News & Insights
GOVERNMENT FUNDING WILL HINGE ON PROVING OUTCOMES – NOETIC GROUP
Tuesday, 25 March 2014
Increasing pressure on the public service to find savings and justify spending means it must improve its accountability, according to a new report from the Noetic Group.
The latest Noetic Note says few government organisations can demonstrate benefits from delivering large and expensive programs of work, and this is unlikely to be tolerated in the new era of fiscal responsibility.
Noetic Group Chairman and Note co-author Andrew Balmaks says government organisations must identify intended and delivered gains from investments up-front.
“The Federal Government has made it clear that this will be a tough Budget for all departments; all nooks and crannies are being examined to find savings. It will become increasingly important for them to illustrate how spending equals results.
“This is not easy to deliver. Some benefits are hard to measure, which is why a plan for monitoring investment needs to be established at the outset.
“A big project like an Information Technology infrastructure refresh can be difficult to account for – the return on investment might not be immediately recognised in faster work flow or increased productivity. Greater effort is needed in identifying measureable benefits from the start of the process, before you make an investment decision.
“Money is only going to get tighter and managers will be held accountable for evidence of a real impact on productivity and ultimately real benefits for Australians from the taxpayers’ investment. The onus will be on them to show how an injection of money at point ‘a’ resulted in an overall improvement by point ‘b’,” he said.
Mr Balmaks says the accountability message must also be heeded by all groups who rely on government funding at any level.
“Noetic Group has worked with Victorian, ACT and Federal Government departments and applied these principles to the not-for-profit sector. The reality is that tangible and measurable evidence of improvements will be needed to justify further investment by government in programs and projects.
“The Treasurer has stated the ‘age of entitlement is over’ – while he might be thinking of broader interests, there is certainly a message for all of Australia in that: if we seek Government investment, then we must be prepared to show bang for their bucks.” Mr Balmaks said.
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