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Gord Evans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2011, 21:49:25 GMT »
Answer to question 11

This is an important point.  The policy process exists to ensure due diligence and to inform decision-making, not to create a cottage industry for policy analysts and consultants.  A sense of proportion must be applied.  Not every policy initiative requires a full-blown assessment; not every law or regulation (there may be dozens of purely administrative or technical laws) requires an impact assessment.  For decision makers, time is a finite quantity, so control must be exercised to ensure that the right decisions with the right level of analysis are submitted to decision-making bodies in a timely, predictable manner.  Our simplistic rule of thumb used to be that complex, contentious or costly initiatives required an ex-ante impact assessment.

In terms of what Cabinet actually sees, there is no universal standard, but generally a very short summary or decision-making document (perhaps 2-3 pages) will be accompanied by a longer document or analysis paper (perhaps 10-15 pages).  Both of these follow prescribed formats.  Rarely would a full analysis or impact assessment (which may be very long) prepared by the ministry be included as a Cabinet document. 

Answer to question 12

This answer applies to significant rather than purely technical laws.  Prior to even beginning legal drafting, it is important to obtain explicit policy directions from Cabinet for the significant policy issues to be addressed by a law or set of actions including laws.  The policy process, where a formal paper with options, impacts and costs is submitted for approval by Cabinet or a Cabinet Committee, produces this guidance.  Once the guidance has been received (usually in the form of a government decision), it should be translated into drafting instructions.  A drafting team is then assembled, comprising both legal and program officials, and the legal drafting process commenced. 

In many countries, the policy process either does not exist at all or occurs in parallel with legal drafting.  For major laws, this will squander time and resources as numerous unvetted policy assumptions will need to be built into the law.  Moreover, it is very difficult for Cabinet, faced with a lengthy legal text, to determine the full range of policy positions that are embedded in the draft law.  This can lead to unpleasant surprises by the time implementation rolls around.

Answer to question 13

Frans; thanks for this elaboration, which I think underscores how the PEFA framework can reveal, at a high level, whether the core attributes of an integrated policy and financial planning system are in place in a country’s public finance system.  I notice that policy-based budgeting is one of the core PEFA dimensions and you quite rightly mention that several indicators address IPS issues (for example, PI 5, 6, 11, 12 acknowledge the importance of political direction at the outset of the budget process; the linkage with the budget classification system; the inclusion of new policy initiatives and cost estimates in annual budget documentation; the importance of costed sector strategies; etc.).  These are all critical.   

You also mention that PEFA does not assess how policy planning and decision-making systems intersect with financial planning systems.  This gets to the heart of the “parallel universes” problem.  In most governments, there are unique processes that occur at the centre of government but outside the direct purview of the Ministry of Finance (e.g., political priority-setting exercises; preparation of an annual government work plan; approval of policy documents and draft laws; etc.).  The more disconnected these policy and planning processes are from the public finance process, the more likely they are to inflict damage on the government’s fiscal framework.  In a country I recently worked in for the Bank, the two key problems that continually undermined the credibility of the budget included: lack of control over the outer-year implications of public investments and lack of control over the immediate and outer-year implications of the 200+ laws that were sent on to Parliament on an annual basis. 

As you say, some of these non-finance processes would be picked up by drilling down from the high-level PEFA observations.  However, other problems may only come to light with a companion assessment of the core processes at the centre of government and how they do or do not intersect with public finance.  I’m being speculative here, but this type of assessment may enrich even further the growing, comparative information bank and points of departure for reform that PEFA is creating. 
« Last Edit: March 09, 2011, 21:54:17 GMT by Napodano »

petagny

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #16 on: March 11, 2011, 11:36:42 GMT »
Gord & Frans,

I've been following your exchanges with great interest. I've raised this issue before on the Board, but my concern is that PEFA does not go far enough in addressing the relationship between policy-making and budgeting. I acknowledge that the PEFA framework is meant to be a high-level instrument and that it is necessary to 'drill down' on specific areas (public investment management, for instance), but this seems to be more fundamental and part of the essence of budgeting that is not fully captured in the existing indicators (including PI-12). I suppose in the end it comes down to how you define PFM: should it cover policy-making processes or be limited to policy implementation?

