Gobierno de España. Ministerio de Hacienda. Intervención General de la Administración del Estado.
Administración Presupuestaria

Functional Classification of spending by the Government (COFOG)

​Standardised Methodological Report

  • 1. Contact
    • 1.1 Contact organisation
      • General Comptroller of the State Administration
    • 1.2 Contact unit
      • National Accounting Office
    • 1.5 Contact postal address
      • Mateo Inurria 15, 28036 Madrid
  • 2. Updating metadata
    • 2.1 Last metadata validation
      • 26/02/2021
    • 2.2 Latest metadata dissemination
      • 12/03/2021
    • 2.3 Last metadata update
      • 26/02/2021
  • 3. Statistical presentation
    • 3.1 Description of data
      • Government expenditure by function according to the COFOG classification (classification revised in 1999, developed by the OECD and published by the United Nations) is incorporated in the ESA 2010 Transmission Programme.

        The COFOG classifies the expenditure of the general government sector, and its sub-sectors, recorded in ESA-based transactions according to the purpose for which they are used. It is a cross-classification of expenditure operations by economic nature and by function. It is an important tool for analysing public expenditure, particularly useful for international comparisons insofar as governments perform economic and social functions.

    • 3.2 Classification systems
      • The classification systems used are those set out in the ESA 2010:
      • General government sector and its sub-sectors, as set out in ESA 2010:
        • S.13 Public administrations
          • S.1311 Central government
          • S.1312 Regional government
          • S.1313 Local government
          • S.1314 Social security funds
      • Economic classification of expense operations established in ESA 2010
        • D.1 Compensation of employees
        • P.2 Intermediate consumption
        • D.29 Other taxes on production
        • D.3 Subsidies
        • D.4 Property income
        • D.51 Income taxes
        • D.62 ocial benefits other than social transfers in kind
        • D.632 Social transfers in kind: output purchased on the market
        • D.7 Other current transfers
        • P.5 Gross capital formation
        • NP Acquisitions less disposals of non-produced assets
        • D.9 Capital transfers, payable
      • UN COFOG classification. It has three levels of classification: divisions, groups and classes. The divisions, which are further divided into groups, are as follows:
        • 01 - General utilities
        • 02 - Defence
        • 03 - General utilities
        • 04 - Economic issues
        • 05 - Environmental protection
        • 06 - Housing and community services
        • 07 - Health
        • 08 - Leisure, culture and religion
        • 09 - Education
        • 10 - Social protection
    • 3.3 Coverage by sector
      • The information covers the public administration sector. The ESA 2010 defines this sector as all institutional units which are non-market producers whose output is intended for individual or collective consumption, which are financed by compulsory payments made by units belonging to other sectors and which carry out operations to redistribute national income and wealth.
    • 3.4 Statistical concepts and definitions
      • The concepts and definitions relating to economic operations are contained in the ESA 2010.
    • 3.5 Statistical unit
      • The statistical unit is the institutional unit as defined in the ESA 2010. This operation considers the institutional units classified in the general government sector and its sub-sectors.

        The examples cited by the ESA as institutional units included in sector S.13 are the following:

        a) general government units legally created for the purpose of exercising judicial authority over other units in the economic territory, and administering and financing a range of activities, mainly by providing non-market goods and services to the community;

        b) a general government institution or quasi-corporation, if its output is mainly non-market and controlled by a general government unit;

        c) non-profit institutions with legal personality which are non-market producers and are controlled by public administrations;

        d) autonomous pension funds, where they have a legal obligation to contribute, and where public administrations manage the funds in terms of setting and approving contributions and benefits.

    • 3.6 Statistical population
      • The target population is the general government sector and its sub-sectors.
    • 3.7 Geographical scope
      • Geographical scope
    • 3.8 Temporary coverage
      • The series covers the period 1995-2019.
    • 3.9 Base period
      • Not applicable.
  • 4. Unidad de medida
    • 4.1 Unit of measurement
      • Data are measured in millions of euros.
  • 5. Reference period
    • 5.1 Reference period
      • The reference period is the calendar year.
  • 6. Institutional mandate
    • 6.1 Legal acts and other agreements
      • The collection, processing and dissemination of data from statistical operations for state purposes is governed by the provisions of Law 12/1989, of 9 May, on the Public Statistical Function (LFEP), and in the Fourth Additional Provision of Law 4/1990, of 29 June. The LFEP establishes that the National Statistical Plan is the main instrument for organising the statistical activity of the State Administration and contains the statistics to be compiled in the four-year period by the services of the State Administration or any other entities dependent on it. All statistics included in the National Statistical Plan are statistics for state purposes and are compulsory. This operation is a statistic for state purposes and is included in the National Statistical Plan 2021-2024.

