount allocated to paying
interest on state debt in 2002/03 was R47 503 million. To show the proportion of total budgeted for expenditure
allocated to interest payments, divide the interest payment allocation (R47 503 million) by the amount budgeted
for total government expenditure (R287 909 million) and multiply by 100. This works out to be 16.4%.

7.3 Calculating nominal growth rates in budget


allocations
You can use the data you have gathered on the amounts allocated to a child rights programme for the
different years in a particular period, to calculate the growth rate in allocations over time. This kind
of analysis will provide you with:

• Year-on-year growth rates in the budget allocations

• The average growth rate in the budget allocations over the particular period

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

How to work out year-on-year nominal growth rates in allocations

When you work out the year-on-year growth rate in a budget allocation, you are
trying to find out how much the size of that budget’s allocation (to a
programme, sector, department or whatever) grew from one year to another.
To calculate year-on-year growth rates in budget allocations to a child rights
programme (or any other programme), apply the following formula:
Growth rate = (year2 allocation – year1 allocation) / year1 allocation X 100.

Year-on-year growth rates in expenditure on public ordinary schooling in


South Africa

Table 6 shows the budget allocation data for the public ordinary school (POS)
programme in South Africa’s nine provinces for the period 2001/02 – 2004/05.
The POS programme is one of the main public programmes in place to deliver
the child’s right to basic education in South Africa.

Table 6: Budget allocations for the public ordinary school programme in South Africa
and in the nine provinces, 2002/03-2004/05, R thousands

R ‘000 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05

Eastern Cape 6 745 126 7 142 415 7 278 829

Free State 2 809 916 2 975 257 3 154 471

Gauteng 6 017 196 6 689 270 7 009 540

KwaZulu-Natal 8 864 098 9 718 883 10 321 522

Mpumalanga 3 149 409 3 484 118 3 699 071

Northern Cape 919 230 976 345 1 036 063

Northern Province 6 059 979 6 519 155 6 981 321

North West 3 520 667 3 515 792 3 570 248

Western Cape 3 608 391 3 796 386 3 964 754

Republic of South Africa 41 694 012 44 817 621 47 015 819


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Source: Provincial budgets, cited in Wildeman, 2002:9.
Chapter 7: Analysing budget allocations to a child rights programme

Example 1: Calculating the nominal growth rate in the combined allocation for
the provincial public ordinary school programme between 2002/03 and 2003/04

• The combined provincial allocation for 2002/03 (year 1) is R 41 694 012 000
or R41.6 billion.
• For 2003/04 (year 2) it is R44 817 621 000 or R44.8 billion.
• The percentage growth rate in the total public ordinary school budget
allocation between 2002/03 and 2003/04 is (44 817 621 000 – 41 694 012
000) / 41 694 012 000 X 100 = 7.4%

Example 2: Calculating the nominal growth rate in the budget allocation


for the public ordinary schools programme in the Eastern Cape between
the years 2003/04 and 2004/05

• The budget allocation for the POS programme in the Eastern Cape in 2003/
04 (year 1) is R7 142 415 000 or R7.1 billion.
• In 2004/05 (year 2) it is R 7 278 829 000.
• The year-on-year growth rate between the years 2003/04 and 2004/05 is (7
278 829 – 7 142 415 000) / 7 142 415 000 X 100 = 1.9%

How to calculate the average yearly growth rate in allocations over a period

Follow the steps below to calculate the average yearly growth rate in budget
allocations over a period:
• First work out yearly growth rates for the period.
• Next, sum up the yearly growth rates.
• Then, divide the summed growth rate by the number of yearly growth rates
calculated.

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Part 3: Basic methods for budget analysis aimed at advancing child rights

Working out the annual average growth rate in the public ordinary schools budget
allocation in the Western Cape between the period 2002/03 and 2004/05

This example is based on the budget allocation data for the public ordinary
schooling programme provided in Table 6 above.
• The year-on-year growth rate in the budget allocation to the programme
between 2002/03 and 2003/04 is 5.2%.
• The year-on-year growth rate in the budget allocation to the programme in
the Western Cape between 2003/04 and 2004/05 is 4.4%.
• The annual average growth rate for the period 2002/03-2004/05 is (5.2
+ 4.4) / 2 = 4.8%.

Calculating the annual average growth rate in the budget allocation to the child
support grant programme in Limpopo province over the period 2001/02 to 2004/05

This example is based on the budget allocation data for the child support grant
programme provided in Table 3.4 above.
• The amount of the child support grant allocation for Limpopo Province for
2001/02 is R 272 million. For 2002/03 it is R546 million, for 2003/04 R854
million and 2004/05 it is R853 million.
• The year-on-year growth rate between 2001/02 and 2002/03 is 100.7%.
• The year-on-year growth rate between 2002/03 and 2003/04 is 56.4%.
• The year-on-year growth rate between 2003/04 and 2004/05 is -0.1%.
• The annual average growth rate in the budget allocations for the Limpopo
province over the period 2001/02 to 2004/05 is the sum of all three year-on-
year growth rates (100.7 + 56.4 + -0.1), divided by the number of year-on-
year growth rates calculated (3). It is therefore 52.3%.

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Chapter 7: Analysing budget allocations to a child rights programme

7. 4 Adjusting nominal values for inflation and


calculating real growth rates
The amounts allocated and cited in government budgets are nominal amounts. This means that
their values are not adjusted to take inflation into account. In other words, the amount of money
being allocated to a child health programme – for example – may well increase from year to year.
But over the same time period, the costs involved in delivering the programme’s services will also
increase. The cost of medicines may go up, for instance, or the price of hospital equipment. So the
nominal amounts allocated to a programme in future years have to be adjusted for the inflation in
output costs that is likely to occur. Without making this adjustment, it is difficult to evaluate
whether the increases you see are ‘real’ or will simply be usurped to compensate for inflated costs.

An important aspect of analysing budget allocations to child rights programmes is therefore to


adjust them for inflation, thereby translating nominal budget allocations to child rights programmes
into real budget allocations. It is then possible to show if or if not the budget allocations to these
programmes are growing in real terms over a chosen period of time. This section of the guide
outlines five steps you can follow to adjust nominal budget allocations for inflation and work out
real growth rates:

Step one Choose a base year

Step two Identify inflation rates for the conversion

Step three Calculate a price index and price deflators

Step four Use the price deflators to convert nominal values to real values

Step five Work out the real (year-on-year and average) annual growth rates

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Step 1: Choose a base year


The first step is to decide which year to use as your base year. The ‘base year’ is the year for which
you assume there is no inflation. The ‘base year’ is the year for which you assume that the nominal
amounts reflect the real value of the amounts at the time. The easiest approach is to choose the first
year that you have nominal budget allocation data for the programme as the base year.

Choosing a base year for the POS programme

Table 7 shows the nominal budget allocations to the public ordinary school
programme in South Africa for the years 2002/03, 2003/04 and 2004/05. As a
first step towards converting these nominal allocations into real values, it is
easiest to make the first year, 2002/03, your base year.

Table 7: Budget allocations for the public ordinary school programme in South
Africa, 2002/03-2004/05, R thousands

R ‘000 2002/03 2003/04 2004/05


Republic of South Africa 41 694 012 44 817 621 47 015 819

Source: Provincial budgets, cited in Wildeman, 2002:9.

Step 2: Identify inflation rates for the conversion


The next step is to identify what inflation rate projections you are going to use for the conversion of
nominal budget values into real values. Here there are two separate decisions you have to make:

• First, decide whether you want to use a CPI, PPI or GDP measure of inflation.
The CPI is a measure of inflation that is based on the rate of change of prices in the average
basket of goods that the typical consumer buys. The PPI inflation rate is based on a measure of
the rate of increase in prices of the range of goods that a typical producer purchases. The GDP
inflation rate is based on a measure of the rate of increase in prices of a broader range of goods

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in the economy than CPI or PPI. However, it excludes imported goods. Most countries have
two CPI measures of inflation. The first, usually called CPI, includes mortgage costs (the
interest rate). The second, known in South Africa as CPIX, excludes the mortgage costs.
Because the GDP inflation rate is the broadest definition of the inflation rate it is a good idea to
use it for the conversion of nominal budget allocations into real budget allocations.
Alternatively, use either of the CPI measures.

• Second, decide where you are going to get your estimate of the inflation rate
for the period in question. For example, there are two primary sources of projections on
GDP inflation in South Africa. The national treasury releases its estimates of inflation in the
mini budget, otherwise known as the Medium Term Budget Policy Statement (MTBPS) in
November each year and in the Budget (which it presents at the end of February each year).
Then there are also the projections of economists in the private sector. The CBU usually uses
the most recent projections of GDP inflation from national treasury for our conversions of
nominal budget allocations into real budget allocations.

Identifying inflation rates to convert values in the POS programme

For the purposes of this exercise, the GDP inflation rate will be used to convert
the nominal allocations to the public ordinary schooling programme in South
Africa for the years 2003/04 and 2004/05 into real values. Table 8 below gives
the most recent projections for GDP inflation from the national treasury.

Table 8: Projections of GDP inflation in South Africa for 2002/03-2004/05

2002/03 2003/04 2004/05


GDP inflation 9.3% 6.6% 5.1%

Source: National Treasury, Medium Term Budget Policy Statement 2002:26.

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Step 3: Calculating a price index and price deflators


Once you have decided on the base year and gathered inflation rate data for the relevant years, the
next step is to use the inflation rate data to calculate the price index and price deflators for the period
in question.

• The price index is a set of index numbers that shows how the average price of a bundle of goods
has changed over time. If the GDP inflation rate is used to calculate the price index (as in our
example), it will show how the average price of a broad spectrum of goods consumed and
produced in the economy has changed over time. If the CPI inflation rate is used to compute
the price index, it will show how the average price of a basket of goods purchased by an average
consumer has changed over time.

• Price deflators simply express the price index, and hence the trend in the average price level, in a
different way. As is illustrated below, they are calculated by dividing the price index by 100.

The procedure for calculating the price index is as follows:


Year Price index calculation Note

In year one – The price index = 100 The price index is always 100
2002/03 in the base year.

