Understanding the allocation of public resources through national and local budgets has become an increasing focus of development. This has been driven by two principal trends. Donor agencies, on the one hand, are seeking to deliver growing proportions of their financial assistance to partner countries through mainstream government systems - while, at a different level, a vibrant civil society movement has developed which seeks to promote goals of citizen empowerment, gender equity and poverty reduction through the potentials offered by the budget process. Norton and Elson aim to contribute to the evolving understanding of public expenditure management as a political, rather than a purely technical, process. In particular, they explore the ways in which a rights approach can contribute to strengthening voice and pro-poor outcomes in budget processes, and include examples of pro-poor and gender-sensitive budget initiatives from countries such as Brazil and South Africa. The work was commissioned by DFID as part of the programme of work to take forward it's human rights strategy, and identifies issues, partners, tools and methods that may help development actors to support citizen accountability and a pro-poor, gender-equitable, focus in public expenditure management.