Glossary of Terms
Benchmark (see also Measure): A measure of results against which an organization compares itself. Typically, the benchmark is the level of results achieved in an organization using an accepted best practice, and other organizations seeking to emulate their results use them as a benchmark.
Benchmarking: The comparison of actual performance achieved against those achieved by an organization using an accepted best practice.
Budget: A composite of strategic decisions made by elected leaders for how to best use resources to achieve the Priorities of its citizens.
Budget Instructions: A document provided to Departments as a guide for preparing Offers. The Instructions may include a Request for Offers; instructions regarding how to handle administrative costs, dedicated funds, etc.; how to use the offer template; or other specific instructions to assist the budget office in doing their job of compiling a budget.
Budgeting by Priorities: A process, originally designed by the Public Strategies Group, for creating budgets that focus on achieving specific results with strategies that provide the highest value for the dollar.
Causal Factor: Something that contributes to a Priority happening (or prevents it from happening). It should be based on evidence (research, experience, or sound logic). It does not need to be something that government in general - or the jurisdiction - is responsible for, or has control over. The causal factors are presented visually as a "cause and effect map" showing their connection to the Priority.
Example: Economic stability of the community
Effective response to incidents of crime, fire, and natural disaster
Fair and timely justice process
Cause and Effect Map: A visual representation of the pathway to the Priority. Using words or images, it helps viewers understand the cause-effect connection between activities, strategies, factors and the Priority. Backed by evidence, it quickly communicates what is known to work in accomplishing the Priority. Cause and Effect maps are included in Requests for Offers.
Citizen: A general term which is meant to include residents and businesses too.
Demand: The estimated level of need for a service, product, or activity.
Indicator (see also "Measure"): A measure, or a combination of measures, that allows the observer to know whether the Priority is being achieved. Three indicators are included in the Requests for Offers for each Priority. Ex: "Crime rate" as an indicator of public safety "Teen pregnancy rate" as an indicator of public health "Average trip time" as an indicator of mobility
Innovations Fund: Money specifically allocated to invest in one-time changes focused on improvement.
Mandate: A legal requirement that a jurisdiction provide a specific service, sometimes at a specific level.
Measure: A numerical expression documenting the quality or quantity of a resource, process or product, or the impact of the process or product.
Offer: A proposal by a Department in response to a Request for Offers indicating what they will do to produce the Priority, how much it will cost, and how success will be measured.
Example: 911 response system
Job-training program for prisoners
Community block-watch program
Price of Government: the price of government is established through the formula which equals all taxes + fees + charges divided by all personal income, or through a close examination of what money is available to spend.
Priority: A statement indicating what citizens want from their government. It is written in terms that the average citizen might use.
Example: I want to feel safe where I live, work and play
Purchasing Strategies: A set of actions chosen to achieve a Priority. A strategy is based on an understanding of (or assumptions about) the cause â€“ effect connection between specific actions and specific Priorities. "Being strategic" means choosing actions from among the options available that will have the greatest or most direct affect on a Priority or multiple Priorities. Strategies could include actions that the jurisdiction might take directly, as well as actions that the jurisdiction might take to influence the actions taken by others. Purchasing strategies are included in Requests for Offers.
Example: Implement community-oriented policing techniques
Prepare incarcerated offenders for successful re-entry to society
Engage in regional emergency preparedness planning
Results Team: A group designated by a jurisdiction to create Requests for Offers , to rank offers based on evidence of effectiveness and to recommend the market basket of offers the jurisdiction should buy.
Request for Offers: Produced by Results Teams for each Priority; shows a Results Team's understanding of what is most likely to achieve a Priority and how that would be measured; used as basis for Departments to make offers. Requests for Offers include a description of the Priority sought, the cause and effect map, three indicators, and purchasing strategies.
Round One Offer Ranking: Results Teams' ranking of offers according to best value for the dollar to achieve Priorities without regard to mandates or dedicated funds.
Round Two Offer Ranking: Results Teams' final rankings of offers that include consideration of mandates and dedicated funds.
Scalability: The process by which Departments indicate how much of a result they can produce at various price levels. Sometimes contrasted with "thinning the soup" where reductions in funds are made but no change in expectations regarding service levels.
Strategic Plan: A long range (at least 3-5 years) statement of direction for an organization, which identifies vision, mission, goals and strategies, as well as measures which will show progress made in achieving goals.
Target (see also "Measure"): The desired level for a specific performance measure.
Vision Statement: An inspiring, challenging and meaningful statement that describes the future of the organization as seen through the eyes of the customers, stakeholders, employees, and citizens.