Challenging the NPM Ideas About Performance Management: Selectivity and Differentiation in Outcome‐Oriented Performance Budgeting
29 Pages Posted: 6 Jul 2015
Date Written: August 2015
This paper shows how the performance budget of a local government organization, in this case a province in the Netherlands, can be attuned to the specific task characteristics of the programmes in these budgets. Three ways of alignment are suggested: differentiating between standardized and complex programmes; focussing on the politically most relevant programmes in order to avoid information overload; and distinguishing between the types of performance information in terms of the role of the province in the programme (facilitator versus executor) and the stage in the policy making cycle (policy development, policy elaboration or policy execution). These suggestions challenge the generally straightforward NPM rationale of performance budgeting, in which standardized outputs are directly related to resources. Our empirical research shows on the one hand that the redesigned programme budget based on the above principles received substantial approval of its users, i.e., the provincial councillors. On the other hand, as regards the use of this programme budget the picture is rather diffuse, i.e., the majority of the councillors indicate that they use the information rather intensively, but its formal use in official Council and Council committee meetings remains limited.
Keywords: NPM, performance budgeting, performance management, programme differentiation, the Netherlands
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