In year two – The price index is 100 + 100 X 6.6 is the projected GDP
2003/04 (6.6/100) = 106.6 inflation rate for 2003/04

In year three – The price index is 106.6 + 5.1 is the projected GDP
2004/05 106.6 X (5.1/100) = 111.7 inflation rate for 2004/05

To derive price deflators for each year you simply divide the price index by
100 as follows:

• In year one, 2002/03, the price deflator is 100/100 = 1.


• In year two, 2003/04, the price deflator is 106.6/100 = 1.066.
• In year three, 2004/05, the price deflator is 111.7/100 = 1.117.

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Step 4: Use the price deflators to convert nominal to real values


To convert the nominal budget allocations into real budget allocations for each year, simply divide
the budget allocation for each year, by the price deflator for that year.

The formula for translating nominal budget allocations into real budget
allocations is:

Real budget allocation = Nominal allocation / Price deflator

Converting nominal allocations to the POS programme into real values

Table 9 below uses the deflators calculated from GDP inflation projections for 2003/04 and
2004/05 in step 3 above. For each year, the nominal budget allocation to the POS programme is
divided by the price deflator, thereby converting these amounts into real values.

Table 9: Conversion of nominal public ordinary school programme budget allocations into real
budget allocations using GDP price deflators

2002/03 2003/04 2004/05


Nominal budget allocation 41 694 012 000 44 817 621 000 47 015 819 000
Price deflator 1 1.066 1.117
Calculation 41 694 012 000/1 44 817 621 000/1.066 47 015 819 000/1.117
Real budget allocation 41 694 012 000 42 042 796 000 42 091 153 000

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Step 5: Calculate real (year-on-year and average) growth rates


To work out the year-on-year and annual average growth rates in real budget allocations, you use the
exact same method as for calculating the year-on-year and the annual average growth rates in
nominal budget allocations.

Working out the real growth in allocations to the POS programme

The example below uses the data on real budget allocations to the public
ordinary school programme as generated in Table 9 above:
• The year-on-year growth rate from 2002/03 to 2003/04 in the real budget
allocation to the programme is 42 042 796 000 – 41 694 012 000 / 41 694
012 000 X 100 = 0.8%.
• The year-on-year growth rate in the real budget allocation to the progamme
between 2003/04 and 2004/05 is 42 091 153 000 – 42 042 796 000 / 42 042
796 000 X 100 = 0.1%.
• The annual average real growth rate in budget allocations to the programme
for the period 2002/03 –2004/05 is 0.8 + 0.1 / 2 = 0.45%.

In presenting a budget analysis of a child rights programme (or programmes), it is important to


highlight how inflation will undermine the purchasing power of the nominal allocations to the
programme (or programmes).

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The presentation of data in Table 10 below makes it easy to compare the real
growth rates in allocations to the POS programme with the nominal growth
rates. It shows that the increases in the amounts of money allocated to the
programme over these years translate into very small real increases in
purchasing power.

Table 10: Nominal and real year-on-year and annual average growth rates in budget
allocations to the primary ordinary schools programme in South Africa, 2002/03-
2004/05
Percentage 2002/03-2003/04 2003/04-2004/05 Annual average,
2002/03 - 2004/05

Nominal 7.4 4.9 6.1

Real 0.8 0.1 0.45

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Chapter eight:
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Part 3: Basic andaimed
methods for budget analysis service provision
at advancing childs rights in child rights programmes

8.1 Analysing budget implementation


Budget allocations to child rights programmes only have advantage for children if they are spent on
delivering services that give effect to their rights. In many countries (particularly developing
countries), the funds allocated for spending on child rights programmes are not always spent on
delivering the intended services to children. This may happen because:

• the funds are channelled off into another priority area (or into someone’s pocket) instead of
being transferred to the child rights programme; or

• the allocated funds reach their programme destination, but instead of all the funds being spent
on the production of services in the programme, some are simply wasted.

Against this background, two useful questions to ask in a child budget study are:

• Have the funds allocated to the child rights programmes found their way to their programme
destination?

• What proportion of budget allocations are spent by the programme?

To address the first question, it is best to speak to officials responsible for the implementation of the
programme in question. They should be able to tell you whether allocated funds are in effect being
transferred for programme implementation.

Answering the second question calls for data on actual expenditure in the programme being
analysed. The data on actual expenditure can then be compared to the budget allocation data, in
order to calculate the percentage of allocated funds spent in different years.

To access data on actual expenditure in a child rights programme, the first place to look is in the
budget documents (the same place you would look for data on the budget allocation to the
programme). Most countries’ budget documents record data on allocations and estimated actual
expenditure for previous years at the departmental, programme and sub-programme level. If the
budget documents do not supply this information, a second option is to contact the government

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officials responsible for implementing the programme. They may have access to actual expenditure
figures for the years you are interested in.

The formula used to calculate the percentage of the allocation to programme


spent is:

Percentage of programme budget allocation spent = Actual expenditure in the


programme / budget allocation to the programme X 100.

Calculating the percentage of budget allocations spent on the CSG programme in South Africa

Table 11 uses budget allocations and actual expenditure data in the Child Support Grant programme
in South Africa during the financial year 2001/02.

Table 11: Percentage of CSG programme budget allocations in South Africa spent in 2001/02

R’000 Budget allocation Actual expenditure Calculation % of budget spent


Western Cape 75 276 126 622 (126622 / 75276) X 100 168%
Eastern Cape 261 306 287 498 (287498 / 261306) X 100 110%
Northern Cape 31 416 36 228 (36228 / 31416) X 100 115%
Free State 78 132 105 166 (105166 / 78132) X 100 135%
KwaZulu Natal 345 982 656 975 (656975 / 345982) X 100 190%
North West 105 771 189 087 (189087 / 105771) X 100 170%
Gauteng 190 512 220 378 (220378 / 190512) X 100 116%
Mpumalanga 147 757 161 953 (161953 / 147757) X 100 110%
Limpopo 271 710 239 470 (239470 / 271710) X 100 88%
All provinces 1 507 863 2 023 379 134%
Source: Data supplied by officials in provincial social development departments except for in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal where the data was
accessed from the provincial budget documents.

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8.2 Analysing expansion in access to services


For government to fulfil its child rights obligations, budget allocations and spending in child rights
programmes must be such that services are rolled out rapidly and in a non-discriminatory way to all
children in need. So when you monitor government’s budgeting for children, it is important to
review whether there has been, in practice, an expansion in access to services in child rights
programmes.

It is not always easy or possible to undertake a comprehensive analysis of the way access to services
provided by a particular child rights programme has either expanded or not. It involves gathering
and presenting data that shows the following:

• The trend in expansion in access to services (at the national level, regional and intra-regional
level) over time, relative to the number of children needing the services;

• Gender and racial or ethnic variations in access to services; and

• Whether any particular categories of children (and particularly vulnerable children such as
children without parents, street children, very poor children and children with disabilities) are
being marginalised in the roll-out of services.

Establishing the extent of progress (nationally, regionally and intra-regionally) in


access to services

The most common method for shedding light on changes and variations in
access to services, is to use ‘access to services indicators’ and data that shows
how the indicator varies across time and geographical space. The best
indicators are those that express services rendered as a percentage of children
that are estimated to be in need of gaining access to the service produced by the
programme.
So for example, to study changes in access to the Public Ordinary Schooling
(POS) programme in South Africa, a good indicator to use would be the primary
school enrolment rate. This expresses the number of children enrolled in
primary school as a proportion of children of school-going age.

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Chapter 8: Analysing budget implementation and ser vice provision in child rights programmes

To illustrate how access to basic education has changed over time using this
indicator, it would be necessary to gather data on the primary school enrolment
rate for the entire country and for each year of the period that you are studying.
To illustrate the regional trend in access, you would need to gather data on the
primary school enrolment rate in different regions for the different years. And
finally, to illustrate differences in access within particular regions (intra-
regional differences in access), you would need to gather data on primary school
enrolment rates for different parts of particular regions. It is often very
difficult to gather this latter kind of data.

Analysing progress in access to the CSG programme in South Africa

The Child Support Grant (CSG) programme is the primary government programme
aimed at realising the child’s right to social assistance in South Africa. So a good
indicator of the trend in access to this programme is the take-up rate of the CSG.
The take-up rate reflects the number of children receiving the CSG as a percentage
of the total number of children eligible for a social grant in each province. To
illustrate how such an indicator can be used, Table 12 below provides data on the
national and provincial take-up rate for the child support grant in South Africa
over the period March 1999-May 2002. For each date, the table shows how the
take-up rate differs depending on the estimates that have been used for the total
number of children eligible for the grant.

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Table 12: Take-up rates for the CSG based on official eligibility estimates and the Finance and
Fiscal Commission’s estimates of eligibility (March 1999 to May 2002)

Per cent March 1999 March 2000 July 2001 March 2001 May 2002
Official FFC Official FFC Official FFC Official FFC Official FFC
Eastern Cape 0.7 0.6 7 7 21 20 32 31 36 34
Free State 0.5 0.7 5 6 10 29 32 43 36 48
Gauteng 2.0 0.5 53 13 152 37 206 50 233 56
KwaZulu-Natal 1.3 0.9 11 8 49 34 72 50 85 59
Limpopo 0.3 0.3 9 7 27 21 43 33 50 38
Mpumalanga 0.3 0.2 13 9 45 31 59 40 64 43
North West 0.5 0.4 10 9 32 32 47 46 51 49
Northern Cape 7.5 1.7 43 10 72 17 104 24 118 28
Western Cape 3.9 1.9 12 6 76 37 146 71 173 85
Total 0.9 0.6 10 8 37 30 55 41 63 47
Source: Streak, J. and Wehner, J. 2002:21-22.

In most countries, efforts to monitor the expansion of access to services in child rights programmes
are plagued by an absence of data, or the availability of only old data. In the face of this problem,
the best possible indicators and data should be used to paint as good a picture of roll-out of services
to children as possible.

In addition to showing progress in the roll-out of services in a child rights programme relative to
need for that service, it can also be useful to look back to government’s original plan for the
programme. Is the rate slower or faster than the promised rate (at a regional and national level)?

