Program Budgeting is the foundational data set for data-driven decision-making through priority based budgeting.
Leveraging your line-item budget
The Line-item Budget is organized to satisfy regulatory standards, create effective budget monitoring and control mechanisms, provide transparency and accountability as a best practice in budgeting. However, it does not provide adequate insights into the costs of providing specific programs, nor arm us with the business analytics needed to open up resource re-allocation and revenue generation opportunities.
Layer in Programs
To get to the answer of questions such as "can we do this program more efficiently," and "are we the best source to provide this service," or "are we charging appropriately to recover our costs for fee-driven programs" requires us to know what programs do we offer, how much do they cost, and how much are we charging.
Leveraging your line-item budget data, we can create an additional layer of data (a “Program Inventory”) to describe the programs offered by your organization, and apply a process technique (Cost-allocation and Revenue-allocation) to produce a fundamentally transformative data-set known as a Programmatic Budget.
According to the Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), “Program Budgeting is an underlying assumption to many of GFOA's budgeting best practices, and being able to connect costs and outcomes associated with specific services is critical to communicating value to citizens.” A program budget shows exactly what the government does, how much it costs, and what the tradeoffs are.
With GFOA’s Shayne Kavanaugh, ResourceX co-founder Chris Fabian established the best practices in creating an effective Program Inventory, as well as executing a consistent and accurate approach to cost (and revenue) allocation to efficiently implement a Programmatic Budgeting approach.
And with the key business intelligence that a Program Budget data set creates, an effective path to “taking action on the data” via trade-off decisions, workforce planning, sourcing and other crucial conversations, became the subject of the Government Finance Review’s journal publication on the topic: downloadable here.
Just as Programmatic Budgeting builds on and makes use of your line-item data to create more actionable insights at the program level; your organization may consider layering additional data in future years to embark upon Priority-Based Budgeting and even Performance-Based Budgeting.
Programmatic Budgeting is a foundational data set that unlocks insights pertaining to program efficiency, service levels, and cost recovery opportunities, and that’s why it’s a Best Practice. In future years, you will be well equipped to consider additional Best Practices:
Layering strategic planning data, outcomes, mission and vision, and connecting them via a Program Scoring process, your organization can unlock the insights of program relevancy achieved through Priority Based Budgeting.
Layering on metrics, input measures and outcome assessments (including citizen satisfaction surveys), and connecting them via measurement assessment, your organization can unlock the insights of program performance achieved through Performance Based Budgeting.
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