Some time back, Matthew Andrews tried to assemble some objective criteria for assessing the effectiveness of policy-making processes and came up with the following:

National policy-making and review process:
•   A national policy-making process exists, producing a national policy product.
•   National policy is reviewed annually, and policy changes are transparent (fiscal and sectoral policy changes).
•   The national policy-making and review process has political and technical dimensions (hence ensuring that policy enjoys political support and is technically sound).

National policy product:
•   The national policy product details, concisely and clearly, multiyear fiscal strategy and clear sectoral priorities.
•   The national policy product provides clear and prioritized policy goals and measurable indicators of those goals.

Connection between policy and PFM processes:
•   Sectoral plans and multiyear budget frameworks explicitly show how allocations reflect national priorities.
•   Budget proposals show how spending requests contribute to meeting national goals.
•   The annual budget document shows how spending allocations contribute to meeting national goals.
•   A formal process ensures that national goal achievement is monitored and that there is (at least) annual reporting on progress in meeting national goals.
•   Ministers have to report to the cabinet on their ministries’ progress in meeting national goals.


Question 14:

Gord, Do you see these criteria as a useful starting point for assessing the policy-making process? Would you add (or subtract) any?



Gord Evans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #17 on: March 11, 2011, 15:32:33 GMT »
Answer to question 14

Thanks for raising this and putting Matthew’s criteria back on the table.  They were thoughtfully developed and should be considered alongside similar efforts to get at this issue.  Your comments recall a number of discussions, and some cursory attempts to get at this issue (all pre-PEFA), over the years with the Bank.  Just for reference, there is a booklet that Nick Manning and I worked on a number of years ago (Helping Governments Keep Their Promises); also note that the previously attached article (from Canadian Public Administration) drew on the results of some Bank-funded research.  SIGMA has also done a lot of work in this area and developed some baselines by which policy-making systems might be assessed and identified the core coordination functions at the centre of government.  But back to your question.
I think there are at least three dimensions that needed to be considered when answering this question: 1. those elements of the policy-financial interface that affect the fiscal plan/budget credibility that could be accommodated by drilling down using the existing PEFA methodology; 2. those elements affecting the fiscal plan/budget credibility that occur outside the PFM system and would be unlikely to be captured through a PEFA assessment; and 3. those elements that may or may not affect the fiscal plan/budget credibility but are fundamental to a sound policy-making system.

I will defer to Frans on the explicit PEFA linkages to Matthew’s criteria, but have a few general thoughts that will hopefully contribute to this discussion.  I suspect that a number of Matthew’s criteria, if missed in a PEFA assessment, would be more due to the scope/depth of the assessment (e.g., an exclusive focus on the Ministry of Finance) than a gap in the methodology per se (i.e., category 1 above).  In other cases, there will be fundamental processes of government that in most cases occur outside the Ministry of Finance that nonetheless affect PFM systems.  The most important ones, in my view, are: the way in which political/policy priorities and commitments are established, reflected in a government work plan and translated into concrete policies and laws; and, the way in which detailed policies/laws/regulations are drafted and approved by government (i.e., category 2 above).  In this instance, as mentioned above, a companion assessment to PEFA would be required to determine if and how these processes intersect with public finance systems.
 
Finally (i.e., category 3), this raises the issue of whether some rough equivalent to PEFA for public policy would be worth developing.  Here, the purpose would be to assess the quality and transparency of the policy-making system as a whole.  This more ambitious effort would encompass not only those elements that intersect with public finance systems (the majority should) but other elements related to good governance.  The art of such an effort would be, and this is where PEFA has succeeded, to find decent, universal indicators that rise above the particularities of individual governance and decision-making systems.  Since the vast majority of governments are based on a cabinet or collective decision-making model which are supported by a unique administrative body (Prime Minister’s/Cabinet Office; also known by many other terms), this may be feasible.  If undertaken, this effort could be linked to the Bank’s work on “actionable governance indictors” which thus far has focused more on civil service and administrative reform.
« Last Edit: March 11, 2011, 16:28:34 GMT by Napodano »

Martin Johnson

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #18 on: March 13, 2011, 11:19:09 GMT »
Hi Gord. Greeting from North Wales (s’mae!)

As with Petangy, I have followed the general discussion with interest but the discussion on PI-12 related issues with particular interest. 

