Budgeting for Outcomes: Purposes, Programs and Performance

Crawford School of Public Policy | Executive course
Policy Essentials

Summary

Contemporary public sector budgeting is about explaining the performance story behind the financial numbers, and working with the inevitable contestability around what the numbers mean. It is about how performance information can be used to better frame dialogue around funding priorities, and to actively manage program delivery within budget constraints.

Current sector-wide performance and accountability frameworks emphasise clear linkages between funding and outcomes, and the integration of performance metrics with budget decision processes, internal organisational management, and external performance reporting. This course: uses an integrated case study to survey the strengths and weaknesses of performance-based budgeting approaches in the public sector; steps through intervention logic methodologies for specifying purposes, programs and performance metrics; outlines the role of cost information in performance analysis; and offers an opportunity to apply and appraise these approaches in the context of participants’ own organisational settings.

Course date: 
9.30am–4.30pm 18 November 2020
9.30am–4.30pm 19 November 2020
Venue: 
#132 Crawford Building, Lennox Crossing, ANU
Cost: 

Before 3 November 2020: $2,195

After 4 November 2020: $2,495

Group discounts available.

Course overview

Current sector-wide performance and accountability frameworks, such as the Commonwealth Enhanced Performance Framework and the NSW Outcome Budgeting Framework, emphasise the integration of clear and consistent performance metrics with budget decision processes, internal organisational management, and external performance reporting. Program budget structures are the standard ‘line-of-sight’ platform for reporting and linking information to inform the Budget performance cycle: budget statements set out intended allocation of resources and prospective performance; corporate plans set out how entities will manage program delivery and measure progress; and annual reports set out analysis of actual achievement against forecast performance. This two day course outlines methodologies for specifying foundational budget program information and the way this information can be used at selected points in the Budget performance cycle. The structure and content of the course will cover a selection of the following:

  • Day 1 – an overview of performance-based budgeting in the public sector; an outline of illustrative current performance frameworks; an overview of program classification and intervention logic methods; application of methodologies to specify outcomes, purposes and programs
  • Day 2 – an overview of non-financial performance information and the role of basic cost information; application of intervention logic methodologies to develop and select non-financial performance metrics and the role of basic cost information; application of methodologies to selected functions of participants’ organisations; survey of the strengths and weaknesses of performance information use in public budgeting; outline of the use of performance stories to frame budget and program dialogue in constrained resource settings.

The course uses a mix of interactive case teaching approaches and short topic lectures. The course is underpinnined by an integrated, multi-part case scenario to help illustrate key concepts and apply key methodologies. Approximately half of the course will be devoted to structured syndicate work and practice exercises where students interact with peers and the instructor to apply concepts and methods. There is brief pre-reading in the form of the case scenario documents and 1-2 short context readings.

Learning outcomes:

  • understanding of performance-based budgeting approaches
  • knowledge of key information requirements for performance-based budgeting and reporting
  • knowledge of and practice in applying methodologies for specifying public purposes, budget programs and performance metrics
  • knowledge of basic cost information and its relationship to performance analysis and advocacy in Budget processes.

Outcomes:

The Budget process and associated performance accountability frameworks for various levels of government (federal, state/territory) require specific knowledge and competencies in conducting analysis and preparing documents that:

  • explain the purpose of government activities
  • explain the linkages between proposed or existing government activities and resource allocations and their management, and
  • measure and explain performance in terms of achievement and the efficient use of resources.

These competencies, which include understanding of key performance concepts and analytical methodologies, can be applied in all public sector organisations required to prepare Budget advice/documentation and/or corresponding performance accountability advice/documentation. This can be at both strategic and operational levels.

Anticipated behavioural and business impacts include:

This course will provide a core set of knowledge and methods that can be applied:

  • by APS (or State/Territory equivalent) staff preparing and/or advising on Budget proposals, Budget statements, corporate plans, annual reports and policy proposals, or preparing reports and/or advising on portfolio, agency or program performance
  • by staff in non-government organisations in preparing advice on Government relations, interacting with Government entities in the Budget process or program delivery, or developing public policy for advocoacy purposes.

Who should attend?

  • APS (or State/Territory equivalent) officers involved in or with managerial responsibility for preparing and/or advising on Budget proposals, Budget statements, corporate plans, annual reports and/or policy proposals
  • APS (or State/Territory equivalent) officers involved in or with managerial responsibility for preparing reports and/or advising on portfolio, agency or program performance
  • staff in non-government organisations involved in advising on Government relations, interacting with Government entities, or developing and advocating public policy.

The target audience is APS 5-6 and EL 1-2 (and equivalent non-APS levels).

Course presenter(s)

Dr Michael Di Francesco

Michael Di Francesco is Senior Lecturer in Policy and Governance at the Crawford School of Public Policy. He was previously Associate Professor in Public Sector Management and Director of the Case Program (John L. Alford Case Library) at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW), and has held appointments at the University of Sydney and Victoria University of Wellington.

Michael has published extensively in the areas of public budgeting and financial management, organisational performance evaluation, public management policy, and Australian public administration, and has twice been a recipient of the Institute of Public Administration Australia Sam Richardson Award for the most influential or important article published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration. His most recent book (with John Alford) is Balancing Control and Flexibility in Public Budgeting: A New Role for Rule Variability (Palgrave Macmillan, 2016).

Michael has extensive senior public sector experience. In 2019 he served as Assistant Secretary, Public Sector Reform at the Australian Department of Finance. Between 2003 and 2010 he was Principal Advisor in Financial Management Policy at NSW Treasury, where he led strategic budget reform across the general government sector. He has held many technical assistance appointments with the International Monetary Fund (advising finance and planning ministries in Poland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Vietnam) and the World Bank (researching multiyear budget frameworks and advising finance ministries in Brazil, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic). Michael has consulted on performance-based budget reform for the Australian Department of Finance and NSW Treasury, and in 2015 was appointed by the National Treasury of South Africa to an international panel of experts to evaluate its expenditure review program.

Updated:  1 June 2020/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team