|With the economy struggling and the country, provinces and municipalities making painful spending cuts to rein in their budgets, the importance of thoughtful decision-making based on tangible information has never been greater. Yet government entities often make programmatic decisions without data, or without sufficient data, to be sure that they are spending their resources wisely.It’s not that they wouldn’t prefer to use data. Consulting firm Deloitte reports:|
In a November 2011 Government Business Council survey sponsored by Deloitte, more than 70 percent of federal government managers surveyed believe budgetary cost constraints are increasing the importance of data collection as it relates to making decisions about their programs; however, 58 percent of respondents report that using the data externally in a “meaningful” way remains challenging.
While Deloitte surveyed US government managers, the difficulties it uncovered such as insufficient staff and lack of technical expertise, are certainly shared by their Canadian counterparts up here. Ironically, many managers are faced with the need to downsize their staffs to reduce costs, but don’t have adequate data to know which positions create the greatest value.
Collaborative government expert Vincette Goerl recommends a strategic, next-generation management approach to making sure scarce funds are being directed in the most efficient way possible. Recommendations include:
Translating recommendations into practice requires a bean-counter outlook and a commitment to one-step-at-a-time improvements.
Data has always been collected. However, now, more than ever, government agencies have an opportunity to utilize data in a truly meaningful way that will benefit the multitudes of constituents. Focusing on transparency and collaboration of data will also enable the best use of the outcomes as a means of allocating resources.
“Using Data to Drive Missions and Meet Mandates.” Deloitte. Deloitte. Web. 29 Jan. 2012.
Laurent, Anne. “Building a Vision of Data-Driven, Next-Generation Government Management | CGI Initiative for Collaborative Government.” CGI Initiative for Collaborative Government | Partnering for Mission Results. Initiative for Collaborative Government, 19 May 2010. Web. 29 Jan. 2012.
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