keskiviikko 13. helmikuuta 2013

Twenty years and what?

Twenty years and what?

After twenty years of both success and need for reform the Finnish performance management system is again under re-construction. This time with an aim to make it more strategic, lighter, more horizontal and more joined-up.

The core problems in the Finnish state government include the fact that the ministries work in a very siloed way. The fact that the vertical performance management has been working relatively well has actually probably contributed to this problem. But besides the structures being fragmented also the main core processes are too separate from each other. The current central government reform is actually looking for solutions to this, but the reform of the performance management system hopes to be able to help as well.

One of the ways to make the performance management system more strategic is to link it closer to the Government Programme implementation process. Meaning that in the future the targets coming from the Government Programme will play a stronger role in this steering system than they do today. This together with emphasizing the importance of less but strategically more important targets,. changing the performance management cycle from a one-year cycle towards a four-year cycle where the first year of the Government Programme has more weight than the other three of the same Government Programme period, is hopefully a way to make the process lighter but the steering more efficient.

At the moment we are testing in five pilots the new principles that have been approved for the Finnish performance management. We hope to be able to tell soon how these principles turn into concrete action. One thing that makes us at the moment rather convinced that we are on our way to something better is that we have had a network of people interested in performance management reform work along us for two years. These about 100 people have tested our ideas as well as created and tested their own ideas along the way and this has formed the path for us, much better possibilities for success we feel than if we had been doing this only inside the walls of the Ministry of Finance.

Katju Holkeri

keskiviikko 30. tammikuuta 2013

Brainstorming and Pinpointing in London on 24-25 January


Brainstorming and Pinpointing in London on 24-25 January
Change is more a permanent condition than a passing situation. The steering systems and structures of government have to thus work seamlessly, strategically and be agile. The organisations have to be able to be sensitive to change and have foresight in complex environments involving multiple stakeholders. In the Finnish state administration many large reforms and development projects are on the way to develop steering systems, structures, leadership, customer-orientation, evidence based policy making and a more joint administrative culture.
The main target of the Governments for the Future Project is to share experiences of five administrations (Austria, England, Finland, Scotland and Sweden) about the central governments readiness to meet current and future challenges of the society and to map those concrete problems and development challenges, and eventually to search through co-operation for solutions as well as best practices to the main challenges. The project started in spring 2012 and a small group of representatives from the administrations have met and worked together in London (06/2012), Helsinki (10/2012) and now again in London (24-25 January 2013).  
The Institute for Government (IfG), the independent British “think tank” charity organisation, ( organized the London event.  The workshop was structured under the title of improving systematic use of evidence in policy making (EPM) and it contained six sessions. At first, Professor Christopher Pollitt introduced us to the theme by presenting history of EPM and by summarizing that the EPM is rather old (introduced in 1960s) but complex issue. This view was also recognized by many of the participants. Professor Pollitt is participating to this development project also in a wider role as a discussion facilitator and a critical commentator. During the workshop he raised interesting academic views into conversation and highlighted lessons learned from previous attempts to solve challenges in the world of EPM.
Informal and fascinating discussions between country representatives were spiced by interesting country cases from every participating administration as well as presentations from the IfG and Nesta, the independent British charity organization with a mission to help people and organisations bring great ideas to life ( Country representatives also had the possibility to reflect on the issues and draw further conclusions and classifications by brainstorming and using pinpointing/neuland approach. As a result, the group created a mind map of clusters of the most important, interesting and challenging areas that connect to the evidence based policy making. This mind map gives us goodground to build further our thinking in our try to seek answers in this complex environment.
In conclusion, the team Finland would like to warmly thank our hosts, especially the director Peter Thomas, and all the participants for interesting discussions and pleasant time in London! Next time we will meet in Edinburgh on 11-12 March. A theme of that meeting is innovation and learning.   
Markus Siltanen