The Barcelona Council has been one of the first, in the Spanish state to incorporate the ABC model, Activity Based Costing, as a system to calculate the costs of services given, and that collects each final activity's direct costs and indirect costs which come from the structure, therefore permitting the council to obtain unitary cost indicators of the different municipal facilities and services.

The objective is to change the "spending culture", which most public administrations work with, to a "costing culture" , which puts focus on productivity, efficiency and quality when it comes to providing goods and services.

Apart from responding to legal requirements, the ABC model allows public management to improve, by obtaining a more rational executive budget, in which decision making is done based on careful information; it also helps the citizens get detailed access to how public money is managed, fulfilling with the principal of transparency and an open government which is promoted by the consistory.


Costs as mandatory and non-mandatory tasks

Among the finalists processes is mandatory services catalog for the council, according to current legislation. Thus all the necessary services are provided by any of the activities defined in the model and therefore can be identified.

Costs by nature

Since the budget accounts only distinguishes the nature of the cost under chapters, it defined the concept of cost factor, which serve to distinguish the nature of the cost of each of the tasks, and therefore the process and / or the City in general. In this sense we can distinguish what part of the cost stems from personnel, supplies, or outsourcing, to name a few.

Traceability of costs

One can observe the composition of cost of each of the tasks, that is, which part corresponds to direct costs and indirect costs how much to the breakdown of the latter type.


Relate the cost of the tasks performed by the contributions that are being assigned with the highest degree of detail possible (task, activity, thread or process). The intention is to show how the tasks are financed based on the contribution of the service user or recipient administrations or private firms of the activity; thus finance itself emerges as calculated between the cost of the task and exogenous contributions, provided that the aggregate of these not equal or exceed the amount of the cost difference, since in this case the municipal coverage is void.


Along with the analysis of all activities carried out in the City Council they have identified a number of cost-related activities to continue the annual evolution of the costs of the services provided by the Town Hall indicators. These form the cornerstone of the information provided by the cost model as it allows to know the unit cost of the tasks either by citizens or per unit of service delivery.


One of the 2015-2019 Municipal Action Plan goals is to increase the information provided by the ABC cost model by introducing detailed information at the level of cost centres and territories (neighbourhoods), where that makes sense.

To achieve this goal, and as the first stage, the 2016 cost model introduces a series of changes that affect their calculation, by introducing details on municipal organisation and changes in processing activities, incorporating new criteria and adding certain elements of the organisation (enterprises).

For that reason, result for the standardised 2015 cost model (2015S), which includes the 2015 results with the changes introduced in the 2016 model, have been added together with the 2016 data, so that these two financial years can be made comparable.

Finally, as a result of these methodological changes, the unit cost indicators appear in a separate document, which allows the results to be shown from a twofold perspective: unit costs within the organisation and unit costs per activity.

Support document : 

Reports of process costs and districts

  Corporation (all processes and districts) 2014 2015 2015S 2016

Corporate report


Corporate indicators



  Memory Processes 2014 2015 2015S 2016
Urban planning
Enviroment and Urban Services
Quality of life and Equality
Guàrdia Urbana (metropolitan police)
Fire Prevention, Extinction and Rescue
Economic Promotion
Infrastructure and Urban Coordination
  Districts 2014 2015 2015S 2016
Ciutat Vella
Les Corts
Sarrià-Sant Gervasi
Nou Barris
Sant Andreu
Sant Martí