        Article 125.2(g) of the General Budgetary Law 47/2003 of 26 November 2003 (LGP) stipulates: The General Comptroller of the State Administration is the public accounting management centre, which is responsible for drawing up the national accounts of the units that make up the public administration sector, in accordance with the criteria for institutional delimitation and allocation of transactions established in the European System of National and Regional Accounts. In addition, Article 133 states: For the purposes of Article 125(2)(g), (h) and (i), public units shall be obliged to provide the cooperation and information necessary for the compilation of the economic accounts of the public sector and any other information in the field of the national accounts of public units which is laid down by internal and Community legislation.

        The compilation and transmission of General government expenditure by function is set out in Annex B of Regulation (EU) No 549/2013 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 May 2013 on the European System of National and Regional Accounts in the European Union.

    • 6.2 Data sharing
      • Data exchanges between State statistical services (INE, ministerial departments, autonomous bodies and public entities of the State Administration), as well as between these and the statistical services of the Autonomous Communities for the development of the statistics entrusted to them, are regulated in the LFEP. The LFEP also establishes the mechanisms for statistical coordination between administrations, as well as the conclusion of cooperation agreements when deemed appropriate.
  • 7. Confidentiality
    • 7.1 Confidentiality policy
      • Law 12/1989 of 9 May 1989 on the Public Statistical Function obliges the IGAE as a statistical service not to disseminate personal data under any circumstances, regardless of their origin. Personal data are understood to be those relating to natural or legal persons that either allow the immediate identification of the data subjects, or lead by their structure, content or degree of disaggregation to their indirect identification.

        Similarly, Regulation (EC) No 223/2009 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 11 March 2009 on European statistics provides for the need to establish common principles and guidelines to ensure the confidentiality of the data used to produce European statistics and access to these confidential data, taking into account technical progress and user needs in a democratic society.

    • 7.2 Processing of confidential data
      • The data is treated confidentially during the collection and validation process until publication.

        Furthermore, it should be noted that the Functional classification of general government expenditure is a summary statistic in which the personal data, in this case referring to legal persons, used is presented aggregated in sectors or sub-sectors of general government, a fact that prevents the identification of the information associated with individual units.

  • 8. Dissemination policy
    • 8.1 Dissemination calendar
      • The calendar of dissemination dates of the statistics is published in January on the IGAE website.
    • 8.2 Access to the dissemination calendar
    • 8.3 User access
      • The dissemination of these statistics is the same for all users at the time of publication.

        Nevertheless, the data collected in Functional classification of general government expenditure are provided prior to their publication, under embargo, to the National Statistics Institute for the incorporation of this information in the Spanish Annual National Accounts and to Eurostat for their validation

  • 9. Frequency of dissemination
    • 9.1 Frequency of dissemination
      • Annual.
  • 10. Accessibility and clarity
  • 11. Quality management
    • 11.1 Quality assurance
      • European Statistics Code of Practice.
    • 11.2 Quality assessment
      • On an annual basis, when transmitting this information in the framework of the ESA 2010 Transmission Programme, Eurostat assesses the coherence, consistency and feasibility of the data transmitted. In this process, clarifications to the evolution of data or tax classification are submitted when requested.

        Eurostat reviews government finance statistics data during its Dialogue Visits to Member States.

  • 12. Relevance
    • 12.1 User needs
      • In general, the main users of these statistics are institutional analysts on specific public expenditure purposes, trends and cross-country comparisons (ECOFIN and various Commission services, OECD etc.).
    • 12.2 User satisfaction
      • Not available.
    • 12.3 Completeness
      • This operation complies with the mandatory requirements of the ESA 2010 Transmission Programme (classification of expenditure by divisions for all sub-sectors and by groups for the entire general government sector) and voluntary requirements (classification of expenditure by COFOG groups for all sub-sectors).

        In addition, the classification of expenditure by COFOG divisions by Autonomous Community is published.

