Compendium of Strategic Programming
in the Public Amministration


by Franco Archibugi

Alinea - 2005
[only available in Italian]



This compendium has been conceptualised as a text book to be used for formative activities of a short duration concerning strategic programming in the public field. It has been conceptualised as a didactic support of 18 Lectures for short courses promoted by those bodies that desire to prepare their own directors and functionaries to promote and manage a renewal of the public administration according to the criteria of a result-based management.
Naturally, its utility is not that of preparing for an autonomous capacity to introduce methods of strategic programming in public bodies. But its utility is that of well “informing” the courses’ participants as to what it is and how it can be introduced and what there is to be expected – once introduced – from strategic programming in the public field.



Lecture 1
The “public programme”: ten rules for its projection

1. The public programme as object of strategic programming
2. Some logical presuppositions of the programme analyses
3. A “Decalogue” for the construction of public programmes
3.1 Evaluate the coherence with the principles of current or accepted administration
3.2 Individualise the beneficiaries and analyse how they benefit from the Programme
3.3 Define and evaluate alternative methods of interventions of the Programme
3.4 Examine the compatibility of the programme
3.5 Institute the performance and result measurement and the Programme evaluation
3.6 Evaluate the cost-efficiency, cost-efficacy and cost-result relations
3.7 Determine the feasibility of the accomplishment
3.8 Evaluate the availability and the financial feasibility
3.9 Give flexibility to the Programme
3.10 Foresee its own cessation

Lecture 2
Defining the Strategic Programming and its benefits

1. A critical definition
1.1 “the strategic programming is a “discipline”/…”
1.2 “concerning the training of the employment of methods/…”
1.3 “aimed at improving the rationality of the decisions (or actions)/…”
1.4 “in the systematic management of public affairs”
2. Benefits expected from the introduction of the strategic programming
2.1 First aspect: better knowledge of the coherence with the objectives
2.2 Second aspect: better knowledge of the means (and resources) at disposal
2.3 Better knowledge of the final effects of the decisions
2.4 Better knowledge of the compatibility with other decisions of the same decisional subject
2.5 Better knowledge of the compatibility of the decisions with other decisions of diverse decisional subjects, which operate in the same field
2.6 Better knowledge of the costs and results that are indirectly implicated by the decisions of the subject in question
2.7 Better capacity of evaluating the relation between costs and results

Lecture 3
Management and organisation science

1. The “Programming-Programming-Budgeting System” (PPBS) of the 60s
2. The management science as context
3. Organisation science
3.1 The “organisation” as object of study and autonomous professionalism
3.2 The logical foundations of an organisation science
3.3 Organisation science as a result-based science
3.4 Organisation science as a science of efficiency
4. The results and their projection
5. The birth of strategic programming
5.1 Auto-referential evaluation
5.2 Performance measurement: differences between the public and private sector

Lecture 4
Strategic Programming in a new cultural context

1. The more and more clear “delimitation” of strategic programming
2. Aspects concerning the counter-culture of planning
2.1 The planning process facing the problem of uncertainty
2.2 The planning process facing the problem of flexibility
2.3 The planning process facing the problem of iteration
2.4 Strategic planning facing the problem of “limited” rationality
2.5 Strategic planning facing the problem of the critique of the principle of optimisation
3. Towards a new culture of planning

Lecture 5
The current federal American experience and a glance at other systematic attempts

1. The systematic re-launch of strategic programming in the U.S.A.
1.1 The federal American “GPRA” or “result-based” act (or that of strategic programming)
1.2 The importance and feasibility of the GPRA act
2. The public context of American strategic programming: the NPRG
2.1 The “customer-view”
2.2 The “partnership”: the “performance agreements” and reinventing labs
3. Conclusions
4. Other attempts
4.1 The French experience of the LOLF
4.2 The Italian case
4.3 The British case

Lecture 6
The six phases of the cyclical process

1. Strategic Programming as process: in the applications as well as in the studies
2. The essential contents of a strategic programming process
3. The “phases” and “sections” of the process
3.1 The identification of the mission subject or mandate, of the beneficiaries and the stakeholders
3.2 Programme structuring and the connected elaboration of the programme indicators
3.3 Performance measurement and the indicators of efficiency and of result in the process of strategic programming
3.4 Programme projection (or “engineering”), action specification and project management
3.5 Cost analysis and programme budgeting
3.6 Monitoring

Lecture 7
Phase 1: Mandates and missions of the “Programming Units” (PU)

