Government Performance Management Systems: Case Studies From South Asia

Partial approaches are akin to arranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic. In a dysfunctional system, looking for pockets of excellence is a futile exercise. In many cases, you can get temporary results by focusing on some part of the organization or even some government departments, but you can be sure, just like a waterbed, that the inefficiency has travelled to another part that is currently not under scrutiny. Therefore, I have long argued that governments must have an integrated performance measurement system.

How to Avoid Four Fatal Flaws When Designing Your Government Performance Management System

Most “Government Performance Management Systems” suffer from serious conceptual flaws that have regularly proven to be fatal. For example, often there are no consequences for “good” or “bad” performance in government. Thus, even a good performance measurement system is a waste of time.  In addition, performance measurement systems in government lack: (a) upfront prioritization of goals and objectives; (b) upfront agreement on how to judge deviation from targets; and (c) focus on the whole of organization.

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Meaning of ‘Performance’ in Government Performance Management

Most governments around the world are working on improving the performance of their government agencies. It is clear that the ‘performance’ of a country’s government has emerged as a key determinant of the competitive advantage of nations. The race among nations is being won not by those nations that have more resources or ideas. Rather, the outcome of this race among nations is largely determined by how effectively nations use their resources and how well they implement good ideas and policies. This task is usually achieved by a performance management system in the government.

Seven Steps for Creating a Bottom Line in the Government

The Challenge

Absence of an objective, credible and meaningful bottom line for government agencies is arguably the single biggest challenge in managing government. Most of the management problems we observe in government agencies are ‘symptoms’ resulting from the missing bottom line in this sector.

How to Foster Innovation in Government Management Systems

Little wonder therefore that governments around the world want to be seen promoting innovation. However, based on my experience, government efforts in this area can be divided into two broad categories: Most of the governmental resources (money and time) are used for promoting innovation by non-government actors, and only a small amount is allocated for the innovation programs meant to encourage management innovation within the government itself. The former category represents innovation encouraged ‘by’ the government and the latter innovation generated ‘in’ the government.

How to Design Effective Team Targets in Government

The Challenge

Government is famously a team sport. Almost everything (really) important we do in government requires effective teams. Whether it is reducing child mortality, disaster management, fighting opioid crisis or stopping money laundering. The list is indeed long and familiar.

How to Prevent Soft-targeting in Government Performance Management Systems

It is, therefore, hardly surprising that the preference for “soft-targets” is a near universal phenomenon. Anyone designing a government performance management system (GPMS) must assume we humans have a preference for soft targets.

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Prajapati Trivedi Senior Fellow (Governance) and Director, Economic, Social and Sustainable Development Directorate
Commonwealth Secretariat
Secretariat, London,
United States

Prof. Prajapati Trivedi is a Senior Fellow (Governance) and a Director, Economic, Social and Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat, London. Previously, Professor Trivedi was an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB), where he directed a project on ‘Regulating the Regulators’ and was the Faculty Chair for the Management Programme in Public Policy (MPPP). In addition, he was also a Visiting Economics Faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Prior to joining ISB, from 2009-2014, he worked as a Secretary to the Government of India in the Cabinet Secretariat, where he was responsible for designing a highly regarded whole-of-government performance monitoring and evaluation system for government departments and reporting the results to the Prime Minister of India. He worked as a Senior Economist with the World Bank from 1995-2009; Economic Adviser to Government of India (1992-1994) and a Chaired Professor of Public Sector Management at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (1987-1992). He received M.Sc. (Economics) from London School of Economics in 1972 and Ph. D. (Economics) from Boston University in 1985. He is author of four books and several academic papers.

 

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