  • 13. Accuracy and reliability
    • 13.1 Overall accuracy
      • Not applicable.
    • 13.2 Sampling errors
      • Not applicable.
    • 13.3 Non-sampling errors
      • Not applicable.
  • 14. Timeliness and punctuality
    • 14.1 Timeliness
      • The mandatory transmission of this operation is t+12 months after the reference year. In t+12, the information for year t is provisional. At t+24 the data are definitive.
    • 14.2 Punctuality
      • The IGAE publishes these statistics on the date established in the calendar, approximately one month before the deadline set in the Transmission Programme.
  • 15. Consistency and Comparability
    • 15.1 Geographical comparability
      • The geographical comparability of this statistic is with other countries. Economic transactions are recorded in accordance with ESA 2010, which ensures a high degree of comparability.
    • 15.2 Comparability over time
      • The series of these statistics is comparable over time, given that the ESA 2010, and in particular the Transmission Programme of this Regulation, has required homogeneity since 1995 (breakdown by COFOG groups by sub-sectors has been compulsory since 2001, although in Spain they have been published since 1995).
    • 15.3 Coherence - cross sectoral
      • The economic transactions data collected in this statistic are consistent with those recorded in all government finance statistics and EDP statistics.
    • 15.4 Coherence - internal
      • It is currently insured.
  • 16. Costs and burdens
    • 16.1 Costs and burdens
      • The costs associated with the production of these statistics are estimated at 166,000 euros, foreseen in the Budget of the Ministry of Finance.
  • 17. Data review
    • 17.1 Data review - Policy
      • The general data revision policy for the IGAE's Government Finance Statistics is to revise the data published for year t until the last quarter of year t+2, the year in which the data incorporated in the statistical information becomes final.
    • 17.2 Data review - Practice
      • In this statistical operation, the data for year t, published in t+12 months, are provisional. Those published in t+24 are definitive.
  • 18. Statistical processing
    • 18.1 Source data
      • The information sources used for the compilation of this statistical operation are administrative data and economic-financial information on public companies classified in the general government sector.

        The information covers the total number of units classified in the General Government sector as defined in the European System of National and Regional Accounts (ESA 2010). In particular, the source data used are the accounting information and budgetary information of the State and Social Security; standardised questionnaires relating to the budgetary information and accounting and extra-budgetary information of each regional and local government; accounting statements (balance sheets and profit and loss accounts) of the units not subject to the budget, but included in the general government sector (S.13); and the General Account of each government, comprising all the budgetary and accounting information produced during the financial year.

    • 18.2 Frequency of data collection
      • Annual.
    • 18.3 Data collection
      • Administrative data relating to the State are centralised in the Accounting Information System (SIC) and those relating to Social Security in the Social Security Accounting Information System (SICOSS). For the rest of the units included in the state public sector (state public sector and foundations), the economic-financial information is available in the CICEP.red application, which includes the annual accounts, audit report, interim financial statements, etc. The economic-financial information necessary for this statistical operation completed by the Autonomous Communities is collected in the Autonomous Communities Information Centre (CIMCA) and that relating to Local Corporations in SICEL (Local Entities Accounting Information System). Finally, the General Account of each administration is available, comprising all the budgetary and accounting information for the year.
    • 18.4 Data validation
      • The validation process consists of arithmetic checks and consistency with the information on the general government sector provided in the framework of Government Finance Statistics.
    • 18.5 Data compilation
      • The work to be carried out for the compilation of this statistical operation varies according to two types of units, those subject to a restrictive budget and public accounting, and those subject to the General Accounting Plan for companies (private). In the first group, the allocation of the expenditure of these units to the different COFOG groups is based on the elaboration of the expenditure operations in accordance with the methodology established in the ESA, on the basis of the economic classification of the expenditure budget. The functional and programme structure of the budget outlines the purposes and objectives to be achieved with the budgetary resources allocated to the cost centres. The expenditure programmes in the Budget Settlements are analysed individually in order to determine their purpose, so that they can be allocated to the corresponding COFOG group.

        In the case of units subject to the General Chart of Accounts for companies, the functional classification is made on the basis of their principal activity, as defined in their articles of association and annual reports. However, in those units that carry out several clearly differentiated activities (e.g. in the case of public enterprises that promote public infrastructure in both education and transport), the allocation of expenditure to different COFOG groups is made according to the information contained in the reports.

        Finally, the offsetting unit of the expenditure on interest, current transfers and capital transfers is analysed, so that in sector S.13 each transaction is the sum of the data for each sub-sector, except for the aforementioned transactions which are consolidated between sub-sectors.

    • 18.6 Adjustment
      • No adjustments are made.
  • 19. Remarks
    • 19.1 Remarks