Once you have illustrated the trend in expansion in access and its regional dimensions, you have an
opportunity to highlight what the indicator says about the number of children that are still without
access to the service in question and how they are distributed across the country. Such information
can be used to advocate for increased budget allocations and/or other initiatives (such as investing in
administrative capacity in the programme and access infrastructure). It can also be useful for
government’s own planning for the extension of service delivery.

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Chapter 8: Analysing budget implementation and ser vice provision in child rights programmes

Shedding light on gender, racial or ethnic discrimination in access to services

There are two methods that can help you to conduct this aspect of the analysis:
• First, it may in some cases be possible to access additional data to support the
indicator you already used to show how access to services varied across time
and geographical area. For example, to illustrate the gender dimension of access
to services of the public ordinary school programme, you could (if data permits)
compare the primary school enrolment rates for girls as opposed to boys, and
for different racial or ethnic categories.
• Second, you could conduct interviews with service providers (government
officials working in the programme) and users (children and their caregivers).

Finding out whether particularly vulnerable children have access to services

Particularly vulnerable children may be defined as those that are orphaned or


living on the streets, those with disabilities and the poorest of the poor (including
children living in remote rural areas). It is often very difficult to piece together a
picture of the extent to which these vulnerable categories of children are
discriminated against in access to services targeted at delivering child rights.
Information on the beneficiaries of child rights programmes is usually not recorded
in such a way that you can readily identify what proportion of children have
disabilities, fall into particularly poor households, or have no caregivers. There is
also usually no reliable information on the number of children in these categories
that need the services in question. Such data would allow you to calculate the
percentage of the children in each category of particularly vulnerable children
that is accessing the services produced by the programmes you are analysing.

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In the absence of such data, you may consider conducting interviews with service
providers, children and people working in poor communities who have knowledge
of the experiences of these categories of children. For example, interviews with
children and service providers in South Africa have been useful in highlighting
how children that live in remote rural areas, those from desperately poor households,
those that have disabilities or have no parents, are discriminated against in services
provided by child rights programmes. More specifically, these vulnerable categories
of children often find it difficult to access the services of education programmes,
social assistance programmes and the programme aimed at realising the child’s
right to be registered at birth (ACESS, 2002). This approach can help you to
gather anecdotal evidence on discrimination in access to services. However, it will
not reveal a conclusive picture of the extent of the problem or how it has been
increasing (or decreasing) over time.

8.3 Uncovering service delivery problems


The section above provided some guidelines for researching if and to what extent services aimed to
give effect to child rights, are failing to reach all children (particularly vulnerable categories). In a
child budget study, it is equally important to try and establish exactly why the roll-out of such
services is being constrained. A simple (though very time intensive) method of shedding light on
service delivery problems is to conduct interviews with government officials (who either work in the
programme or have a good knowledge about its implementation), as well as with children and their
care-givers in poor communities.

Such interviews can be structured in a way that allows you to establish the following:

• What role do financial1 and non-financial constraints play in containing the pace at which
services from the programme can be delivered to all children who need them?

1
The easiest way to explore whether insufficient budgets services, in order to calculate what it would cost
are containing the roll-out of a programme is to speak to government to deliver services to give effect to the right in
service providers. A more rigorous, yet very difficult question for all children. This cost can then be compared
method involves using data on the number of children in with the size of the amount actually allocated to the
92 need of the services of the programme and the cost of programme.
Chapter 8: Analysing budget implementation and ser vice provision in child rights programmes

• What are the different non-financial constraints? For example:

Are high transport and other costs a major stumbling block in accessing services
(particularly for children in very poor and remote rural areas)?

Has public awareness of the programme been marketed effectively by government?

If the programme requires inter-departmental initiatives and collaboration, are there


problems in this area?

Is there lack of commitment and capacity by government officials responsible for


implementing the programme?

Do parents play a crucial role in accessing services, thereby excluding children without
parents from effective access?

Is the main factor explaining lack of universal access to the programme the design of the
programme - are all children not eligible for the services of the programme?

Against this background, a next step is to use the information you have gathered from interviews to
propose what type of initiatives government (perhaps with the help of finance from the international
community) can engage in to ensure it meets its obligation to deliver the right in question to all
children, quickly, in the future.

8.4 Examining government plans to improve budget


implementation and service delivery
The child rights legal framework acknowledges that governments cannot set up, finance and
effectively implement programmes to give effect to child rights overnight. Governments are given
time and space to build their financial and non-financial capacity to deliver the necessary
programmes and change their budget priorities. However, that being so, it is not appropriate for
governments to use limited resources as a perpetual excuse for non-delivery. Governments are
obliged to have plans in place that make it clear how they envisage shifting and building resources

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so that in future, they will be able to implement effective programmes to deliver all children their
rights.

So when you monitor government’s budgeting for children, it is worthwhile to investigate whether
government has a future plan for the delivery of each programme and right. You could also make
some suggestions about whether government’s plan seems adequate in light of the nature of the
service delivery problems in the programme, the available resources and the need for services.

Speak to the relevant government officials and consult the relevant department’s documentation to
establish what future plans are in place to give effect to the child right you are studying. In assessing
the plans in question, the following pointers may direct your inquiry:

• Does the plan cover all the factors uncovered in the analysis as obstacles to universal access to
the programme’s services and the universal realisation of the child right?

• Does the plan look towards making all children eligible for programmes that deliver services to
give effect to the right in future? And, if not, you might argue that this is inadequate, given the
obligation on government to put in place and finance programmes to deliver the right to all
children. You might also note the amounts allocated to other priorities in the budget (such as
defence).

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RESOURCE LIST FOR CHAPTERS 6 - 8


Ablo, E and Reinikka, R. 1998. Do Budgets Really Matter? Evidence from Public
Spending on Education and Health in Uganda. World Bank Policy Research
Paper no 1926.

Cassiem, S and Streak, J. 2001. Budgeting for child socio-economic rights:


Government obligations and the child’s right to social security and education.
Cape Town: Idasa.

Catro-Leal, F, Dayton, J, Demery, L, and Mehra, K. 1998. ‘Public Spending in


Africa: Do the Poor Benefit?’, in World Bank Research Observer. Vol 14, no 1,
February, pp 49 - 72.

Creamer, K. 2002. The Impact of South Africa’s Evolving Jurisprudence on


Children’s Socio-Economic Rights on Budget Analysis. Cape Town: Idasa.

Hofbauer, H and Lara, G. 2002. Health Care: A Question of Human Rights, Not
Charity. Paper presented at the Exploratory Dialogue on Applied Budget Analysis
as a Tool for the Advancement of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.
Cuernavaca, Mexico, January 23 – 26.

Khumalo, B and Wright, A. 1997. ‘Re-assessing public expenditure priorities: the


case of education in South Africa’, in Development Southern Africa. Vol 14, no 2,
pp 155 – 168.

Streak, J and Wehner, J. 2002. Budgeting for socio-economic rights in South


Africa: The case of the child support grant programme. Written for the Applied
Fiscal Research Centre (AFReC) at the University of Cape Town. Available from
judith@idasact.org.za

Van de Walle, D. 1998. ‘Assessing the Welfare Impacts of Public Spending’, in


World Development. Vol 16, no 3, pp 365 – 379.

Wildeman, R. 2002. ‘Reviewing Provincial Budgets 2002’, in Budget Brief. No


102. Available on http://www.idasa.org.za/bis/

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Chapter 9: Developing an effective dissemination strategy

Part 4
Information dissemination

This part of the guide looks at ways to package and disseminate


the research findings of a child budget study. This part of the
guide deals with the conceptualisation phase of the research
process.

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Part 4: Information dissemination

This guide has a specific focus on


how to use budget analysis as a
tool for advancing child rights.
Such advances can only be made
if the information generated by
child budget research is taken up
and used by role-players in the
child rights arena and in
government. No matter how well-
planned and well-executed, a
child budget study can do little
on its own to bring about real
changes for children. Information
dissemination is thus a cr ucial
part of any child budget
initiative that aims to advance
child rights.

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Chapter nine:
Developing an effective
Chapter 9:dissemination strategy
Developing an effective dissemination strategy

9.1 Why an effective information dissemination


strategy is important
A child budget research study will only perform effectively as a child rights advancement tool - and
have an impact on children - if it draws out a constructive response from government. The study
would have had a desired impact if, more specifically, government responds to it by reforming laws,
changing and developing programmes, adapting its budgeting and dealing with problems in the
implementation of child rights programmes in a way that facilitates greater fulfilment of its child
rights obligations and promotes child rights. This type of response is most likely to be nurtured:

• If child rights advocates, parliamentarians and other relevant child rights interest groups, such
as the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, have access to the research
findings and use them to criticise government for not fulfilling its obligations and highlight
where reforms are needed; and

• If government officials read and use the relevant research findings to improve planning,
programme development, budgeting, recording of budget data and programme
implementation.

This highlights the crucial need for a good information dissemination strategy to be built into the
research activities of a child budget study that aims to advance child rights. It also draws attention to
the following key target groups for information dissemination:

• Government officials (including policy makers, people responsible for budgeting and
service delivery in the child rights programmes dealt with in the study, and people that have
influence over the resource allocation processes of government’s annual budgeting).

• Parliamentarians (particularly those that sit on committees responsible for monitoring


government’s performance in the service delivery areas dealt with in the study).

• Child rights advocates (particularly those campaigning for one or more of the rights
analysed in the research).

• Members of the United Nation’s Committee on the Rights of the Child.

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In addition to targeting the four categories of people listed above, research findings can also be
disseminated widely - in accessible formats - within the public domain and to children. Researchers
and research organisations working in the areas of child poverty, children and human rights, are also
likely to have an interest in your findings.

9.2 Different ways of packaging and disseminating


information
There are a variety of different methods to use for disseminating the research results of a budget
study from a child rights perspective to your target audience. While one method may work well to
spread information in a comprehensive and accessible way to one particular segment of the target
audience, it may not necessarily be effective for reaching all of the segments.

The most common and effective information packaging and dissemination methods for
disseminating this type of research can be classified into three main categories:

• Printed and electronic media;

• Radio and television; and

• Workshops, conferences and presentations in formal or informal meetings.

