State Programs are an Effective Mechanism for Performance Appraisal

15 may 2017

“Our agenda for today is to discuss the key challenges faced by the system of state governance when it comes to implementing strategic documents, and to share experience with using the new instruments,” announced deputy director of the Analytical Centre Svetlana Ganeeva in her capacity of the moderator of the “State Governance 2.0: Pursuing the Priorities” discussion held as part of the Days of Leningrad Oblast in Moscow agenda.

Experts noted that virtually all regions have developed strategies for social and economic development, but, for all that, approval of a strategy alone does not mean it will be successfully implemented. The existing system of public administration does not allow for full-scale implementation of strategic priorities: some mere 30% of projects are accomplished within specified time.

“The strategic planning machinery does not work, even if strategies themselves are quite efficient”, says the Deputy Chairman of the Leningrad region government and the Chairman of the Committee for Economic Development and Investment Activity Dmitry Yalov, who believes that to make these strategies work, a few tasks first need to be accomplished. “The strategies need to be as precise as possible, because comprehensive strategies prove to be downright ineffective. The strategy implementation plan must also be concise and accurate,” Mr. Yalov said. “And, moreover, the chief executives need to be keen and diligent in their work, and deal seriously with the existing problems”. He notes that it is also important to maintain a working connection between the state programs and the projects, synchronizing them with the budget process.

“State programs are a mechanism that can be used not only for spending budgetary funds, but also for performance appraisal in different areas”, says first deputy head of the Department for Economic Policy and Development of Moscow Dmitry Presnov. Depending on the source of funding, state programs can be divided into three categories: municipal budgetary funds, federal and non-budgetary public sources (48%). The expert is convinced that virtually all state programs are management tools for specific industries. And as far as the authorities’ performance assessment system is concerned, all of our state programs have target indicators which are either high level or low level, Mr. Presnov explains.

The expert believes that there is a need for a mechanism for continuous system monitoring. “What is important for us is that these should be managed indicators. To this end, in Moscow, an analytical system where all indicators are entered daily has been created. This system also facilitates work with open data,” the expert said. Mr. Presnov spoke about the external control exercised by members of the civil society who can always take picture of what exactly goes wrong with their phone camera and forward to the "Aktivniy Grazhdanin" (Active Citizen) website. There is also the administrative and technical inspectorate, which is in charge of supervising and inspecting government activities.

Expert with the Analytical Centre Tatiana Gorovaya outlined one of the key problems related to design of state programs. “As state programs are developed, the key problem featuring through the process was personnel. People could not figure out what it was and there was no possibility for them to learn speedily. Today this problem is being actively dealt with, project management is being widely introduced,” the expert explained. There are also certain difficulties with getting documents approved, with uniform reporting standards and a uniform system of coordination for all authorities of all levels,” concluded Ms. Gorovaya.

The event became a starting point for further debate on the “State Governance 2.0: Pursuing the Priorities” which will also be hosted by the Analytical Centre for the Government of the Russian Federation.