Evaluation of Managing for Outcomes

CPDS Home Contact Summary paper

Attachment A: Managing for Outcomes in Queensland
(Outline of a 1997 Queensland Treasury paper)

Managing for Outcomes addresses the use of accrual output budgeting. It suggests an integrated approach to planning, budgeting and performance management with a goal of quality, client responsive services, value for money and improved resource allocation. Managing for Outcomes will involve: accrual accounting; funding outputs (not inputs); better management of government's purchasing and ownership functions; and improved information. Accrual accounting allows better information about assets, and about full costs.

The starting point of Managing for Outcomes is community needs, on the basis of which government identifies outcome statements; to achieve which a desired set of outputs are selected. These outputs are then delivered for a set price and to a specified standard. Performance information is collected to assess this. Government's role as owner and investors can be clarified - where a key consideration is that the level of investment in assets be right. Information to allow this will be produced. As an effective purchaser, the government needs information from accrual accounting, and also to specify quantity, quality and timeliness of services required. Purchase prices will be informed by the cost of outputs, and purchases will be within overall available resources. Government's role as purchaser is to: set policy objectives / outcomes; decide on outputs to produce outcomes; and monitor results. Agencies as providers must: provide advice to assist purchasing decisions; establish full costs of outputs; deliver outputs with value for money; measure and report performance; and improve future performance. Outputs may be delivered directly, or purchased elsewhere.

From 1999-2000, resources will be allocated for agreed outputs. The transition will involve 10 steps: identification of outcomes (by government through SSP etc); identification of existing outputs; agencies (with Ministers) identify output changes within corporate planning process; revised outputs proposed - within forward estimates limits - and costed; adoption of accrual accounting; outputs costed on accrual basis; trial financial performance reports prepared; negotiating an accrual accounting budget; updating financial performance reports; and ongoing budget monitoring and reporting. This will provide an opportunity for agencies to revise their internal performance monitoring systems, and align with external methods. Clarifying responsibilities of different parties is the main strength of purchaser / provider split.

Managing for Outcomes will have benefits of: better service delivery, value for money and information; more strategic approach to policy; specification / measurement of outputs - and innovation in producing outputs; allowing leadership towards common vision; resourcing on the basis of outputs for desired outcomes; allowing review of management practices and information systems; aligning internal and external performance management; and clarifying roles of purchasers and providers. Managing for Outcomes builds on program management, and allows integration with strategic planning, resource allocation and evaluation. Strategic planning will identify outcomes and outputs; budget process will allocate the resources.

Attachment B:

Managing for Outcomes: Output Specification Guidelines.
(Outline of a 1997 Queensland Treasury paper)

Outputs are defined as discrete services or products produced by an agency and purchased by the government for external customers. From 1999-2000 agencies will be funded on the basis of outputs. Outputs are to be identified and costed in 1997. Identification will be based on: analysis of the status quo; and review of existing outputs considering government endorsed outcomes. A checklist for specifying outputs is suggested. Outputs will be grouped into logical classes. Output performance measures will involve: quantity; quality; timeliness; location; and cost. Principles for performance measures are suggested. Performance targets need to be defined, and used for evaluating performance. Indicators of outcomes are also required. Output statements are needed for each output.

Managing for Outcomes: A Guide to Outcome Statements.
(Outline of a 1997 Queensland Treasury paper)

Outcomes are the effects on, or consequences for, the community of the outputs purchased by government. Government identifies and articulates required outcomes, and then determines outputs to achieve them. Outcomes may not have a one-to-one relationship to outputs. Government should specify outcomes, with agencies help as part of the strategic planning process. Outcomes indicators must also be identified, and assessed - though this may be difficult / long term and not closely related to particular outputs. Outcomes will be assessed through a coordinated whole-of-government process. Outcome statements should be prepared for each outcome.