USING PRINT AND ELECTRONIC MEDIA

Developing and disseminating a children’s budget book and popular version


You may choose to write up the results of the research study in book form and to market the book
(for example, through a book launch and electronic media) to the target audience. When you use
electronic media, it is useful to disseminate the book to network groups. These may include, for
instance, networks of child rights advocates in your country, the Childrens Rights Network (CRIN)
and DRUM BEAT, which is an international development network.

The advantage of this method is that it makes it easy for people interested in the research study to

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gain comprehensive information on the findings of the research, as well as insight into how they
were generated. The primary disadvantage of this method is that it takes some time for readers to
digest the contents of an entire book. This may undermine the extent to which the results of the
research are read and used. Another is that the style of writing and argument in a book may be too
academic for some segments of the target audience. To address these limitations, you might
consider also releasing a shorter, simpler ‘popular version’ of the book.

Writing and distributing short papers that highlight key research findings
Another option is to disseminate the key findings of your research by writing and distributing short
papers. For example, the CBU usually packages its large annual or biannual research studies that
monitor government’s budgeting for children in the form of books (and popular versions thereof).
However in addition to this, the CBU writes and distributes short papers - called budget briefs and
child poverty monitors – summarising the main findings of the research put forward in the book.
These short papers are made available in hardcopy and electronic form.

Newspaper articles
Writing newspaper articles can be very effective in spreading information on government’s
obligations to budget for child rights, the child poverty situation and the extent to which
government is fulfilling its obligations. Newspaper articles cannot be too lengthy. This medium is
particularly useful to communicate key findings, especially if well-timed, to a large number of
people.

USING RADIO AND TELEVISION


Like newspaper articles, using radio (particularly community radio) and television interviews can
be very effective in reaching a large audience. However, there is a disadvantage to this method. Even
more so than in the case of newspaper articles, there will be a limit to how much of the research
findings can effectively be disseminated to the audience in any radio interview. A solution to this
problem may be to try and schedule a number of radio interviews, focusing on different aspects of
the research.

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USING WORKSHOPS, CONFERENCES AND PRESENTATIONS


IN INFORMAL MEETINGS
Workshops, presentations at conferences and in informal meetings can work extremely well to reach
child rights advocacy organisations, members of parliament and government officials. Some of the
advantages of this method are as follows:

• Events such as workshops, conferences and meetings usually involve a smaller number of
people in a setting where you are able to select, explain and discuss your research findings. This
makes it easy to concentrate on disseminating key findings from the research that are
particularly important to support advocacy work or put forth to inform government planning.

For example, if you know who will attend the event from the child rights advocacy sector, you
can identify and concentrate on any findings that are particularly relevant to a child rights
advocacy campaign that is currently being planned or run. Or your research may have generated
information on types of problems undermining the spending of funds allocated to a child social
assistance programme. In this instance, a meeting with a group of government officials
responsible for the policy and implementation of the programme will create an appropriate
forum to highlight key points and explain your findings in a way that is conducive to problem-
solving.

• A workshop environment that includes representatives from advocacy organisations, parliament


and government can facilitate constructive dialogue. Such dialogue may lead to valuable
insights and consensus-formation on what should and can be done for government to better
fulfil its child rights obligations and child rights to be delivered more quickly.

• Person-to-person contact with the primary target audience (parliamentarians, government


officials and child rights advocates) in order to share the research results is useful in helping to
establish the future research agenda for a child budget monitoring project.

9.3 The value of careful timing


When developing a strategy to package and disseminate your research findings, it is important to
pay particular attention to the timing of research dissemination. Information on government’s
budgeting for children can date very quickly. So on the one hand, it is not wise to wait too long to

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Chapter 9: Developing an effective dissemination strategy

disseminate your findings after the research has been completed. On the other hand though, you
may want to time the release of your research findings to make sure they have maximum impact.
The questions and examples below may help you to plan the most effective time to disseminate your
research to different segments of your target audience.

When will the target audience be most in need of information on government’s


performance in budgeting for different child rights and/or on the child
poverty situation?
Try to identify when your research findings will be most useful to the target audience, and what kind
of information they will need. For example:

• The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child will be interested in research
findings on the budget allocations and other measures government has taken (and plans to take)
to implement its child rights obligations when it is set to review this performance. This takes
place every five years.

• Parliamentarians will be most interested in this type of information in the second stage of the
budget cycle. This is when the budget plan may be debated, altered, and approved by the
legislative branch of government.

• Government policy makers will be particularly interested in information on government’s


performance in budgeting for and implementing programmes to deliver a particular right when
they are planning to redesign programmes and budget allocations for the right.

Are there any days of the year that are special days for human rights and/or
children’s issues?
On such days, the media will be eager to give room to research findings on the child poverty
situation and on government’s budgeting for child rights. For example:

• A good day to distribute research findings on government programmes and budget allocations
for child rights is on the day after the Budget has been tabled in parliament.

• It may also be useful to time the release of some of your research findings to coincide with
international children’s day, or a national equivalent.

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RESOURCE LIST FOR CHAPTER 9


Mati, S. 2002. ‘Dissemination strategies’ in the CBU’s Child Budget Analysis
Training Manual. Cape Town: Idasa.

REFERENCES
ACESS. 2002. Children Speak Out on Poverty: Report on the ACESS Child Participation
Process. Johannesburg: Soul City.
HICKEY, A & STREAK, J. 2001. ‘Child Poverty in South Africa – How bad is it? in Budget
Brief. Cape Town: Idasa Budget Information Services. Available on the Idasa Budget
Information Service Website: http://www.idasa.org.za/bis/

LIEBENBERG, S & PILLAY, K. 2000. Socio-economic rights in South Africa – A Resource


Book. Cape Town: Community Law Centre of the University of the Western Cape.
NATIONAL TREASURY. 2002. Budget Review. Pretoria: Government Printer.

NATIONAL TREASURY. 2002. Medium Term Budget Policy Statement. Pretoria: Government
Printer.
SCHICK, A. 1998. A Contemporary Approach to Public Expenditure Management, Washington
D. C: World Bank Institute.

SHAPIRO, I. 2002. A Guide to Budget Work for NGOs. Washington: The International Budget
Project.
SHULTZ, J. 2002. Promises to Keep - Using Public Budgets as a Tool to Advance Economic,
Social and Cultural Rights: A Conference Report. Mexico City: Ford Foundation and
Fundar.

STREAK, J & WEHNER, J. 2002. Budgeting for socio-economic rights in South Africa: The
case of the child support grant programme. Written for the Applied Fiscal Research Centre
(AFReC) at the University of Cape Town. Available from judith@idasact.org.za

UNITED NATIONS. 1989. Convention on the Rights of the Child. Available from the internet at
http://www.unicef.org/crc/crc.htm
VAN BUEREN, G. 1999. ‘Alleviating Poverty through the Constitutional Court’, in South
African Journal of Human Rights. Vol 15, pp 52-74.
WILDEMAN, R. 2002. ‘Reviewing Provincial Budgets 2002’, in Budget Brief. No 102.
Available on the Idasa Budget Information Service Website: http://www.idasa.org.za/bis/
WORLD BANK. 1990. World Development Report: The State in a Changing World. New York:
Oxford University Press.

WORLD BANK. 2001. World Development Report 2000/01: Attacking Poverty. New York:
Oxford University Press. Or, online at http://www.worldbank.org/poverty/wdrpoverty
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Appendix 1
Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

Examples of CBU research studies aimed at


advancing child rights in South Africa
This appendix presents three examples of CBU research studies. All three studies monitor the
South African government’s performance in designing programmes, allocating budgets and
implementing programmes aimed at promoting child rights. The examples are united by the
common objective of generating information that can be used as a tool to advance child rights.
However, the studies also differ in some important respects. They either focus on different child
rights and/or give varying weight to exploring government’s programming conceptualisation,
budget allocation and programme implementation measures.

The first example is the CBU’s 2003 study on government’s budgeting in relation to four of the five
socio-economic rights given only or primarily to children in the South African Constitution. These
are the child’s right to basic education, to social services, basic health services and basic nutrition.
The study gives equal attention to government’s programme design, budget allocations and
programme implementation in relation to each right. It also provides updated information on
government’s obligations to take measures to deliver child socio-economic rights and on the child
poverty situation in South Africa.

The second and third examples are concerned with government’s actions to protect the well-being
of children who have been sexually or physically abused and come into contact with the criminal
justice system. One of these, completed in 2002, examines the Sexual Offences Court (SOC)
Programme, put in place by government in 1993. The study did aim to shed light on budget
allocations to the SOC programme. However, its main focus was on highlighting problems that
need to be addressed in order to improve the effectiveness of these courts in protecting child victims.
The third study investigates the implementation of the Protocol for Child Abuse and Neglect, a set
of guidelines for different role-players to improve the care of child victims as they go through the
criminal justice system. This study focuses on programme implementation rather than on budget
allocations and programme design in relation to child rights obligations.

The summaries in this appendix provide an overview of the research aims, research questions and
research methods of each study. The diverse examples illustrate that there are many different kinds
of research studies that can be classified as projects monitoring budgets for children to advance

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child rights. It is clear that child rights are inter-dependent: the realisation (or non-realisation) of
one right impacts on others and vice versa. It is also evident that governments’ interventions –
through planning, budgeting and programme implementation – all affect the extent to which child
rights are brought to fruition. So it would be desirable – in an ideal world – to analyse government’s
programme design, budget allocations and programme implementation for all child rights in every
study. However, resource and capacity constraints often mean that this is simply not possible. The
examples given in this section of the guide show how some research teams may choose to focus on
one right and programme and to emphasise programme implementation in the analysis. Other
studies may try to shed light on government programme design, budget allocations and programme
implementation for a range of different rights.

EXAMPLE 1

Study on government’s programme and budget measures aimed at


giving effect to child socio-economic rights in South Africa
Prepared by Judith Streak

In 2002 the CBU began preparing for a research study on the measures government has put in place
to deliver four of the five rights that are given only or primarily to children in the South African
Constitution. The focus of the study is on programme conceptualisation and implementation
(including budget allocations and spending). The Constitution gives children five basic socio-
economic rights in section 28(1c) and 29(1a):

• Section 28(1)(c) says that every child has the right ‘to basic nutrition, shelter, basic health care
services and social services’

• Section 29(1)(a) states that everyone has the right ‘to a basic education’.

