EGPA location:Speyer, Germany date:10-12 September 2014
In search for efficiency, effectiveness and fiscal sustainability, governments gather more performance information (PI) than ever before. As many of them have sought to incorporate and use this kind of information in budgeting, planning and accountability processes (Curristine & Flynn, 2013), the focus of this paper is on how to map performance budgeting (PB) practices in local governments. Our main question is whether it is possible to derive a Performance Budgeting DNA for local governments. Previous mapping endeavors reveal that measuring (local) PB necessitates a diversified mapping instrument. In order to comply to this recommendation, the OECD Performance Budgeting Survey for central governments (OECD, 2009; 2013), the scale ‘elements of performance budgeting’ applied to Flemish municipalities (Weets, 2012) and the mapping instrument of Demeulenaere et al (2013) applied to Flemish and Italian municipalities are the three sources that have served as preliminary guidelines to construct a refined PB mapping instrument leading to a general index for local governments in which each participating local government is attributed a weighted score, and that enables international comparison. This paper first provides in a brief literature review and some background and clarification on the recent PB reforms in our units of analysis - the Flemish local governments. Subsequently, the three mentioned efforts to map PB practices are highlighted. After explaining data collection methods and the operationalization of the applied methodology, the results of the Performance Budgeting Index are presented and main conclusions are drawn.