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Government of

Information and public services for the Island of Jersey

L'înformâtion et les sèrvices publyis pouor I'Île dé Jèrri

Classification of the Functions of Government report published

22 November 2023

The Minister of Treasury & Resources is pleased to present the release of the first Classification of the Functions of Government (COFOG) report, providing enhanced financial transparency and accountability in the Island's public sector.

Deputy Ian Gorst has released the inaugural report giving detailed information about the use of public funds, in a format designed to be comparable to other jurisdictions and over time. COFOG reports analyse total public sector expenditure by specified categories including health, education, welfare and public order and safety. The report covers public spending in 2022 and 2021, highlighting resource allocation trends and government expenditures.

The COFOG classification was developed as an international standard and has been adopted by most large economies. For the 2021 year, the OECD website includes more than 30 countries that have provided COFOG information.

Whilst the standardised approach will aid transparency, it remains important to recognise that analysis of expenditure is only one part of understanding how governments use taxpayers’ money.

There remain fundamental differences between the approach of jurisdictions. This could include different systems of service delivery or different approaches to the level of tax and spend. It is also important to consider the spend on services in the context of value and the standard of services delivered.

Jersey spends less per person, and less as a proportion of the economy than the UK, as would be expected in a lower tax jurisdiction. Jersey also spends less on categories such as Debt Servicing (due to low levels of public debt) and defence (which is largely provided by the UK).

Deputy Gorst said: "The COFOG classification, recognised as an international standard, is an essential tool for promoting transparency and accountability in government spending. By providing detailed analysis of public expenditure, the COFOG report goes beyond traditional financial reporting, allowing us to benchmark our expenditures against those of other countries." 

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