1. The ‘programming units’ in particular and in general
1.1 Multiple plans: a common method for development
1.2 Diversity and homologation of experiences
1.3 Birth of the PU or metamorphosing into the PU
1.4 Critical factors in the introduction of strategic programming in the PU
1.5 Success in the introduction of strategic programming in the PU
1.6 Operational fungibility as a base of the management of the PU
2. Mandates and missions
2.1 The identification of the mandates and/or missions of the PU
2.2 The limited role of formal mandates
2.3 A functional relationship between regulations and practices of programming
2.4 The informal redefinition of the missions
2.5 Preliminary analyses of the stakeholders for the definition of the mission
2.6 The clarification of the mandates and missions
2.7 The ‘mission declaration’

Lecture 8
Phase 2: The Programme structuring

1. Formulation of the strategies
1.1 Characterisation of strategic issues
1.2 How to describe strategic issues
1.3 Bryson’s four approaches for the characterisation of strategic issues
1.4 The text of the “litmus test” for strategic issues
1.5 Formulation and adoption of strategies and plans in order to manage problems
1.6 Desired results and benefits
1.7 Two approaches for the construction of strategies
1.8 Strategic plans
2. The “programme structure”
2.1 The programme and the “programme structure”
2.2 The relation between the objectives
2.3 The programme structure
2.4 General programme structuring
2.5 The programme analysis (and evaluation)
2.6 Programme structures and programme indicators
2.7 Programme structure and matrices of interaction with other programmes

Lecture 9
Phase 3: Measurement of programming performances

1. Objectives and actions as ‘performances’
2. The measurement process on a single programme structure scale
3. A vast gamma of sources for the performance measurement
4. The performance indicators
3.1. Definition of the performance indicators
3.2. ‘Product’ and ‘effect’ indicators
5. Other criteria connected with the identification of the indicators
6. GPRA glossary and concepts concerning objective and performance measurement
7. Interconnection between performance measurement and “engineering” of programmes
8. Definition of performance/means indicators
5.1. Critical attention to the ways of using the separation between two types of indicators: of objectives and of means
5.2. Importance of the performance/means indicators for evaluating the pertinence of public intervention
9. Time indicators of performance/target

Appendix 1: various examples of performance indicators
A. Administrative performances
B. Performances of the employed
C. Performances of engineering and service or product development
D. Financial performances
E. Equipment and infrastructure performances
F. Anticipated performances
G. Performances of the information systems
H. Legal performances
I. Management performances
J. Performances related to the manufacturing and testing of the product
K. Production / dispatch performances
L. Staff performances
M. Performances of the superintendency / purchasing department
N. Performances of product control
O. Performances related to security
P. Performance of quality assurance

Appendix 2: An example of defining performance indicators: the federal Department of Transport (DOT) of the United States
1. Strategic objective no. 1: Security
2. Strategic objective no. 2: Mobility
3. Strategic objective no. 3: Economic growth and commerce
4. Strategic objective no. 4: Human and natural environment
5. Strategic objective no. 5: National security

Lecture 10
Phase 4: Engineering of programmes, projects and operations

1. Programme specification
2. Engineering in the strategic programming process
3. A procedure for the engineering of programmes
3.1 Constitution of a design team
3.2 Characterisation of the projects inherent to the action programme
3.3 Characterisation of the alternatives
3.4 Selection of evaluation techniques
3.5 Development of alternatives
3.6 Executive project
3.7 Comparison of various projects and drafting of a budgeting outline
4. Construction of a flow diagram and a time diagram of a project
5. Guidelines to designing the programmes of action
5.1 Operation related to the definition of the projects
5.2 Operation related to the definition of the resources
5.3 Indicators of every type of action which is projected for the programme attainment
5.4 Final programme verification
5.5 Direct implementation and implementation by degrees

Lecture 11
Phase 4 - additional: Guidelines to the single operations of “re-engineering”

1. The re-engineering as “decomposition” of current operations
2. The process of re-engineering articulated in three steps and nine operations
3. The technological support for re-engineering
4. The “essential” activities and the “key queries” for each of the nine operations of re-engineering
4.1 Operation 1: Redefining the mission and strategic aims
4.2 Operation 2: Identifying the problems inherent in the performances and stabilise improvements to be carried out
4.3 Operation 3: Deciding for re-organisation
4.4 Operation 4: Organising the project conduct
4.5 Operation 5: Analysing the process in order to reorganise and define feasible alternatives
4.6 Operation 6: Choosing the alternative procedure that is to be applied and prepare the documentation
4.7 Operation 7: Planning the management of the new processes
4.8 Operation 8: Preparing the staff to tackle and accept the changes
4.9 Operation 9: Estimating the result value

