Model 4: Performance Governance

(a continuation from the December 23, 2009  blog on “Managing Performance”)

The fourth “idealistic” performance model described by Bouckaert and Halligan is the “performance governance” model, which offers a prominent role for citizens.  None of the countries covered by the book had such an approach in place at the time it was published in early 2009.  This model was more of a prediction by the authors.  However, subsequent to the publication of their book, three of their case study countries have launched such initiatives:  United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States

This model differs from the “performance framework” model in that the framework model focuses on government while the “performance governance” model focuses on a broader policy ecosystem to include citizens, non-profits, and the private sector as well.

In this model, multiple interdependent actors contribute to the delivery of public services.

British business author, Stephan Osborne, describes “new public governance” as a “plural state where multiple inter-dependent actors contribute to the delivery of public services and a pluralist state where multiple processes inform the policy making system.”

Bouckaert and Halligan say there are several strands of performance governance:

  • The broad and diverse movement to embrace “joined up government, horizontal management, whole of government, integrated governance and more generally collaboration and networks.” And . . .
  • “The engagement with the citizen as governance becomes more externally focused and encompasses the movement to engage citizens in performance measurement and re-evaluation of performance in an democracy.” This includes deliberative democracy and stakeholder analysis.

Defining the value added of networks is one key challenge for performance governance.  American academic Robert Agranoff writes that it is possible to measure collaborative performance along four perspectives:  specialists, the participating organizations, the network itself, and the network outcomes.

One way to operationalize the notion of “value added” in networks is to look at it through the lens of a “production of welfare” framework that goes beyond economy, efficiency, and effectiveness to also include equity, participation, advocacy, and innovation.

The performance governance model extends beyond the performance framework model in that it consists of co-governance, co-management, and co-production with the third sector and the public/citizens (and possibly adds the elements of co-design, co-decisions, co-implementation, and co-evaluation as described in the framework model).

Interestingly, the performance governance model is reflected in an institutional mechanism gaining popularity in the U.S. called “national strategies.”  This approach began as a congressional requirement for national defense in the late 1990s and was used more widely in the homeland security arena under President Bush.  It was also used in several domestic arenas, such as the 2005 National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza.  However, it is also being promoted again by Congress as part of the pending healthcare reform legislation, which requires the development of a national strategy for quality improvement in healthcare.

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