(a continuation from the December 23, 2009 blog on “Managing Performance”)
The third idealized model described by Bouckaert and Halligan is a “comprehensive and integrated performance management framework.” This model seems to be favored by both academics and consultants. The two countries in the authors’ case studies that seem to come closest to this approach are Australia and Canada. (note: these links are to an OECD study on performance budgeting, not to the Bouckaert-Halligan case studies, which are not available on-line. You have to get their book to read those!).
This model, when implemented successfully, engages stakeholders, contributes to the legitimacy of government as a key provider of services, and is used for predicting customer behaviors. Those using this approach rely on externally-developed performance frameworks, such as Balanced Scorecards, ISO 9000 standards, the European Framework for Quality Management, or country-specific home-grown models such as the Canadian Management Accountability Framework (which is now in its fourth iteration).
According to the authors, this model is where “performance information is systematically and coherently generated, integrated and used,” and “Information produced by performance measurement systems becomes part of a process of management and ultimately of governance.”
They also observe an interplay among three dynamics: political legitimacy, technical design, and functional processes: “Auditing a performance measurement system is one way to produce and maintain legitimacy between the executive and legislative branches. Another way is to create ownership by administrative stakeholders by having them co-design their performance measurement systems. . . . citizen involvement in an operational performance measurement system is another way to corroborate the legitimacy of performance information.” This in turn results in a shift from a closed to an open measurement system, and from a top-down to top-down and bottom-up system.
Bouckaert and Halligan note that: “. . performance measurement systems should . . contribute to the legitimacy of the public sector itself.” And that, for reasons of political legitimacy, performance measures should become more subject to independent controls (audits), be more bottom up (from front line), and more external (citizens, stakeholders) in their design and implementation.
One strategy, they say, “is to take citizen as customers actively on board at all stages of the policy cycle, and in the service delivery cycle, up to even giving them a say in the budget process. This results in co-design, co-decision, co-production, and co-evaluation.” Interestingly, this seems to be the direction of President Obama’s Open Government Initiative.