2022-23 was a year of reflection and innovation, as we completed our work for the 2022 general election and embraced the opportunities of the 47th parliament. Taking account of feedback, our aim was to lift our engagement and educational offering as well as improve our service levels, facilitated by investment in digital tools, data visualisation and a more flexible way of working.
Highlights for the year included:
- Publication of the 2022 Election commitments report (ECR), a once in 3 year report
- Responding to a higher than expected level of requests for costings and budget analysis in a more timely way, whilst maintaining quality
- Publishing a record level of self-initiated products in shorter more accessible pieces, including new interactive tools on our website
- Proactive outreach to stakeholders, including introducing our services to the new 47th parliament, a 10th anniversary conference, and refreshed feedback processes to ensure that we continuously improve our offering
- Leveraging technology to support innovation and better parliamentarian request processes, including launching a new website, simplifying and unifying our costing models, as well as changing how we work to improve our capacity and resilience.
Parliamentary Budget Officer's review
The 2022-23 year was the first of the 47th Parliament, and marked the ten year anniversary of the Parliamentary Budget Office (PBO). We completed our work for the 2022 General Election and commenced our work with the new Parliament. The number of requests received from parliamentarians was significantly higher this year than for the first year of the 46th Parliament. We were able to meet this demand through significant change to our processes and structures.
The year started with the release of the 2022 Election commitments report (ECR), a key component of electoral transparency and accountability. Following the election we contacted new and returning parliamentarians setting out our services and how we aim to assist them in their parliamentary roles. This engagement was maintained throughout the year by running budget related seminars and undertaking targeted feedback interviews to assess the relevance and effectiveness of our work and to identify possible improvements to our practices.
Traditionally the first year of a new parliament sees a lower level of demand for our costing and budget analysis services, allowing more work on self-initiated products. This year the demand from parliamentarians was more than double compared to what we had anticipated based on the same period in the previous electoral cycle. In this context of increased demand, we were able to meet our planned publication program through changes to our processes, systems and internal structure. We met our performance target of a median of fewer than 15 business days for responding to Parliamentarian Requests.
That target had been set at the beginning of the PBO and had proven difficult to achieve over several years. We developed, consulted on, refined and released a new interactive educational tool titled Build your own budget. Designed to support and inform policy debate by allowing parliamentarians, journalists and the public to undertake their own analysis of a range of changes that could impact on the budget. Feedback on this tool has been very positive, and we aim to continue enhancing the tool as one of our key products. In response to earlier feedback we developed and deployed our new website. This will allow us to offer an improved experience for our stakeholders. For example, Beyond the budget 2023-24, was the first major publication in which we were able to use interactive graphs. I would like to acknowledge the effort of the staff of the PBO who have delivered to a high level through both external and internal changes, including by innovating across the full range of our products and services.
The year ahead
Building on the achievements and momentum of 2022-23, our Corporate Plan 2023-24 published on 10 August 2023 sets out our approach and priorities for the next 4 years (2023-24 to 2026-27).
In the coming year, we will build on the relationships cultivated during the first year of the 47th Parliament, maintain and improve our service while preparing for the next election.
We will continue to update our systems, and technology, with the aim of enhancing our relationships with parliamentarians, while building our interactive tools and refreshing our staffing and capability plans.