The research study monitors government’s programming and budgeting measures to give effect to
these rights, with the exception of the right to shelter.

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Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

The aims of the research study


The dual purpose of the study is:

• to generate information – in the light of the child poverty situation and government’s
constitutional obligations to advance child rights – about the programmes government has put
in place to give effect to the rights outlined above, with reference to both programme design and
implementation (including budget allocations); and

• to ensure that the information generated by the research provides a tool to advance child socio-
economic rights.

The study does not set out to assess whether government has actually been fulfilling its
constitutional obligations (which is the task of the Constitutional Court). However, the information
it generates helps to shed light on where it appears as if programme design, budget allocations and
programme implementation are incongruent with the obligations on government to deliver the
rights.

The second objective of the study highlights that an effective dissemination strategy is crucial to the
success of the project. After the research has been completed, the CBU plans to publish its findings
in a book format and to disseminate its findings broadly in the public domain through newspaper
articles, electronic media and radio interviews. The research results will also be communicated to a
more specific target audience through workshops and direct correspondence. This audience will
include policy makers, government officials (involved in implementing programmes, designing
child policies or allocating public resources), non-governmental organisations advocating for child
socio-economic rights and parliamentarians.

The study aims to impact positively on child socio-economic rights by:

• providing policy makers and government officials with information that they will find useful for
improving the design and implementation of programmes aimed at giving effect to child socio-
economic rights; and

• providing information to advocacy organisations and parliamentarians that will add legitimacy

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Appendix 1

and weight to calls for better implementation and extension of programmes to realise child
socio-economic rights.

The potential of the study to impact on the advancement of child rights ultimately depends on the
extent to which the information it generates can successfully prompt government into improving its
programme design and implementation (including budget allocations and spending) for child
rights.

The framework underpinning the study


The obligations on the state to budget for and deliver the socio-economic rights given only or
primarily to children in the Constitution were used as a benchmark to design the research scope and
questions for this study. Crucially however, the study’s monitoring approach was not only informed
by the legal obligations on the state. Consideration was also given to the following questions:

• What information on government’s budgeting and programming for child socio-economic


rights will government officials, parliamentarians, child rights advocacy organisations and the
UN Committee on the Rights of the Child find useful?

• What is the role of the market in delivering child socio-economic rights?

• How can information from children be used to shed light on government’s measures to deliver
child rights?

• What time and capacity constraints impact on the scope of the study?

Looking at the socio-economic rights given to children in sections 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a) of the
Constitution, it is difficult to establish exactly what obligations these place on government in terms
of designing and implementing programmes that give effect to children’s socio-economic rights.
Even though the Constitutional Court has heard a number of cases relating to government’s
fulfilment of its socio-economic rights obligations, it has thus far not taken a decision based on the
socio-economic rights given in sections 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a). Pending Constitutional Court
clarification, our understanding of the state’s obligations is based on the opinion of legal experts –

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Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

who themselves do not agree on all aspects of the question. The interpretation of the state’s
obligations applied in this study should thus be understood as a provisional and tentative one. This
interpretation is informed by the dominant view emerging from expert opinion, and is summarised
in Box A (which appears at the end of this example).

Research areas
The research covers the following three focus areas:

• Child socio-economic rights and state obligations in the Constitution (focusing on the rights
given in sections 28 and 29), how government is responding to these obligations and how
government’s programming and budgeting response can be monitored.

• Child income poverty in South Africa, children’s experiences of government’s programming


and budgeting measures to deliver their basic socio-economic rights and examples of the non-
realisation of child-specific socio-economic rights.

• Government’s programme design and programme implementation (including budget


allocations and service delivery) for the child socio-economic rights given in sections 28 (1)(c)
and 29(1)(a) of the Constitution.

The main vehicle for recording the research findings is a book, which is structured in the following way:

• A chapter that:

gives a broad overview of child rights and state obligations to deliver them, focusing on the
rights given specifically to children in sections 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a);

describes the development strategy government has adopted to deliver these rights; and

derives a framework for monitoring government programming and budgeting measures to


realise the socio-economic rights given to children in sections 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a). .

• A chapter that provides information on the extent and regional distribution of income child poverty and
draws on children’s own views about the non-realisation of child socio-economic rights.

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• A chapter that analyses government’s programme design, budget allocations and programme
implementation for the child’s right to basic nutrition.

• A chapter that analyses government’s programme design, budget allocations and programme
implementation for the child’s right to basic health services.

• A chapter that analyses government’s programme design, budget allocations and programme
implementation for the child’s right to social services.1

• A chapter that analyses government’s programme design, budget allocations and programme
implementation for the child’s right to basic education.

• A chapter that concludes the study by pulling together all the findings on government’s
programming and budget allocations for the child’s basic socio-economic rights and makes
recommendations.

The research questions and methods of the study (by focus area)

Research area 1: Child socio-economic rights and state obligations in the


Constitution, government’s response and a monitoring framework
The first part of the research addresses the following three sets of research questions:

• What child socio-economic rights and corresponding state obligations are contained in the
Constitution, particularly the rights and obligations relating to sections 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a)?

• What development strategy has government adopted in response to its obligations to deliver
child socio-economic rights, and what has been the outcome?

• Based on an understanding of the above, what useful, rigorous and practical set of research
questions can be asked to monitor government’s programming, budgeting and service delivery
for child socio-economic rights?

Many secondary sources are used for this section of the research. It draws heavily from the expert

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1 In the analysis of government’s measures to give effect out by Liebenberg (personal correspondence), whether
to this right, it is assumed that the right includes the or not the right to social services given in section
right to social assistance and focuses on programmes to 28(1)(c) includes social assistance has not been
give effect to the latter. However, as has been pointed clarified.
Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

legal and economic opinion provided in Creamer’s (2002) study, The impact of South Africa’s evolving
jurisprudence on children’s socio-economic rights on budget analysis, as well as from government policy and
programme documents. Information on government’s response also derives from interviews with
government officials who have knowledge of the over-arching development strategy and
government’s interventions for child rights delivery.

Research area 2: The child poverty situation and children’s views about the
provision of services and government priorities
The second part of the research addresses the following questions:

• What is the child poverty situation – as indicated by absolute income measures of child poverty
– in South Africa’s nine provinces?

• What are poor children’s experiences of government’s programming and budget initiatives to
fulfil their basic socio-economic rights and what do poor children think government should
prioritise in its spending?

To address the first question, the study uses measurements of child poverty rates and provincial child
poverty shares based on Woolard’s analysis of Statistics South Africa’s 1999 October Household
Survey (OHS) data and 2000 Income and Expenditure Household data.

Focus groups with children are used to address the questions relating to children’s experiences of
their socio-economic rights and government’s interventions that aim to realise these rights. The
focus group workshops include children that are particularly vulnerable and hence represent those
that the state is obliged to prioritise in budgeting for and delivering basic socio-economic rights.
The four focus groups chosen to inform the study are:

• A group of children living in a very poor and rural district , Msinga in KwaZulu-Natal;

• A group of children living on the streets in Cape Town;

• A group of children whose parents are working on farms outside Cape Town; and

• A group of children who have been orphaned and live in KwaZulu-Natal.

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Appendix 1

Research area 3: Government’s programme design and implementation to give


effect to section 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a) rights
As indicated above, there are four chapters in the study monitoring government’s child socio-
economic rights measures. Each covers a different socio-economic right given only or primarily to
children in the Constitution. The broad monitoring approach adopted in each chapter follows the
three-step logical sequence suggested by Creamer (2002:21) in the light of the evolving
jurisprudence on socio-economic rights:

• First, develop an understanding of children’s socio-economic rights as these are constitutionally


prescribed goals of government policy.

• Second, identify which government programmes are being used as instruments for the
achievement of these goals.

• Third, analyse whether these programmes reasonably meet government’s constitutional


obligations to realise children’s socio-economic rights.

More specifically, each chapter pursues this sequence by applying the following steps:

• Step 1:
1 Investigation into the meaning and scope of the right;

• Step 2:
2 Identification and description of the key programmes in place to advance this right,
focusing on the services the programme aims to provide, the beneficiaries it aims to reach and
government’s time-schedule for rolling out services;

• Step 3:
3 Enquiry into the sufficiency of some of the key programmes relevant to the right in
question, by asking and answering the following questions about programme conceptualisation
and implementation:

Is the conceptualisation of the programme such that all children in need are targeted
beneficiaries, the most vulnerable children are specifically targeted and services are to be
rolled out as quickly as administrative capacity is able to facilitate?

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Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

How much has government budgeted for the programme (annually) since programme
inception and what are the budgeted and estimated allocations for the MTEF period 2003/
04 to 2005/06?

What percentage of total expenditure budgeted for in the budget has flowed to the
programme on a yearly basis since programme inception and over the MTEF period 2003/
04 to 2005/06?

Have funds allocated to the programme been spent or has there been wastage in the
programme due to non-spending of budgets?

Is programme implementation such that services are being rolled out as quickly as possible
to all children in need, particularly those whose needs are most urgent?

If programme conceptualisation or implementation is such that delivery of services is slow


and all children are not being catered for (particularly those whose needs are most urgent),
what are the problems (financial and non-financial) that are producing this outcome?

What is government doing to overcome these problems and what recommendations should
be made about how it should adjust its planned measures?

Box A: The South African government’s obligations to deliver constitutional socio-


economic rights, particularly those given only or primarily to children

The South African Constitution gives everyone a comprehensive set of socio-economic


rights relating to housing, health care, food, water, social security (including social
assistance) and education (basic and further). Section 28 is dedicated to child rights and
includes four socio-economic rights under section 28(1)(c): basic nutrition, shelter, basic
health care services and social services. Children are also the principle beneficiaries of
another socio-economic right given in section 29(1)(a) in the Constitution, namely the right
to basic education. The Constitution does not specify the exact content of each of these
rights, such as a minimum core to be provided.

