Clarifying the relationship between Original Budget And Revised Budget in IATI activities


(Auninda Rumy Saleque) #1

Hi everyone,

One of our partner organisations recently brought to our attention that for an activity, they are keeping both original and revised budget of the same financial period side by side when preparing their IATI source files.

Their assumption is that - original budget is amended by the revised budget element and can co-exist side by side within an activity whereas our definition is that a revised budget replaces the original one.

According to the IATI standard definition: The purpose of Budget element is to provide predictability for recipient planning on an annual basis. The status explains whether the budget being reported is indicative or has been formally committed.

This definition for activity budget is kind of ambiguous as it does not really specify if an activity can accommodate both the original budget and it’s revised version or just only one of them.

This is creating confusion in DevTracker when calculating the total budget for partner files as the original and the revised amounts are getting summed up into an artificially high value that does not exist in reality.

For DFID, we keep only one of the two and not both which is why this never created confusion internally.

Will be grateful if other members of the community could share their experiences to see if they have encountered this issue and how they resolved it so that we can come to a common understanding of the meaning of “Original” and “Revised” budget figures


(Hayden Field) #2

Additionally, there are multiple definitions of budgets, seemingly contradicting each other.

From the element definition you could infer that it’s OK to have both the Original and Revised budgets since this would help “provide predictability for recipient planning on an annual basis” by allowing analysis of how far budgets have historically been revised by.

From the overview definition, the statement that it’s a value "as stated in the original project document or revised accordingly " would indicate that there should be one or the other but not both.

There is also nothing within the Schema or Rulesets prevents the definition of both Original and Revised budgets, indicating that your partner organisation’s assumption is valid.


There are a couple of other issues with the definition of budgets, so it may be worth considering a wider discussion of how budgets are defined.


(Hayden Field) #3

There is a similar issue with planned and actual activity-dates where both may be present, but it is not clear that this is the case (though with activity-date at least the wording is consistent).


(Vincent van 't Westende) #4

I think this discussion was forgotten about a bit and is left unanswered. It would help to know the origin of why this attribute exists at all. Probably there was a reason that indicates that both can exist or only one of the two.

That historical analysis would only be possible if you would keep track of all revisions of the budgets. If you would want to do that you need to know the dates on which the budgets were set to be able to know the history timeline and the actual budget. Imo that’s a use case IATI shouldn’t support, IATI is a snapshot of data and if you would want to do analysis you need to compare multiple snapshots on different dates.

From the type attribute definition on the same page you could infer that it’s not OK; “Whether this is the original budget (prepared when the original commitment was made) or has subsequently been revised”. Though that definition could be interpreted as to be read from the perspective of one single budget element.

In the end I don’t care if either or both can exist, but I’m lost in how to interpret budgets and no one seems to know for sure. I also don’t want to rely on the Schema for this since the Schema only has basic rules implemented and hence I don’t know if its on purpose or if its a flaw in the schema (Its probably not even something the schema can check).


(Bill Anderson) #5

The original intention was never to provide an audit of changes, only to indicate to the user that one or more changes had been made since first published. Other than that the element only shows the current state of play.

Similarly a committed budget 'status=2' shouldn’t be changed, but there is no way of policing this.


(Vincent van 't Westende) #6

Thank you for the clarification. I created a request to note this a bit more on the budget element page.

Is this something to propose as a rule for a next upgrade just to make sure everyone has that same interpretation?


(Steven Flower) #7

I’ve run into this one just recently. I discussed this briefly with @Herman & @pelleaardema recently, but wanted to check with others

Situation:

  • An organisation publishes an original, indicative budget for an activity
  • At some point, this budget is finalised, and a new value is published - which is revised and committed
  • In effect, there are two different budgets
  • For some users, it’s useful to know the difference between the two

As discussed here, the standard has nothing to say about whether budgets should be maintained. It seems that the general assumptions is that only the latest budget would be published, which would help with the use case described by @Rumy

Nothing happened around this for 2.03 - how do we maintain focus on this?

I’ll also note the attention on the description of the budget element highlighted in this thread - @YohannaLoucheur flags that it needs some refinement.