Prajapati Trivedi Senior Fellow (Governance) and Director, Economic, Social and Sustainable Development Directorate
Commonwealth Secretariat
Secretariat, London,
United States

Prof. Prajapati Trivedi is a Senior Fellow (Governance) and a Director, Economic, Social and Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat, London. Previously, Professor Trivedi was an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB), where he directed a project on ‘Regulating the Regulators’ and was the Faculty Chair for the Management Programme in Public Policy (MPPP). In addition, he was also a Visiting Economics Faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University. Prior to joining ISB, from 2009-2014, he worked as a Secretary to the Government of India in the Cabinet Secretariat, where he was responsible for designing a highly regarded whole-of-government performance monitoring and evaluation system for government departments and reporting the results to the Prime Minister of India. He worked as a Senior Economist with the World Bank from 1995-2009; Economic Adviser to Government of India (1992-1994) and a Chaired Professor of Public Sector Management at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta (1987-1992). He received M.Sc. (Economics) from London School of Economics in 1972 and Ph. D. (Economics) from Boston University in 1985. He is author of four books and several academic papers.

 

Performance Management versus Perception Management in Government

Often leaders assume that if they create a good performance management system it will be recognized and appreciated by voters for what it is worth and their popularity will go up. Alas, the causal relationship between the creation of a performance management system in the government and perceptions about the performance of the government is not as straightforward as it may seem.

Measuring the Gap between Perception and Reality

Evolution of Performance Management in Government

First, as argued in an earlier column, there is a big difference between comprehensive, whole-of-government approaches (budgeting, performance budgeting, outcome-budgeting and performance agreements) and partial approaches to performance improvement (ISO 9000, Lean Sigma, etc.). Partial approaches are akin to arranging chairs on the deck of Titanic. In a dysfunctional system, looking for pockets of excellence is a futile exercise.

Prajapati Trivedi

Prof. Prajapati Trivedi is a Senior Fellow (Governance) and a Director, Economic, Social and Sustainable Development Directorate, Commonwealth Secretariat, London. Previously, Professor Trivedi was an Adjunct Professor of Public Policy at the Indian School of Business (ISB), where he directed a project on ‘Regulating the Regulators’ and was the Faculty Chair for the Management Programme in Public Policy (MPPP). In addition, he was also a Visiting Economics Faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University.

Implementing Big, Bold Goals (Part One)

In a three-part blog series, I will outline a path that I proposed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Switzerland this past April. This first blog deals with the imperative of converting SDG vision into action and highlights the conspicuous absence of implementation mechanisms in the SDG discussions.

Implementing Big, Bold Goals (Part 2)

This is the second in a series of blogs that outline a path that I proposed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Switzerland this past April. 

Implementing Big, Bold Goals (Part 3)

This is the third and last in a series of blogs (read the first and second blogs) that outline a path that I proposed at a UN-sponsored meeting in Switzerland this past April.

 

How Can Countries Make and Document Progress Toward Multi-National Sustainable Development Goals?

Rethinking Performance Audit Methodology in Government

Increasingly, Supreme Audit Institutions in most countries (e.g., the US Government Accountability Office, the UK’s National Audit Office) are allocating a greater share of their resources in order to conduct Performance Audits of government entities. Yet serious academic work examining the methodological foundations of Performance Auditing is conspicuous by its absence in the extant literature on Performance Auditing. In what follows, I will argue that it is time to rethink the Performance Audit Methodology and offer a possible way forward.

Government Performance Management Systems: Case Studies From South Asia

Partial approaches are akin to arranging chairs on the deck of the Titanic. In a dysfunctional system, looking for pockets of excellence is a futile exercise. In many cases, you can get temporary results by focusing on some part of the organization or even some government departments, but you can be sure, just like a waterbed, that the inefficiency has travelled to another part that is currently not under scrutiny. Therefore, I have long argued that governments must have an integrated performance measurement system.

How to Avoid Four Fatal Flaws When Designing Your Government Performance Management System

Most “Government Performance Management Systems” suffer from serious conceptual flaws that have regularly proven to be fatal. For example, often there are no consequences for “good” or “bad” performance in government. Thus, even a good performance measurement system is a waste of time.  In addition, performance measurement systems in government lack: (a) upfront prioritization of goals and objectives; (b) upfront agreement on how to judge deviation from targets; and (c) focus on the whole of organization.

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Meaning of ‘Performance’ in Government Performance Management

Most governments around the world are working on improving the performance of their government agencies. It is clear that the ‘performance’ of a country’s government has emerged as a key determinant of the competitive advantage of nations. The race among nations is being won not by those nations that have more resources or ideas. Rather, the outcome of this race among nations is largely determined by how effectively nations use their resources and how well they implement good ideas and policies. This task is usually achieved by a performance management system in the government.

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