Based on using an underpinning visual model (a DoView)The approach is based on using a comprehensive visual model drawn in a particular way (an outcomes DoView). This visual model can then be used to identify some, or all, of the following: the agency or sector outcomes being sought; the steps (outputs) being used to achieve them; priorities; indicators being measured; direct agency accountabilities; and how impact is going to be measured.
The DoView visual model can be used by agency staff to identify the specific elements that are needed to populate existing statutary and administrative budget reporting documents. The DoView approach has a much lower cognitive load (the amount of mental effort required to undertake a task) than the traditional approach of trying to identify these elements without the benefit of a visual model.
The DoView visual model can then slowly be introduced to higher-level decision-makers as a tool for use by them in strategic decision-making.
An innovative integrated approachCountry and state-level public sector budget allocation and performance management systems have differing statutory, administrative and reporting requirements. Regardless of these differences, however, the DoView Outcomes Theory approach can provide an innovative addition to any budget allocation process. Aspects of the approach can easily be 'bolted-on' to any existing budgeting system without having to amend existing statutory and administrative requirements.
Adds value in any budgetary settingThe DoView Outcomes Theory approach adds value because it: 1) makes the budget allocation job easier by using a visual model to underpin the budgeting process; 2) encourages clarity about accountability by identifying indicators directly controlled by the agency as its accountability indicators but still lets the agency talk about higher-level not-necessarily controlled indicators; and, 3) provides a robust conceptual framework to ensure that any technical flaws in the budget allocation system can be identified and ultimately remedied.
Such technical flaws, which violate outcomes theory principles, can create unintended consequences. For instance, the problems that arise from artificial siloization where such silioization is not actually present in the underlying relationship between strategies and outcomes within a sector. An example of a symptom of the siloization problem is that it makes it difficult to locate synergistic key driver strategies which can achieve multiple higher-level outcomes all at once.
Five key componentsThe five components are: a) prioritizing where to spent the money; b) detailing exactly what it will be spent on; c) getting the spending authorized by the appropriate authorities; d) tracking whether the money has been spent on the right thing; and, e) evaluating the impact of spending the money and feeding this back into the next round of prioritization and budget allocation.
Public sector budgeting systemsAllocating public expenditure to different government functions involves a set of five components.
These are covered by steps in the DoView Outcomes Theory approachEach of these components in the budget allocation process is included within a step in the DoView Outcomes Theory approach.
The only exception is component c. getting the spending authorized by the appropriate authorities. This aspect of the public sector budgeting process is likely to be very specific to the particular statutory and administrative setting in which budget allocation is taking place. However, even in this part of the process, the visual DoView model can, in principle, be used as a supplement to the formal decision-making processes (passing authorization bills) used by authorities. It can enable decision-makers to get a more sophisticated picture of how money is going to be spent than they can from just using the current text-and-table based statutory budget documentation in use.
The steps in the DoView Outcomes Theory process
Step 2 - Identifying priorities
Take these priorities and enter them into whatever statutory or administrative reports you have to produce that set out priorities.
Step 1 - DoView visual outcomes model
Use this model to identify your outcomes and feed these into whatever budgeting reports are used to describe agency or sector outcomes. If possible use the visual model in discussions with high-level decision-makers and stakeholders.
Step 3 - Line-of-sight outputs-outcomes
Take the list of outputs and feed it into whatever statutory or administrative reports you need to produce in which outputs are listed.
Step 5 - Imact assessment
Feed these impact assessment evaluation questions into whatever impact assessment documentation you need to provide as part of the budgeting process.
Step 4 - Indicators and accountability
Feed all of these elements into your statutory or administrative budgeting reports.
Step 6 - Reporting back (optional)
Feed this information into whatever documentation you are required to provide about your monitoring and impact evaluation results.
Tips for progressively implementing the approach into your public sector budget allocation system
Embedding the process
DoViews of other agencies and sectors can be built and used to generate the elements which are needed to populate the other parts of the budget process. You might also start building a very high-level DoView just showing the high-level outcomes for the government or state. Start to introduce a wider range of high-level decision-makers to working directly with DoViews visualizing the outcomes for the agencies or sectors for which they are responsible.
Ultimately it might be possible to adjust some formal statutory and administrative requirements to create efficiencies by allowing the DoView visual model to be used in place of some existing planning requirements. For instance, a DoView marked-up with indicators and targets could be used as part of the formal documentation for what an agency is required to do.
It's a staged process
You might start with just one government agency or sector. Build the outcomes DoView for that agency or sector and experiment with how it can be used to identify the elements which need to be fed into the existing statutory documentation being used in your particular setting. Start introducing the visual DoViews to one or two higher-level decision-makers who like using visual approaches.
Building capability and capacity
It is the same with building comprehensive DoViews for use within public sector budget allocation systems. Part of your change management process needs to be planning for building a team of experts (small at first) who can work with agencies and sectors to build DoView-type models of sufficient quality.
Using a DoView in high-level outcomes documentation
Using a DoView to focus decision-makers' outcomes thinking
Using a DoView to develop detailed outputs documentation
A much more accessible, easier and faster way of working with outputs is to build a DoView of what is being attempted at the outputs level and then use this to identify the outputs that should be included within the outputs schedule. more
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