These rights are coupled with particular obligations imposed on the state. In Section 7(2),

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Appendix 1

Box A: The South African government’s obligations to deliver constitutional socio-


economic rights, particularly those given only or primarily to children (continued)

the Constitution obliges the state to “respect, protect, promote and fulfil” constitutional
rights. The obligations on the state to deliver the socio-economic rights of children in
section 28, and the right of everyone to basic education in section 29, are unqualified.
There are internal limitations attached to all other socio-economic rights. For instance,
everyone’s right of access to health care, food, water and social security in section 27 is
combined with the obligation that “the state must take reasonable legislative and other
measures, within its available resources, to achieve the progressive realisation of each of
these rights”. In meeting these obligations, the government is bound by the equality
clause in section 9 of the Constitution, which prohibits discrimination in terms of race,
gender, age, disability and other grounds.

The precise nature of the obligations on the state to deliver these rights is open to
interpretation. Moreover, this is a key area of constitutional interpretation that is evolving over
time through a process of dialogue in society, with the Constitutional Court playing a crucial
role. To date the Constitutional Court has focused on interpreting the scope and content of the
rights given to everyone in the Constitution, and not on those given only or specifically to
children in sections 28(1)(c) and 29(1)(a). Pending further clarity from the Constitutional
Court, the CBU commissioned a study to provide expert legal opinion on the emerging
interpretation of the state’s obligations to deliver socio-economic rights. The ensuing report by
Creamer (2002) is titled The impact of SA’s evolving jurisprudence on children’s socio-economic rights
on budget analysis. Read together with other research on the topic, the emerging interpretation of
government’s constitutional obligations to deliver socio-economic rights can be summarised as
follows.

• First, the Constitution does not prescribe how much of the budget must be set aside for
socio-economic rights programmes or what programmes must be used. However, it does
oblige government to put in place programmes to give effect to each of the socio-economic
rights in the Constitution and set aside a sustainable portion of its budget for these
programmes.

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Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

Box A: The South African government’s obligations to deliver constitutional socio-


economic rights, particularly those given only or primarily to children (continued)

• Second, the programmes have to comply with a set of requirements relating to programme
design and implementation. Moreover, to review whether a programme complies with the
constitutional requirements, the focus in a court of law will be on its ‘reasonableness’.
Budlender and Creamer (2002) summarise the test of reasonableness emerging from
jurisprudence as follows:

The programme must be reasonable both in its conception and in its implementation;

It must be balanced and flexible;

It must make appropriate provision for attention to crises, and to short-, medium- and
long-term needs;

It may not exclude a significant segment of society; and

It must not leave out of account the degree and extent to which a right has not yet been
realised. Those whose needs are most urgent must not be ignored.

• Third, the test of reasonableness includes a requirement for government to ensure that the
inter-governmental fiscal system generates programme budgets and administrative capacity
sufficient to properly implement socio-economic rights programmes once established. Due
to South Africa’s decentralised system, the national government is responsible for providing
funds to provincial and local governments from nationally collected revenue. These funds
should be sufficient to enable them, in turn, to set aside sufficient funds to implement socio-
economic rights programmes for which they have delivery responsibility. Therefore, the
responsibility to set aside sufficient public finance to implement socio-economic rights
programmes is shared between the relevant spheres of government.

• Fourth, the obligation on government includes the requirement that funding be distributed
to child socio-economic rights programmes, and that these programmes be designed and
implemented in a way that facilitates non-discrimination in access to services and reaching
the most vulnerable.

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Box A: The South African government’s obligations to deliver constitutional socio-


economic rights, particularly those given only or primarily to children (continued)

• Fifth, jurisprudence has thus far not elaborated much on the affordability constraint, and
how this gives government latitude in meeting its obligations to budget for socio-economic
rights. The Constitutional Court has merely indicated that the availability of resources
defines both the rate and content of the progressive realisation of a right. The
Constitutional Court has thus far not given any clear indication as to how it would asses the
availability of resources, in terms of the allocations to different spheres of government and
macro-economic policies defining the total available envelope.

• Sixth, the Constitution does not prescribe to government any particular rate for the roll-out
of services in socio-economic rights programmes. Nor does the ‘reasonable measures’ test
shed light on this. However, government is required to have a plan in this regard, including
a schedule that sets out the rate at which it plans to expand access over time. The obligation
to ‘progressively realise’ qualified socio-economic rights also obliges government, at the
very least, to expand and broaden access over time with an increasing number as well as a
wider range of people being reached as time progresses. Furthermore, any retrogressive
measures (such as cut backs in programmes delivering socio-economic rights) must be fully
justified by reference to the totality of socio-economic rights and changes to the envelope of
available resources or by putting substitute programmes in place.

• Seventh, legal experts suggest that the unqualified nature of the obligation on the state to
deliver the basic child socio-economic rights set out in s28(1)(c) and S29(1)(a), means that
it has a distinct and heightened level of obligation to deliver these as opposed to other socio-
economic rights (Creamer 2002:17). They propose that this heightened obligation can be
seen to confer a duty on the state to provide the services and goods that give effect to these
rights as a matter of ‘absolute priority’. Furthermore, the scope of the rights is such that the
state is obliged to absolutely prioritise delivering these rights to all children in need and not
only those without family care (Ibid). This heightened obligation to deliver basic child
socio-economic rights implies that the court would apply a higher standard of

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Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

reasonableness in assessing programmes for the advancement of the basic rights of children
(Creamer 2002:27). This would apply to both the speed and scope of the programmes designed
to deliver the basic rights of children in need.

• Finally, as noted in the Grootboom Constitutional Court case (2000), the Constitution
challenges government to build its capacity to deliver services through programmes to deliver
socio-economic rights where lack of capacity is undermining delivery of services to give effect
to these rights.

EXAMPLE 2

Assessment study on government’s Sexual Offences Court Programme


in South Africa
Prepared by Lulama Dikweni

In 2001 and 2003, the Children’s Budget Unit embarked on a pilot study to assess the extent to
which the Sexual Offences Court (SOC) Programme is working as planned to protect children who
go through the court system. The SOC programme is one of government’s initiatives to improve
the wellbeing of vulnerable children. It focuses on protecting child victims of sexual crime within
the criminal justice system.

The Sexual Offences Court Programme


The SOC programme was initiated by South Africa’s Department of Justice. However, its
establishment came in response to the outcry of women’s organisations advocating for better
treatment for rape victims (particularly children) within the criminal court system. Before the
implementation of the SOC programme, the court system was regarded as one that violated the
rights of the child. In order to improve the situation, the Department of Justice introduced
specialised sexual offences courts on a pilot basis at a limited number of magistrates’ courts.

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The primary objectives of the SOC programme are:

• to reduce the secondary trauma of the child victim of sexual crime in the criminal court justice
system; and

• to increase the reporting rate of sex crime by providing specialised services to sexually abused
children (and to witnesses).

Secondary trauma is the second level of trauma experienced by a child after the abuse has been
reported. Such trauma is often associated with a criminal justice system that fails to treat victims
with due care, including for example the verbal interrogation of victims or witnesses in court to
recall and describe the details of the crime. The specialised services provided by the SOC depend
on the extent of the trauma experienced by the child victim.

The SOC programme consists of a range of facilities and support services for children who have
been abused and give evidence in court. These include:

• A closed circuit television (CCTV) that is used to link the court and the child complainant. The
aim of this is to enable the child to participate in the court discussion without experiencing the
intimidation of the trial and thereby becoming traumatised again.

• An intermediary that sits with the child during the trial. The role of the intermediary is to
support the child by presenting the court discussion in a more age-appropriate manner.

• A prosecutor that consults with the child prior to the trial.

• A child-friendly waiting room for child witnesses, with age-appropriate décor and toys where
possible.

• A social worker that provides pre- and post-trial counselling to the child and is responsible to
arrange long-term support in co-operation with NGOs providing such services outside the
justice system.

The first SOC was established in 1993 in the Wynberg Magistrate’s Court, followed in 1994 by a
second SOC at the Cape Town Magistrate’s Court. The programme is currently being rolled out at a
national level and child-friendly court processes are being introduced in a growing number of courts.

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The focus of the research study


For the purposes of the research study, the CBU decided to focus its analysis on two courts, namely
the Wynberg and the Cape Town SOCs. This choice was motivated by the fact that both SOCs were
already well-established at the time of the study. The Wynberg SOC, as the first of its kind, has most
of the facilities envisaged for a sexual offences court and is regarded as the role model for this
programme nationally.

The Mitchell’s Plain Magistrate’s Court (which does not have a SOC) was used as a control site for
the research study. In processing child abuse matters, this court does not have all the necessary
facilities and support services that the official SOC sites enjoy. The inclusion of a control site was
vital in order to examine the court process for child complainants in the absence of a SOC in
comparison to the services being provided at the Wynberg and Cape Town SOCs.

The objectives of the study


The ultimate aim of the study was to generate information that could be used as a tool to promote
child rights through advocacy and to inform government planning in the direction of improved
measures to protect child victims of abuse in the criminal justice system. Towards this end, the more
immediate objectives of the study were:

• to examine whether the SOC programme is functioning as planned and realising its objective of
reducing the secondary trauma of child victims of sexual abuse; and

• to uncover the nature of the problems that need to be overcome and the initiatives needed to
strengthen the capacity of the SOC programme to protect children within the criminal justice
system.

Research questions
In order to realise the research objectives, the following questions framed the enquiry undertaken in
this study:

• What is the SOC programme and how is it intended to help children?

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• Is the SOC being effective in the sense that it is working well to decrease the level of secondary
trauma experienced by child victims of sexual abuse and resulting in an increased rate of
convictions?

• What are the budget allocations to the child SOC programme and where do they flow from?

• What are the financial and non-financial constraints undermining the effectiveness of the SOC
programme in meeting its objective of reducing secondary trauma experienced by child victims
of abuse? More specifically:

Are insufficient financial resources a major constraint?

What human resource constraints are undermining effective implementation of the


programme?

What role does inter-departmental collaboration play?

How is staff commitment to the programme and experience in dealing with children who
are sexually abused impacting on the programme?

• What initiatives are needed to improve the extent to which the SOC assists children that have
been abused?

Research methods
The pilot study used two main methods to answer the research questions:

• Desk research
The desk research involved consulting policy documents relating to the SOC, annual reports of the
Department of Justice and documents written by other researchers about the SOC programme and
the suffering of child victims of crime. These documents were consulted to gain an understanding of
what the programme is intended to include and who the key role-players are. The desk research also
provided the necessary background information on the incidence of sexual abuse amongst children
and the rate of conviction of child sexual abusers.