Discussing policy-making and its interface with the budget process in the context of Matthew Andrew’s criteria is helpful and the three categories you put this discussion into are helpful also. I hope this is a debate that has legs and goes beyond our PFM Board.

Given the nature and the detail of the budget-policy link that underlies PI-12, given the ‘different universes’ scenarios that you (and others) refer to (and that many of us are familiar with) and given the high-level nature of this indicator in particular, it strikes me that one should expect to see few scores above C+.

Question 15

My first question, Gord, with your experience, would you also expect PEFA scores for PI-12 to be generally low?

Question 16

Following on from this, my second question is really one directed at Frans. Does the PEFA Secretariat have data on the distribution of scores for PI-12 for PEFA assessments carried out to date?

My own experience suggests to me that PI-12 is not always well understood. When I have come to use PEFAs in some situations where I know the context reasonably well, the score allocated for PI-12 has been too high. I suspect part of the reason for this is that PI-12 may be covering too much ground and may be too high level. This would be consistent in part with your suggestion that the scope/depth of some PEFA assessments in practice may not always capture Matthew’s criteria for those elements of the policy-financial interface that affect the fiscal plan/budget credibility and that could be accommodated by drilling down using the existing PEFA methodology.

Along the same lines, I recently advised on a log-frame that anticipated a movement in indicator PI-12 from C to A for a particular country over a period of just 2-3 years. A case of wishful thinking prevailing over evidence and common sense - or simply the requirements for PI-12 not being well understood. Given the possibility of a country implementing key aspects of reform within the realm of PI-12 without moving across a category of score (which is already the case for the country referred to above), I advised that the log-frame should instead refer to specific process improvements rather than changes in the score for the indicator per se.

Linking this into your discussion and Petagny’s inputs on this, and notwithstanding Franz’s helpful clarification on the policy-budget link within PI-12, I suspect there may be two requirements for presenting clear information on the quality of budget-policy links. The first would be your contention that a companion assessment is required to address your ‘category 2’ issues. The second would be the development of a wider set of indicators for PI-12 to more effectively capture the budget-policy links already inherent within the (very) high level indicator that is PI-12 (so that they are addressed in all PEFAs and not just those that have done an appropriate ‘drill-down’). Aside from delivering more revealing information, this would also address the concern I have raised (if I were to be correct) that PI-12 may not always be well understood (and may be ‘over-scored’) and may also address a potential ‘reform frustration’ issue with PI-12 where very good and positive progress over 1, 2 or more years does not necessarily result in a categorical change in score.

Having got to this point, I feel like I should have a question to ask on the above, given that this is a fireside chat, but I’m not sure I do …… err …… sorry Gord.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 16:28:16 GMT by Napodano »

Napodano

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #19 on: March 13, 2011, 16:36:42 GMT »
To reinforce the point on PI-12 made by Martin, I like to point out that

this indicator is the only one among the others to have 4 dimensions (the others have max 3). Each of them could be an indicator in its own merit with further dimensions underneath.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2011, 18:35:46 GMT by Napodano »

Gord Evans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #20 on: March 13, 2011, 21:14:47 GMT »
Answer to question 15

Hi Martin; my condolences on your favourite football team.  As a non-PFM expert, I will defer to others on commenting on the quality of PI-12 ratings, but this raises a broad issue that could explain why such over-ratings may occur.  This involves the institutional landscape of central institutions and how those institutions relate to the donor and consulting community.   

In governments where the Minister and Ministry of Finance are plugged into and effectively play their role as a veto point in the decision-making process, then a good rating on PI-12 should be valid.  However, for this to happen, the decision-making process itself either has to flow through them (i.e., they are the predominant central coordinating institution for policy and financial planning) or they need to work very closely with the institution that does coordinate the policy process; i.e., the Prime Minister’s/Cabinet Office (this can be two institutions but for simplicity’s sake I’m considering them as a single entity). 

