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Government Reform: The Colombia and South Africa Examples (Part 3)

Several developing countries are making seemingly breathtaking progress in developing performance management frameworks from scratch. What can we learn from them? Today’s focus is on Colombia and South Africa.

The World Bank seminars this past Spring on international progress in performance management continue to have me mulling about the progress of the performance movement internationally, and how surprised I was that several countries seem to be putting foundations for performance in place at two or three times the speed of more developed countries. Four countries struck me as making notable progress. I’ll summarize two today and two in my next post – along with notes on their commonalities:

Colombia. Diego Dorado, the former director of evaluation in Colombia’s national planning department, described a performance system that might seem like nirvana to professionals in the performance world:

Since 1991 in Colombia, presidential candidates develop a “National Development Plan” for what they promise they will do once in office and when elected, they are required to turn that plan into a legislative proposal that is then voted upon by the Legislature.

The national Planning Ministry monitors and evaluates the implementation of that plan. That agency is relatively small (a central staff of about 45 people, spending about $8.5 million over a five year period).

The President appoints a High Counselor to oversee performance management, who reports directly to him (what a cool title!).

The conceptual model for monitoring and evaluation is based on a “public policy value chain” model (which seems like a logic model, in US-lingo). The monitoring is done on a 6-month basis. Program evaluations are done over longer periods, with citizen engagement as part of the evaluation design.

Dorado notes that there is a strong hierarchical approach to this oversight approach, which has three elements:

  • Strategic policy (e.g., national security, employment, antipoverty efforts – in the US this would be seen as “outcomes”)
  • Sector (dashboards for progress are created within a sector — which in the US might be equivalent to budget functions — and the progress of individual agencies is not assessed,
  • Administrative management (mission-support functions such as personnel and acquisition).

In each of these areas, performance indicators have an accountable person identified and for public services, citizen surveys are done every 4 months. The President meets quarterly with each of his ministers on progress, around the elements of the sectoral dashboards. His cabinet meets semi-annually as a group to analyze progress in key performance areas.

  • Agencies report annually in April to the Ministers Council and year-end results are submitted in an annual report to the legislature each July.
  • A dashboard of indicators is available to Ministerial Council members at this point (the plan is to eventually make it publicly available).

President Juan Manuel Santos attends “sectoral board meetings” whenever possible. He tries to align sectoral goals with the National Development Goals whenever possible.

Dorado summarizes the key elements underpinning the Colombian performance management framework as including:

  • institutional support by all stakeholders for this process
  • a monthly routine of updating data.
  • a regular comparison of info from different sources (statistics, media stories, public perceptions, program evaluation results, etc.)
  • a focus on making progress, not enforcing accountability
  • an emphasis on the use of incentives, and achieving quick wins.

South Africa. Ledule Bosch, the chief of monitoring and evaluation in South Africa said that there were no performance management routines before 1994. That year, a monitoring and evaluation system was introduced, but it was applied vertically in the South African governmental system.

Ten years later, in 2004, the ruling party established Performance Improvement as a priority of government’s agenda. As a result, today, the country:

  • Adopted a Vision 2015 plan, and a medium-term framework covering the 2009-2014 time period.
  • Created a monitoring and evaluation infrastructure. A policy framework was approved in 2007 for the monitoring and evaluation system. In 2009, a governance infrastructure was put in place with the creation of a National Planning Commission and a Ministry responsible for monitoring and evaluation.
  • Results-based management and delivery agreements were introduced in 2010, and a national evaluation plan was put in place in 2011. Twelve national outcomes were defined in 2010.
  • A “Department of Cooperative Governance” has been formed, and there is a focus on setting performance indicators and targets (at the local level?). The organization, however, has largely focused on the supply side, producing performance measures, reporting, and evaluation. The next area of emphasis is to create a greater demand for the use of performance information.

Bosch described a case study of South Africa’s Social Security program, which by law is linked to the achievement of a national outcome (“Priority #3: Increase access to social security services). In that project, the goal was to create an integrated community registration outreach effort to enroll eligible participants in social programs. The project was linked to other national goals and had defined output performance measures (such as customer satisfaction). The monitoring and evaluation united helped the program define key outputs, such as the systemic collection of time series data and the development of a “results-chain” model. Bosch says that the results have not yet been integrated into decision-making processes and that the next steps will be to further build capacity and institutionalize it.

Other Blogs in Series on Government Reform:

Part 1: An International Snapshot of Progress on Performance Management

Part 2: The New Zealand Example

Part 3: Inspirations from Developing Countries: Colombia and South Africa

Part 4: Inspirations from Developing Countries: Kenya and Malaysia

Part 5: Inspirations from Developing Countries: Summary Assessment

Part 6: Insights for the Future of the Movement

Graphic Credit: BusinessesForSale

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Andrew Krzmarzick

I think you should travel to these countries, John, to observe their progress firsthand. 🙂

I am definitely impressed with these models – what would it really take to make this kind of change in the US stick?

John Kamensky

Thanks, Andrew! Just got back from nearly a month in Australia working at the city level on government reform, but visits elsewhere would be fun, as well!