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• Interviews
Individual interviews were conducted with all the role-players involved in the programme,
including:

officials from the Directorate of the Sexual Offences and Community Affairs (SOCA) Unit

departmental heads in the criminal justice system

directors of NGOs that provide support services at SOCs

prosecutors (both senior and junior)

magistrates

children and their mothers.

The Director of the SOCA Unit gave permission for the researchers to conduct interviews at courts
and contributed to the design of the questionnaire. The departmental heads provided guidance on
how the results of the study could be useful to policy-makers. The senior prosecutors made useful
suggestions about relevant people to approach for interviews.

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EXAMPLE 3

Study on the implementation of the Protocol on Child Abuse and


Neglect in four of South Africa’s provinces
Prepared by Lerato Kgamphe

The child’s right to protection from abuse and neglect


Section 28(1)(b) of the South African Constitution states that “every child has the right to family or
parental care, or to appropriate care when removed from the family environment”. Section 28(1)(c)
also gives every child the right to “be protected from maltreatment, neglect, abuse or degradation”.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child, which South Africa has ratified, elaborates further. It
states that all children have a right to protection from all forms of physical or mental violence,
injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse
while in the care of the parent(s), legal guardian or any other person. The African Charter states in
Article 16 that “parties to the present Charter shall take specific legislative, administrative, social
and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of torture, inhumane or degrading
treatment and especially physical or mental injury or abuse, neglect or maltreatment including
sexual abuse, while in the care of the child.” South Africa has also ratified this charter.

These rights imply that government must develop, finance and implement (in a non-discriminatory
way) social programmes to protect children, and in particular those that are vulnerable because they
have been abused. Specifically, government is required to put in place prevention mechanisms and
identification techniques. There is a need for efficient reporting, referral, investigation, treatment
and follow-up services in instances of child maltreatment.

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The Protocol for the Multi-disciplinary Management of Child Abuse


and Neglect
The protocol referred to above was introduced in 1995 by a child rights activist from the University
of the Western Cape in South Africa. It came to her attention that children entering the judicial
system after reporting abuse were often mistreated by role-players in the system. More often than
not, this mistreatment was due to their inadequate training and knowledge of child rights and the
state’s obligations to deliver them. The protocol is a set of guidelines for health care professionals,
police, educators, social workers and justice personnel pertaining to their respective roles in dealing
with child abuse and neglect. The aim of the protocol is to ensure that a child is appropriately
treated and cared for once they have reported the incidence of abuse and/or neglect. As such, it
provides a framework for decreasing the level of secondary trauma that a child experiences as the
process of reporting, investigation and prosecution is pursued.

The research study


In 2002 the CBU embarked on an assessment study of the protocol, focussing on progress in its
implementation and the corresponding obstacles that need to be overcome to improve performance.
Broadly speaking, the study looks at the process of implementing the protocol document, the
capacity (both financial and non-financial) available to render the related services, the organisation
and co-ordination of the process, as well as the sustainability of the programme.

The scope of the study extends to five districts currently piloting the implementation of the protocol
in four of South Africa’s nine provinces. The provinces included in the study are Limpopo, Western
Cape, Kwa-Zulu Natal and Northern Cape. The provinces and districts were chosen to represent
the typical range of South African settlements, ranging from urban and well developed areas to
poverty stricken and rural communities.

Research objectives
The study aims to shed light on the progress and challenges in the effective implementation of the
protocol. More specifically it aims to uncover the following:

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• How the role-players – particularly government role-players (including health care


professionals, police, educators, social workers and justice personnel ) – are interpreting and
implementing the protocol.

• The funding flows allocated to the protocol and whether inadequate budget allocations are a
key constraint on effective implementation.

• The type of implementation problems experienced, such as insufficient inter-sectoral co-


ordination and collaboration, lack of managerial capacity, political commitment and leadership.

• The level and type of monitoring and evaluation procedures put in place, data capturing and
collection for future reference and analysis.

• The actions needed to improve the protocol and to nationalise the efficiency of services to
ensure that all child victims passing through the criminal justice system don’t experience
secondary trauma.

Research questions
In order to fulfil the objectives above, the following research questions were formulated for the
study:

• What is the level of understanding of the protocol document and how is it being implemented at
a grass-root level?

• What are the budget allocations and expenditures for the implementation of the protocol, where
is this money coming from, and is it enough?

• Does inter-sectoral co-ordination and collaboration exist? If so, to what extent and has it
helped to improve the services rendered? Is there managerial capacity and strong leadership
spearheading the implementation process?

• What data capturing and collection methods have been put in place and when were these first
implemented?

• What is the way forward?

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Examples of CBU research studies aimed at advancing child rights in South Africa

Research methods
To address the research questions and realise the objectives of the study, two main methods have
been used:

• Desk research
Desk research was used to build a thorough understanding of the protocol itself. This process
included the analysis of the original protocol document, as well as the provincial protocol
interpretations (which were adapted to match the provinces’ particular needs). Consideration
was also given to newspaper and journal articles, as well as other source material on multi-
disciplinary management methods deployed in other countries, models of inter-sectoral co-
ordination and collaboration, national statistics and summaries of the current levels of child
abuse and neglect in South Africa.

• Telephonic interviews and focus group discussions


Telephonic interviews and focus group discussions have mainly been used to access information
on the role-players’ knowledge of the protocol document and their thoughts on whether or not it
was working efficiently in their region, and if not why not. The interviews also honed in on the
levels of co-ordination and collaboration, data collection and accessibility, as well and capacity
to deliver and resource availability. Focus group discussions were more geared towards
recommendations on ways to improve these services, implementation problems and the way
forward when looking at the process of national roll-out.

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Appendix 2 Appendix 2

Definition of key concepts on the budget, economics


and child rights

Accountability (fiscal and for implementation of child rights)


Fiscal accountability refers to the responsibility on government to account to parliament for the way
public funds are collected, managed and spent.

Child rights accountability refers to the responsibility of government to account for the way it has
taken actions to implement the child rights that are enshrined in the domestic legal framework and
in child rights treaties it has ratified. It is accountable for its actions to fulfil its obligations to
deliver child rights to organisations such as the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the
Child (UNCRC), parliamentarians and to citizens, especially children.

Adjustment estimate/budget
The proposed amendments to the appropriations voted in the main Budget for the year. This is the
mechanism by which government seeks parliamentary approval for spending that differs from the
allocations legislated for in the Budget and the Appropriation Act. More than one adjustment may
be made to the Budget in a fiscal year.

Allocation
Money earmarked for a particular purpose in the Budget. For example, the allocation to the Social
Development Department for social development services (welfare services) in the South African
Budget tabled in February 2003 for the financial year 2003/04 has to be spent on social
development services during the course of 2003/04.

Allocative efficiency in public expenditure management


Allocative efficiency means that resources are allocated in line with political priorities and the
relative effectiveness of programmes. Once it has been decided which groups should receive

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Definition of key concepts on the budget, economics and child rights

priority and which services and goods should be produced for whom, the most effective
programmes and activities in relation to these objectives are held to be those that will have
maximum impact at least cost.

Basic services
The national minimum standards of services in education, social development, health care, housing
and infrastructure as defined in the Constitution, legislation or government policy.

Budget inputs
Budget inputs refer to the allocations of money to particular uses (for example, programmes) in the
budget. This money is for spending on the production of particular services (in particular
programmes). For example, the budget inputs of the Primary School Nutrition programme in South
Africa in 2002/03 refer to the amount of money allocated to targeted schools for spending on
delivering a morning meal to learners.

Budget outputs
Budget outputs refer to the public services that are provided by government through the use of
budget inputs. For example, the budget outputs in the Child Support Grant programme for the
financial year 2002/03 refer to the number of grants paid to child beneficiaries in 2002/03. Or as
another example, the budget outputs from the Primary School Nutrition programme in 2002/03
would refer to the number of school children fed in the year 2002/03. The level and efficiency of
services produced by budget inputs will of course partly be the product of institutional development
and the process of learning over time.

Budget outcomes
Budget outcomes refer to the ultimate impact on the broader society or economy as the result of
budget allocations to a particular programme (or sector). For example, the ultimate objective of the

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Primary School Nutrition programme in South Africa is to impact in the form of improving
children’s nutrition and thereby their ability to learn in school. The budget outcome in this
programme would therefore be the change in the nutrition status and learning capability of children
as a result of the programme. When monitoring budgets for children, it is important to think about
performance in terms of the link between budget inputs, budget outputs and outcomes in
programmes targeted at children. What children need is not simply more budget inputs, but better
use of available inputs to produce as many services as possible with as favourable outcomes as
possible.

Budget balance, deficit and surplus


A balanced budget occurs when a government’s total revenues equal its total expenditures for a
given fiscal year. When the budget is not in balance, it is either in deficit or surplus. A budget
deficit refers to a negative balance between budget expenditure and budget revenue (usually over
one fiscal year period). A budget surplus refers to a negative balance between budget expenditure
and budget revenue (usually over one fiscal year period).

The budget deficit = Revenue – (Planned expenditure + Borrowing). If revenue is greater than
planned expenditure plus borrowing, there is a budget surplus. If it is less, there is a deficit. If it is
exactly the same, there is a balanced budget.

Child rights
Child rights are child-specific human rights standards set by international and regional human
rights treaties and domestic law. They entitle children to claim certain things that will allow them to
live with dignity and enjoy freedom from both want and fear. The rights place an obligation on
governments to protect and promote the development of children. The ultimate objective of child
rights is to protect children from actions that undermine their dignity and to promote actions that
ensure they have a decent quality of life.

There are three, inter-dependent, categories of child rights: civil and political rights, socio-
economic and cultural rights. Socio-economic rights include those relating health care, education,

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Definition of key concepts on the budget, economics and child rights

minimum income, nutrition and shelter. These rights are aimed at meeting children’s basic needs.
Civil and political child rights are rights that limit physical and legal abuse by governments (and
other parties) against children. They entitle children to be free from feeling physically threatened
and abused by the political system, law or another person. Examples include the child’s right to life,
to be registered after birth and to be heard in any judicial and administrative proceedings affecting
the child, either directly, or through a representative or an appropriate body. Cultural child rights are
rights that are aimed at protecting and promoting the rights of marginalised groups.

