Why doesn’t Public Finance Improvements always improve Citizen Service Delivery?

February 28, 2017 by

My post yesterday described how smart public finances - through improvements in Public Financial Management (PFM) – can lead to better citizen services. The operative word is “can”. Evidence shows that citizen service delivery is complex.  It is somewhat frustrating that “there is surprisingly little academic research on why budgetary outlays are not resulting into better service delivery outcomes (Bandypadhyay, 2016)” Nevertheless, it is clear that governments need to improve more than PFM to achieve better citizen services outcomes.

Smart PFM can improve many aspects of government efficiency and effectiveness. Many observers consider PFM as having cross-cutting impacts. “Effective PFM systems will support the delivery of …objectives but improved PFM systems will not immediately result in an improvement in these areas. Other non-PFM related factors also affect these domains…(Welham et al, 2013)”  These factors are necessary to achieve the full realization of smart public finance initiatives (Williamson and Dom, 2010).

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