Planning and managing for results
Expectations for a results focus in planning and managing apply across the state sector
Internationally, many governments have focused on managing for results in recent years. In New Zealand it has been part of Ministers' expectations for Public Service departments since 2001. The provisions of the Public Finance Act 1989 (as amended in 2004) and the Crown Entities Act 2004 have reinforced these expectations for departments and extended them across Crown entities. Consequently expectations for a results focus in planning and managing now apply across the state sector, reflecting New Zealanders' interest in continuous improvement in the design and delivery of publicly funded services.
In essence this approach is about maximising results for the available resources in every aspect of management. A brief outline of this development in management thinking is included here to provide context.
- have a good understanding of the environment that they operate in
- have a clear vision of why they exist, what they want to achieve and how well they are achieving against this
- plan their work while keeping in mind a clear set of objectives, activities, outputs, outcomes and measures of success
- deliver what they have planned - meeting standards of timeliness, quality, accuracy and in a manner consistent with state sector ethics and values
- take stock of progress by monitoring, measuring, reviewing and evaluating as they go
- learn from success and failure, and modify what they do and how they do it in response
- report publicly on results, promoting transparency to Parliament and the public and providing a basis for dialogue about future decisions
- have an adaptive and innovative culture and seek continuous improvement.
When organisations are planning and managing for results they:
In performance terms, organisations that are managing for results focus on understanding, reviewing, and learning from the efficiency and effectiveness of their operations. Below is a representation of the "continuous improvement" cycle that a focus on managing for results creates.
Figure 1 Continuous Improvement Cycle
The Managing for Outcomes initiative has been the vehicle for promoting and supporting results focused planning and management in the Public Service. The expression Managing for Outcomes appears throughout this guidance because we have drawn on the Managing for Outcomes guidance developed and tested for the Public Service over the last four years. Information developed to support the Managing for Outcomes initiative can be found through the references on page 15.
In this guidance we focus on "planning and managing for results" instead of "managing for outcomes". Prior to the passage of the Public Finance Amendment Act 2004 and the Crown Entities Act 2004, the expression "outcomes" was used synonymously with "results". The language of the two Acts has now been expanded to include three related concepts of "outcomes", "impacts" and "objectives", so we use "results" in this guidance to include all three concepts. They are explained further below.
Your entity may be more familiar with using the concepts of goals, strategic initiatives and so on. It's your choice of course how you describe the elements of your plans - but in doing so bear in mind the Crown Entities Act 2004 concepts of outcomes, impacts and objectives.