The rights of children are legally defined in international human rights treaties, such as the United
Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, regional human rights treaties, such as the African
Charter on the Rights and Welfare of the African Child (AC) and country-specific legislation
(including constitutions).

Consumer Price Index (CPI)


The Consumer Price Index reflects the price of a representative basket of consumer goods and
services. This index measures the impact of inflation on the average consumer.

Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)


The CRC is the leading international child rights treaty. It is a United Nations legal instrument
that sets out a comprehensive set of child-specific civil, political, socio-economic and cultural
rights, as well as the associated obligations on state parties that have ratified the treaty, to fulfil them.
The CRC came into effect in September 1990, when it was adopted by the United Nations General
Assembly. Once a state party has ratified the treaty it has to implement measures to give effect to the
rights in it. Moreover, it has to report to the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child,
the supervisory body overseeing implementation of the treaty, on progress in this regard.

Government expenditure (including capital versus current)


Government expenditure refers to government spending (or outlays). Expenditures are made to
fulfil government obligations, such as promises to allocate resources to particular uses as

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Appendix 2

represented in the budget passed by parliament. Government expenditures often distinguish


between capital and current expenditure. Capital expenditures are investments in physical assets,
such as roads and buildings that can be used for a number of years. Current expenditures reflect
spending on wages and other goods and services that are consumed immediately. Actual
expenditures may differ from the planned expenditures (or allocations) set out in the budget. These
differences need to be recorded. Significant and persistent differences should be interrogated to
establish whether they reflect weaknesses in the country’s budgeting system.

Government revenue and taxes


Revenues refer to the moneys that government collects from the public via taxes. There are
different concepts of revenue flows. For example, consolidated government revenue in South Africa
refers to the total revenue of all three spheres of government. Local government revenue refers only
to the revenue of the local sphere.

Typical taxes (and hence primary sources of government revenue) include individual and corporate
income taxes, payroll taxes, value-added taxes, sales taxes, levies and excise taxes. User fees are
another source of government revenue. These are paid voluntarily by the public in return for
government-provided services or goods. A tax that increases as a percentage of income as one’s
incomes increases is known as a progressive tax; while a regressive tax is one where a taxpayer pays a
smaller percentage of income in tax as income increases.

Government debt, interest payments and the deficit to GDP ratio


Government debt refers to the total amount of money owed by the government as a consequence of
its borrowing in the past. Like private debt, government debt also incurs interest payments. It is
important to distinguish between domestic and foreign debt. Domestic debt, because it is payable to
domestic residents or companies, has to be paid in the domestic currency. By contrast, foreign debt
is usually payable in the currency that is used in the country in which the lending institution is
resident. It is dangerous for a developing county to have a lot of foreign debt because frequent
negative shifts in the value of developing country currencies relative to foreign currencies can make
repaying the debt increasingly expensive.

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Definition of key concepts on the budget, economics and child rights

The deficit to GDP ratio is an indicator that is often used to shed light on the soundness or
sustainability of a country’s fiscal policy and budget. It expresses the budget deficit (see above) as a
proportion of its GDP. The importance of this indicator is that it summarises the country’s ability
to finance its spending. This is because GDP reflects the country’s capacity to earn income (related
to production of goods and services). There is a debate over exactly what level of budget
deficit:GDP ratio is prudent. However, it is generally accepted that it should not be above 3
percent.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)


The Gross Domestic Product is the total value of final goods and services produced in a country
during a calendar year. GDP per person is the simplest overall measure of income in a country.
Economic growth is measured by change in GDP from year to year.

Fiscal discipline in the allocation of scarce resources


Fiscal discipline is about prudent management of government expenditure. In most countries
governments manage the budget in a way that allows total expenditure for the current year to be
greater than expected revenue. The positive difference between expenditure and revenue (called the
deficit) is financed by government loans, which have to be paid off in the future and on which
interest has to be paid. Fiscal discipline requires that governments be cautious about the extent to
which they rely on loans to finance a deficit. Fiscal discipline is important, because if a government
relies too much on loans to finance current expenditure it will accumulate large future debt and
interest obligations which will in turn undermine its capacity to spend on goods and services
(including for the poor).

Fiscal policy and fiscal policy targets


Fiscal policy refers to government plans and actions with respect to aggregate levels of revenue and
spending, and the resulting surpluses or deficits. Fiscal policy is one of the primary means through
which government influences the economy. An ‘easy’ fiscal policy is intended to stimulate short-

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Appendix 2

term economic growth and employment by increasing government spending and/or reducing taxes
(revenues). The danger of this type of policy is that it may result in increasing debt costs,
particularly if interest rates escalate. A ‘tight’ fiscal policy restrains short-term spending in the
economy by reducing government expenditure or increasing taxes (revenue). Such a policy is often
intended to reduce inflation but may also result from a desire to curtail the accumulation of debt
(and hence future debt service commitments). The government sets and implements fiscal policy
through the budget. Fiscal policy targets refer to the levels that government has set for key fiscal
policy variables such as the deficit to GDP ratio.

Fiscal year
The fiscal year is government’s 12-month accounting period: it frequently does not coincide with
the calendar year. The fiscal year is named after the calendar year in which it ends. In South Africa,
the fiscal year runs from 1 April – 31 March. The budget for the forthcoming fiscal year is
presented towards the end of February. The fiscal year that runs from 1 April 2002 until 31 March
2003 will be called the 2003 fiscal year.

Fiscal management
The management of government revenue and everything that influences it, including debt levels and
sources and levels of tax revenue.

Fiscal and budget transparency


Fiscal and budget transparency refers to the public availability of comprehensive, accurate and
useful information on a government’s financial activities. Transparency is, in part, an end in itself:
taxpayers have the right to know what the government does with their money. Efforts to increase
transparency can also help improve accountability and reduce corruption. One international
standard for transparency is contained in the IMF Code on Fiscal Transparency. The code is built
around the following standards:

• the roles and responsibilities in government should be clear;

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Definition of key concepts on the budget, economics and child rights

• information on government activities should be provided to the public;

• budget preparation, execution, and reporting should be undertaken in an open manner; and

• fiscal information should be subjected to independent assurances of integrity.

In addition, as the Guide to Applied Budget Analysis for NGOs (Shapiro 2001:115) points out,
“transparency is more meaningful if it is accompanied by participation in the budget process by civil
society and legislatures”. The International Budget Project, Idasa and other NGOs have been
developing standards that integrate the objectives of transparency and participation.

GDP (gross domestic product) and economic growth


GDP refers to the total value of goods and services produced in a country during a given period
(usually a calendar year). It is the most commonly used indicator of a country’s economic
performance. Economic growth refers to the change in the value of GDP from period to period
(usually calendar year to calendar year).

Inflation (consumer, producer and gross domestic product)


Inflation refers to the rate of increase in prices. In most countries, there are three main measures,
and hence concepts of inflation. Consumer Price Inflation refers to price increases as measured by
the Consumer Price Index (CPI) which reflects the prices of a representative basket of consumer
goods and services. CPIX inflation is a variant of consumer price inflation: it is the same except that
it excludes mortgage costs. Gross Domestic Product inflation is a measure of the total increase in
prices in the whole economy. Unlike consumer price inflation, gross domestic product inflation
includes price increases in goods that are exported, excludes imported goods and includes
intermediate goods such as machines. Producer price inflation refers to price increases as measured
by the producer price index (PPI). The PPI reflects the trend in prices of a representative basket of
goods used in domestic production.

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Appendix 2

Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF)


The MTEF is the three-year spending plan of national and provincial governments, published at
the time the budget is tabled.

Nominal values
These are monetary values in terms of the purchasing power of the day (at current prices). Nominal
values do not take into account the effect of inflation on the real value of money. Government
budgets are presented in nominal terms. In other words, they do not adjust the value of allocations
for inflation.

Performance Budgeting
Broadly speaking, performance budgeting refers to a budget process that integrates information
about the outputs and outcomes (impact) produced by government spending. In its simplest form,
performance budgeting is about placing emphasis on the outcomes and outputs associated with
government’s spending and taking this into account when deciding on the future allocation of
resources. Performance budgeting is often associated with giving managers of government
programmes more flexibility to achieve specific policy goals within a set budget. Promoting
efficiency and effectiveness in the use of public funds is therefore an important ingredient, and in
fact the primary goal, of performance-based budgeting. Developing countries, as well as many
developed countries, often lack the data and other information necessary to fully engage in
performance budgeting. Those countries that do engage in performance budgeting tend to confine
their evaluations of programme performance to measuring progress in terms of budget outputs.

Purchasing power parity (PPP)


The purchasing power of a country’s currency: the number of units of that currency required to
purchase the same basket of goods and services that a South African Rand would buy in South
Africa.

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Definition of key concepts on the budget, economics and child rights

Operational efficiency in public expenditure management


Operational efficiency requires that the delivery of public goods and services through government
programmes be cost-efficient and of high quality once they have been established.

Real values
Monetary real values are values that have been adjusted for inflation and expressed in terms of the
purchasing power of money at a particular time. For example, the real value of the child support
grant in South Africa for the years 1998-2002, expressed in 1998 prices adjusts the nominal value of
the grant in each year downwards to take into account the devaluing impact of inflation since 1998.
The real value of a future allocation is usually smaller than the nominal amount (unless of course
there is deflation).

United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child


The United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child (UNCROC) is a supervisory
committee, set up in February 1991 to monitor implementation of the United Nations Convention
on the Rights of the Child (CRC) by states parties that have ratified it. The UNCROC is
comprised of ten experts.

State parties have to make a report to the committee within two years of ratification and thereafter,
every five years. The committee encourages ‘shadow reports’ from civil society. After considering
the government’s report, the committee draws up a list of questions that it sends to government. The
government is asked to provide answers in a written report and is invited to discuss the issues at the
next full plenary session of the committee. The committee then adopts ‘Concluding Observations’
after considering each country’s report and government’s response to the committee’s questions. In
these, the committee highlights positive aspects of the relevant government’s measures, the factors
and difficulties impeding implementation of the Convention, areas of concern and
recommendations for future action.

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