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Are Experts Curbing Public Financial Reform Enthusiasm?


March 22, 2011

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Many experts have warned developing nations for trying too many reforms at once. Governments need capacity: technical infrastructure and human capacity to make reforms sustainable. The “platform” approach is a practice that recognizes these constraints and provide a series of reform steps. The completion of a stage or platform enables the government to move to the next stage. Risk is mitigated. Reform follows a course set by the country context.

So why are so many countries accelerating PFM reform?

We are witnessing some remarkable reforms in FreeBalance government customers. Although, as a GRP provider, with PFM experts, we are supporting these initiatives – it is important to recognize that these are country-driven:

Should we Think of a New Platform Approach?

Projects tend to have preparation, pilot, production and sustainability phases. Should a government begin preparing of the next stage only after the previous stage has been fully rolled out and deemed sustainable? The skill sets necessary for each phase within a stage or platform differ.

PFM reform has a learning curve. Should the time required for a subsequent platform of the same scope be planned for a similar time frame? Should the roll-out of technology to line ministries or sub-national governments take longer than the initial stage with the Ministry of Finance?

A more agile platform approach is needed these approach should include:

  • Overlapping phases or platforms based on government capacity.
  • Recognition of planning can begin for a subsequent phase while completing the pilot of the previous phase.
  • Focus on capacity building so that rolling out reforms will follow a learning curve and accelerate at a standard rate.
  • Flexibility to adapt the goals of the next platform based on current results. For example, the outcome of Platform 1 may result in more information that adjusts the goals of Platform 3.


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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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