The challenge of prioritisation and alignment in public sector planning and implementation: Literature review
A great deal has been written about the importance of achieving prioritisation in public sector planning, and even more has been written about how this could be done, but most of the latter work focuses on the theory of how this is to be achieved (the assumed characteristics of a successful prioritisation system, the suggested components of a performance management system, etc.). There is little systematic work that considers critically what works, what doesn’t work and why, and how these conclusions might be relevant in the South African context.
With respect to the issue of “alignment”, there is less critical research to be found, nor is there universal agreement on exactly what “alignment” means in the complex environment of the public sector. The term is often used without having a clear definition attached to it. However, two useful conceptualisations of the terms suggest that alignment may be used to assess what is happening within one particular organisation as well as how this dynamic is manifested across the public sector.it is helpful to conceive of alignment as a process, something that needs to be actively and continuously managed, rather than a static structure or regulation. The aim of this research is to undertake a literature review focusing on two areas:
- Approaches, processes and tools that could support more effective plan prioritisation and budget alignment; and
- The utilization of monitoring and evaluation systems and information to support better prioritisation and alignment.