Why should we continue talking about Managing for Results in Latin America and the Caribbean?
This blog was originally published in Spanish on Gobernarte.
Managing for results is a general principle of management that involves using information on results to improve decision-making and strengthening performance. This principle has been widely adopted by the international community since the beginning of this century as a way to maximize the poverty-fighting potential of development assistance initiatives throughout the developing world.
The notion was later expanded to include the entire process of public value creation by governments. It was thought that managing for results would ensure maximum effectiveness and efficiency in government performance, the achievement of government planning objectives, and continuous improvement in public institutions.
Today, it seems that this bet on improved results was a good one. But we understand that the task ahead is monumental: There is an expectation gap between citizen demands for better quality in public services and the governments’ capacity to provide them.
And the gap is further stressed by an increasingly empowered citizenry and a growing middle class. Moreover, the region’s economy has been affected by a drop in raw material prices and other externalities, which may be causing a negative effect. Some governments may therefore need to adjust their public budgets in order to adapt to fiscal unbalances and rising financial risks.
So, more than ever before, we should continue talking about Managing for Results. Our book Building Effective Governments addresses this issue, studying the region’s progress in the implementation of managing for results during the last five years. Despite the management weaknesses that still persist in multiple areas, the advances made point towards an optimistic future.
The book centers its attention on a diagnosis and analysis of the countries’ institutional capacity to implement effective, efficient and transparent public management in each of the five pillars of the public policy management cycle: Planning, budgeting, public financial management, program and project management and monitoring and evaluation.
The study shows that institutional capacities to implement management for development results have positively evolved between 2007 and 2013 in the 24 Latin American and Caribbean countries studied, although in varying degrees. The pillar with the greatest progress is planning, while the weakest pillars are monitoring and evaluation and budgeting for results.
The book ends with 10 recommendations for further strengthening of the managing for results cycle systems. The recommendations include the effective integration of the planning and budgeting systems; the reinforcement of coherence between strategic planning at the national and sectoral level and investment planning; the strengthening of the analysis and management of fiscal risk; the development of monitoring systems based on performance indicators; the building of institutional capacity to evaluate policies, programs and projects; and the establishment of procedures to use the information produced by monitoring and evaluation systems.
We believe the book comes at the right time and demonstrates that managing for results is not a “passing fad”, but an area that concentrates increasing interest and practice in our region. In our opinion, transmitting this “culture of results” will undoubtedly help to reduce the expectation gap between citizen demands and the managing capacity of Latin American and the Caribbean governments.
About the Author:
Jorge Kaufmann is an economist with more than 20 years of experience in international organizations and the public sector. He has served on the European Commission and worked in the Chilean Ministry of the Treasury and the World Bank, among other institutions. In 2006 he entered the IDB’s PRODEV program, rst as a consultant and since January 2012 as part of the full-time public management cluster of the Institutional Capacity of the State Division. His main areas of work have been managing for results, strategic planning, and monitoring and evaluation. He holds a master’s degree in eco- nomics from the Catholic University of Chile, and he pursued graduate stud- ies at Boston University, where he was a visiting scholar. He has specialized in macroeconomics and international trade, public policy, and development effectiveness.