When this is not the case, problems can occur.  For instance, even if fully costed, approved sector strategies exist (and how often does that happen?), these tend to represent highly indicative costings as they are developed at the strategic rather than detailed policy level.  A more informed costing of policy implementation comes to light when the implementing policies, laws and regulations are prepared (a few hundred such documents go through most Cabinets on an annual basis).  If this process, which in most governments is coordinated by the Prime Minister’s/Cabinet Office, remains disconnected from the financial planning process and the Ministry of Finance, then an increasing gap between the fiscal plan (based on approved sector strategies) and implementation requirements (based on approved policies, regulations and laws) will emerge.  Over time, the credibility of the fiscal plan will suffer as its basis becomes less and less relevant to what the Government is doing.  Unless the two primary central institutions are working effectively together, decision makers will not even be aware that this is happening until the problems become acute. 

An interesting side issue to this is: can donors and consultants unintentionally exacerbate this problem?  For instance, if in some countries the IMF and World Bank only work through the Ministry of Finance and assume that their client ministry can effectively coordinate the implementation of massive policy reform programs across government (linked to loan/grant conditions), are they missing half the boat?  If PFM consultants focus exclusively on those processes within the purview of the Ministry of Finance are they doing the same?  And vice versa of course applies equally; when donors/consultants working at the centre of government do not ensure that the Ministry of Finance is fully linked into what they are doing with their client (PM/Cabinet Office), similar problems will certainly arise.

I think this is a long-winded explanation of why integrated planning, however messy, is important.
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 06:16:31 GMT by Napodano »

petagny

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #21 on: March 14, 2011, 08:51:21 GMT »
An interesting side issue to this is: can donors and consultants unintentionally exacerbate this problem?  For instance, if in some countries the IMF and World Bank only work through the Ministry of Finance and assume that their client ministry can effectively coordinate the implementation of massive policy reform programs across government (linked to loan/grant conditions), are they missing half the boat?  If PFM consultants focus exclusively on those processes within the purview of the Ministry of Finance are they doing the same?  And vice versa of course applies equally; when donors/consultants working at the centre of government do not ensure that the Ministry of Finance is fully linked into what they are doing with their client (PM/Cabinet Office), similar problems will certainly arise.

Gord, I think there is a lot of truth in what you say. Particularly in formerly centrally planned economies, IFIs and other donors have focused too much on finance ministries. Under central planning, finance ministries were rarely where the power rested and were simply 'counting houses'. During the transition, few have managed to transform themselves into the powerful finance ministries of the Westminster system or even 'the first amongst equals' of the Dutch model. This has led to much frustration with the progress in implementing strategic budgeting and some examples of strategic budgeting that are merely facades. In Macedonia, the DFID Public Administration Reform Project tried to do something different and work on establishing a policy development and review process at the centre of government, including a system for fiscal impact assessment for all proposals going to Cabinet. Unfortunately, I have the impression that the reforms were not as successful as they might have been, partly as a result of the second problem you highlight - the Ministry of Finance was not fully linked in.

PSCANDIZZO

Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #22 on: March 14, 2011, 21:27:27 GMT »
Dear Gord:

Question 17

how do you see impact evaluation within the framework of integrated planning?

 :)
« Last Edit: March 14, 2011, 22:07:49 GMT by Napodano »

Frans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #23 on: March 14, 2011, 23:23:42 GMT »
Answer to question 16

A short response to Gord and Martin on the PI-12 discussion.

The PEFA Secretariat noted with interest Matthew Andrews suggestions for the Policy-Planning-Finance linkages, but did not take the proposal any further because (1) the PEFA Framework is managed under a hard budget constraint (= total number of indicators) so where would we make correspondingn savings? (2) we do not develop drill-down indicator sets, and I agree that this area may be suitable for development of such a companion set, and (3) the strategy has so far been to ensure stability of the PEFA Framework for steady roll-out, improving understanding of what it already contains and maintain the ability to compare to earlier assessments and measure changes over time.

As for the score of PI-12, the most common score is indeed C+ (27%) with B or B+ being achieved in 21% of assessments. It is particularly dim(iv) that pulls results down whereas dim(ii) does much better than the other dimensions. I attach the database of indicator scores from publicly available assessments so you may investigate for yourself.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 06:19:36 GMT by Napodano »

Gord Evans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #24 on: March 15, 2011, 02:30:23 GMT »
Answer to question 17

The term “impact evaluation” generally refers to an ex-post assessment of a policy or program to determine whether its goals/objectives are being met in a cost effective manner and whether other options exist that would improve the cost-effective delivery of those goals.  It is important to distinguish this term from “impact assessment”, which usually refers to an ex-ante analysis that is reflected in a government decision-making document submitted for review and approval by Cabinet prior to the adoption of a major policy or program change.

