HM Treasury

UK economy

Office for Budget Responsibility

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) was formed in May 2010 to make an independent assessment of the public finances and the economy, the public sector balance sheet and the long term sustainability of the public finances. The establishment of the OBR marks a step change in the transparency and openness of economic and fiscal policy making.

Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act

The Budget Responsibility and National Audit Act received Royal Assent on 22 March 2011.

The legislation establishes the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) as part of a reformed fiscal framework, with a statutory duty to examine and report on the sustainability of the public finances. 

Charter for Budget Responsibility

The Charter is intended to enhance transparency. First, in relation to the Government’s approach to fiscal policy, the Charter will set out the Treasury’s fiscal objectives, mandate for fiscal policy and the requirements for the contents of Budgets.

Second, the Charter enhances transparency in respect of the OBR’s statutory remit. The guidance can only relate to the functions conferred on the OBR in the Bill. The Charter is also explicitly precluded from including any guidance on the OBR’s methodology to protect the independence of the OBR’s judgments. The Charter can and does, however, add clarity to the statutory remit, reflecting the particular nature of the OBR’s role as producer of the UK’s official forecast, a role which sets it apart from other fiscal councils. 

Budget Responsibility Committee and non-executive members of the OBR

The OBR is comprised of the Chair of the OBR and the two other members of the Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC), and at least two non-executive members. The three BRC members were appointed by the Chancellor in October 2010, with the approval of the Treasury Select Committee. The non-executive members were appointed by the Chancellor in June 2011.

The letters of appointment for the current members of the BRC are available below.

The letters of appointment for the current non-executive members of the OBR are available below.

Memorandum of Understanding

The OBR will provide essential analysis on which the Government can base its fiscal and economic policies, and in turn, will use information from across Government to produce its analysis. As such, for the OBR and the rest of Government to perform their respective functions effectively, close working will be essential.

A Memorandum of Understanding has been agreed between the OBR and the departments it works with most closely in producing its analysis: the Treasury, the Department for Work & Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs.

Framework Document

The Framework Document sets out the broad governance and management framework within which the OBR will operate, and the relationship the OBR will have with the Treasury as the sponsor department for the OBR. This document has been drawn up by the Treasury in consultation with the OBR.

The documents above are available in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). If you do not have Adobe Acrobat installed on your computer you can download the software free of charge from the Adobe website. For alternative ways to read PDF documents and further information on website accessibility visit the HM Treasury accessibility page.

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