Lecture 12
Phase 5: Programme budgeting: what it is, and what it serves for

1. Programme budgeting against traditional state accounting
1.1 The ‘budgeting’ within public bodies
1.2 The dissociation of public budgeting from its effective results
1.3 ‘Illusionary’ effects related to the dissociation
1.4 The waste of the resources
1.5 Strategic programming and budgeting within public bodies
2. Towards the public accounting reformation: introducing programme budgeting
2.1 A budget accounting deducted from the various preceding phases of the strategic programming process
2.2 Formal conformity and substantial difference between the PU budgeting structures at diverse levels
2.3 Interaction between programme budgeting structures on a deeper and a higher level
2.4 The interaction between programme structuring and programme budgeting
2.5 Programming budgeting as a means of verifying the coherence of the programme structuring
3. Criteria of the elaboration of programme budgeting
3.1 The congruity of the costs and the targets
3.2 The importance of timing and of the time-costs-results relation
3.3 The connected objectives / instruments relation, also in financial programming
3.4 Comparison between ex ante and ex post budgeting
4. The systemic relativity of budgeting

Lecture 13
Phase 5 - additional: From traditional budgeting to programme (or performance) budgeting

1. Procedure of passing from a public budgeting of (traditional) expenditure to a ‘programme budgeting’
1.1 Corrections to be applied to financial budgeting of public bodies in order to achieve the corresponding programme budgeting
1.2 Difficulties in creating bonds between budgeting resources, programmes, performances and results
1.3 Clarification on essential glossary
1.4 How to make the relation between budgeting financing and performance plans clear and comprehensible
1.5 Necessary information for all political decision-making organisations (governments, parliaments etc.) on different levels
2. The integration into budgeting structures, performance measurements, financial structures and structures of management
2.1 The integration into performance measurement budgeting
2.2 The integration into budgeting structures and authoritative and flexible management
2.3 The integration into budgeting and financial structures

Lecture 14
Phase 6: Result monitoring and controlling systems

1. Reasons for monitoring
2. Results and benefits of the monitoring process
3. Result control
4. The use of monitoring and controlling of the (iterative) strategic programming results
5. Indicators for result monitoring and controlling
6. Ideas for the construction of a results controlling system
7. Performance Measurement Project of the GASB
8. Result control and revision with the stakeholders
8.1 Introduction
8.2 Key indicators of success
9. Monitoring by means of environmental exploration
9.1 Evaluate the intentions, participants and the necessary time
9.2 Identify the key problems
9.3 Analyse the problems
9.4 Create information useful for the decisional process

Lecture 15
Strategic Programming and evaluation: general considerations

1. Programming and evaluation
2. Conditions and general limits of the strategic evaluation
2.1 The epistemological foundations of evaluation
2.2 The motives of the social utility
2.3 The formation of the social values
2.4 The venues of expression of the social evaluation
2.5 The social utility, as far as concerns social evaluation, needs an appropriate evaluation “hierarchy”
3. The institutional conditions of an evaluation system
3.1 Systemic hierarchy of the decision and, therefore, the evaluation
3.2 The complexity of the systems of the objective-action relation and of their effects and impacts
3.3 The evaluation and the action: their circularity
3.4 The explicit-making of evaluation criteria
3.5 The risks of “sub-optimisation”
3.6 The reference to decisions/evaluations at different administrative levels

Lecture 16
Strategic programming on different scales

1. Strategic programming and decisional situations
2. Decisional situations
2.1 The decisional situations do not always require a precise determination of the social value
2.2 “Monetary” value: when is it necessary?
3. More on the risks of some disputable evaluation criteria
3.1 The criterion: “first the budgeting, then the application”
3.2 The criterion of the “basic needs”
3.3 The criterion of “standards”
3.4 The approach on the basis of “technical criteria”
3.5 Indices of financial performance
3.6 The analysis of decisional costs
4. Decisions and information
4.1 The factors of complexity in the decisions
4.2 Expositive systems to help the decision
4.3 Typology of evaluation systems and information systems
5. Procedures of decision that can make the evaluation process more handy
5.1 The element of “threshold” confrontation
5.2 Bonds instead of values
5.3 The method of “simple improvement”
5.4 Performance budgeting
6. Conclusions

Lecture 17
The choice of methods and the evaluation techniques

1. Multiplicity and functionality of the connected decisions and methods of evaluation
1.1 “Availability to pay” and “opportunity cost”
1.2 On the selection of methods
2. Other general considerations on the choice of methods
2.1 The evaluation of the “effects”: importance of the reference to the programme structure
2.2 Different ways of applying the general model of value

Lecture 18
Programming and evaluation: disciplinary implications

1. Towards a system of evaluation more suitable for programming processes
1.1 Programmatic objectives and evaluation criteria
1.2 The case of multi-objective evaluations
1.3 The case of multi-objective, simulated, strategic evaluations
2. The disciplinary implications of evaluation
2.1 The nature and typology of the “effects”
2.2 Analyses and syntheses in evaluation
2.3 The evaluation and disciplinary contents
2.4 The synthesis of the impact evaluation and the new evaluation technologies
2.5 The programming process and its operative “rationality”
2.6 Some conclusions on the disciplinary implications of evaluation and strategic programming
3. Towards a new discipline of strategic programming (and evaluation)