In principle, evaluation should be a robust component of any planning system.  In non-integrated systems, there may be parallel evaluations (program evaluations under the purview of the Ministry of Finance; policy evaluations coordinated by Cabinet Office), the results of which may be inconsistent or inconsistently applied.  The existence of donor evaluations in developing countries can further complicate the landscape.  In more integrated systems, evaluation occurs under a single framework with the results informing both the policy and financial planning processes.  In Canada, for instance, Treasury Board oversees the implementation of an evaluation policy affecting every ministry and both policy and financial planning. 

However, the biggest challenge for evaluations is gaining acceptance and commitment to them.  For a variety of reasons, evaluation is very often the weakest link in the planning cycle.  First, the political incentives to criticize objectively the way in which major policies and programs have been managed are only strong in the early days after a new government assumes power (otherwise, the government is publicly criticizing itself).  Second, the results of evaluations are so much after the fact that they do not seem relevant to decision makers who live more in the here and now (i.e., an evaluation of a new policy would need to wait, often for several years, until the policy outcomes of that policy have become evident).  Finally, there are a variety of logistical reasons that limit the quality and quantity of evaluations: lack of an evaluation budget; lack of internal capacity; lack of good quality, comparative, historical data; lack of (as previously mentioned) political incentives.

In sum, while the issue of ensuring an integrated approach to evaluation is important, the more immediate challenge in most governments is ensuring that a credible evaluation approach exists at all.
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 06:23:19 GMT by Napodano »

Napodano

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #25 on: March 15, 2011, 11:13:07 GMT »
On behalf of PFMBoarder moindzemohamed (who has had problem with internet access for the last days in Madagascar) here is a new question for you, Gord

Question 18

"La plupart des pays africains ont des difficultés pour bien élaborer leur budget annuel. Ils éprouvent d'énormes difficultés pour prévoir leurs ressources propres et arbitrer en termes de priorités. Ils ont également des difficultés pour mobiliser l'aide internationale disponible (même si certaines proviennent des bailleurs de fonds) et bien les gérer. Il est facile de constater qu'il existe plusieurs portes d'entrée de l'aide dans ces pays; ce qui n'est pas favorable à une bonne coordination qui est nécessaire pour la budgétisation de l'aide. Je suis alors entrain de me poser des questions concernant les programmes de réformes des finances publiques en cours dans ces pays puisqu'ils mettent de l'avant des systèmes avancés de programmation budgétaires tels que le budget programme et les CDMT. Ces programmes sont -ils réalistes? Il est nécessaire pour élaborer un bon budget d'avoir les résultats à mi-parcours de l'exercice en  cours et ceux des exercices antérieurs (au moins deux ans) pour avoir un bon profil budgétaire. Ces pays n'ont pas l'habitude d'élaborer des situations de l'exercice en cours et de les rendre publics à temps pour aider les diverses parties prenantes. Pire, les lois de règlement des exercices clos ne sont adoptés en moyenne qu'en 3 ans après. Les rapports qui leur sont liés ne sont que rarement publiés. Ne sera-t-il pas prioritaire pour ces pays de mettre en place des activités leur permettant de bien coordonner la gestion de l'aide, de bien élaborer leurs prévisions des ressources, de pouvoir établir à temps opportun les situations d'exécution budgétaire infra annuelles et de les publier ainsi que d'élaborer et les faire adopter les lois de règlement dans une période de 12 mois avant d'entrer dans ces réformes importantes certes, mais qui sont très avancées pour ces pays?"
« Last Edit: March 15, 2011, 15:29:07 GMT by Napodano »

Gord Evans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #26 on: March 15, 2011, 22:42:07 GMT »
Answer to question 18

Merci pour votre question.  Permettez-moi de repondre a la question en anglais.

The question raises the issue of whether it is realistic to pursue more complex reforms in countries where basic policy and financial planning systems function poorly, aid is inappropriately targeted, proposed laws take years to implement, and decision-making is non-transparent. 

