The Public Expenditure Tracking Survey (PETS) is a quantitative survey of the supply side of public services. The unit of observation is typically a service facility and/or local government i.e. frontline providers like schools and clinics. The survey collects information on facility characteristics, financial flows, outputs (services delivered), accountability arrangements, etc. If carefully and competently collected, the PETS data can have multiple uses. They can serve as powerful simple diagnostic tool in the absence of reliable administrative or financial data. They trace the flow of resources from origin to destination and determine the location and scale of anomaly. They are distinct, but complimentary to qualitative surveys on the perception of users to service delivery. They highlight not only the use and abuse of public money, but also give insights into cost efficiency, decentralization and accountability.
While there is no standard formula, typically some of the steps involved in such a survey are:
- Identification of scope, purpose and actors
- Design of questionnaires
- Execution of survey
- Data analysis
The first systematic PETS was carried out in Uganda in 1996 to track the funding budgeted for schooling and clinics