Personally, I have a lot of sympathy with this position, which reinforces the importance of getting the basics right before launching elaborate strategic planning and/or program budgeting systems.  Why further complicate things by trying to integrate two dysfunctional systems?  Since donors are most often behind the advocacy of such reforms, this also raises a strong aid effectiveness issue.

There may, however, be ways in which the principles of integrated planning can and should be applied even in systems which are struggling with basic systems.  For instance, simply having the Cabinet Office and Ministry of Finance’s budget department meet occasionally to share problems and co-develop practical improvements (e.g., reducing ministries’ reporting burden; understanding each others’ information needs; creating forums to share information with permanent secretaries) can be very useful.  Ensuring that the official Cabinet document includes a brief fiscal impact statement to be reviewed by the Ministry of Finance is another practical measure. 
Accordingly, I agree that complex integrated planning systems should be avoided in countries which are struggling with basic systems or fundamental transparency issues.  However, I do think there are a number of practical measures where the principles of integrated planning can be usefully applied as part of efforts to get the basics right.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2011, 06:28:41 GMT by Napodano »

Martin Johnson

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #27 on: March 16, 2011, 10:58:45 GMT »
Just a quick thank you to Franz for his response re PI-12 and for the helpful information therein and attached

Napodano

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #28 on: March 16, 2011, 14:16:14 GMT »
PFMBoarders,
time is over to pose questions.

This interview has got well beyond expectation. It has been at the same time:
  • a professional conversation
  • a multi-voice discussion
  • a learning/finetuning opportunity
  • the creation of a knowledge area

Well, Gord, thank you. You have the last word

Gord Evans

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Re: Conversation with Gord Evans on integrated planning system
« Reply #29 on: March 16, 2011, 15:30:07 GMT »
Well, that wraps up the “conversation.”  As a public policy guy, I’ve very much enjoyed my 10-day tourist visa to PFM-land, so thank you Mauro for what turned out to be a busy visit and thanks to all of the outside contributors for such a spirited discussion.  Couple of concluding comments:

The most popular topic involved the lack of and need for a systematic approach to assessing the impacts on PFM systems of the policy decision-making process or, at a more ambitious level, developing an assessment model for public policy that could serve as a counterpart to PEFA or other PFM assessment frameworks.  A special thanks to Frans for helping with the PEFA discussions.  It is worth reiterating his point that it is not PEFA’s job to develop the counterpart assessment framework, as it has its own mandate to deliver, but any measures to explore more fully the way in which the policy process intersects with PFM and vice versa would certainly enhance the capacity of governments to design more successful and coherent reforms. 

There is certainly a lot of work to do in this area; for example, to develop indicators for policy management that could be applied generically across government in the way that PEFA has done.  Part of the reason for this relative lack of progress on policy management reform is simply newness.  Policy management/centre of government reform, as a development strategy, only began to emerge in the mid to late 1990s.  Another problem, perhaps related to the above point, is institutional misunderstanding.

For example, although the World Bank (in PREM) has done some good work in this area, the Bank overall has not figured out how this type of reform should be incorporated into their analytic work on a consistent basis; some public expenditure/institutional reviews look at these issues; others avoid it altogether; in these latter cases, this often conveys the curious impression that the entire government decision-making process falls within the domain of the Ministry of Finance.  DfID almost certainly has supported the largest number of policy management reform projects, but has not yet evaluated systematically the lessons learned or the linkages of these with other reforms, pubic finance in particular.  OECD, through SIGMA, has completed a solid body of work on policy management reforms (e.g., centre of government profiles), but this has not migrated over to OECD’s overall view of public governance which focuses on a variety of topics of interest (e.g., e-government; regulatory reform) but not policy management.

To me, the most curious thing about these misunderstandings/omissions within the development community is that they are at such odds with what actually occurs inside most governments.  Here, policy and financial issues serve (and have for decades) as the twin drivers of government decision-making.  If the necessary connections are not made, and the Prime Minister’s/Cabinet Office and the Ministry of Finance work in isolation, things begin to break down.  In government, policy-making is at the heart of what cabinets do, and does not exist as an obscure component of public administration reform (whatever that means). 

Well, nothing like a good rant to conclude things.  From all of your comments, it is clear that a large number of PFM professionals do understand the importance of these linkages.  I look forward to our future collaboration down the road.  Cheers.

 

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