Tuesday, August 30, 2016

CPBB Teams with Toledo Regional Chamber to Bring Priority Based Budgeting to the City of Toledo, Ohio


"The Toledo Chamber’s jointly funded venture with the City is the first of its kind public-private partnership in the world to bring Priority Based Budgeting into a community."


At the Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB), we're constantly impressed and amazed at just
how innovative local government communities can be. Through our concepts of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting, we've partnered with communities to define exactly what the community is in business to achieve and then prioritize scarce resources (tax dollars) to meet those community results. This work has allowed over 120 cities, counties, school districts and special districts across North America to completely redefine their community.

We’re proud of our work assisting dozens of cities and counties across North America fundamentally change their approach to resource alignment through Priority Based Budgeting (PBB). PBB contributes to a community’s long-term financial sustainability and allows communities to better serve their residents in the most effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner possible. The City of Boulder, Colorado recently stated that "priority based budgeting is the "framework" in which all budget decisions are made."

The CPBB is now working with the City of Toledo to bring priority based budgeting to the city. What is extremely unique about this venture is that this project was made possible with partnership and financial assistance from the Toledo Regional Chamber. This represents the very first P3 (public-private partnership) priority based budgeting project in North America!

The City of Toledo is now the 3rd municipality in Ohio to implement priority based budgeting, joining the City of Cincinnati and the City of Blue Ash in this innovative approach to ensuring a city’s long-term financial sustainability and will ultimately allow the City of Toledo to also serve its residents in the most effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner possible. 

This is first part of a three-part blog series documenting the Priority Based Budgeting process that the City is undertaking, culminating in the launch of online tools that will enable a “new lens” on how the City can use it’s resources for good.

In this first article, the focus is on: “What is Priority Based Budgeting, Why do Communities implement this practice, and where is the City in the midst of its implementation.”

At its core, Priority Based Budgeting is a process to ensure that your community is getting the best bang for the taxpayer dollar. At the end of it’s work, the City of Toledo will have the data, powered by a sophisticated software model, to marshal and re-direct all of a community’s resources (our taxes, our people, our public and private institutions) to dramatically improve how we achieve safer communities, healthier people, sound infrastructure, efficient service delivery, thriving local economies and the Results that serve the betterment of society.

Priority-Based Budgeting was declared a Best Practice by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), urging every local government in the world to approach resource allocation decisions in the context of what matters most to it’s community. In 2009, the Center for Priority Based Budgeting was created as a mechanism to help local governments implement PBB, as nothing else existed within local government public finance that truly is scalable, transferable and effective. And our work in assisting over 120 city and county local government communities, of different geographies, demographics and economies, across the US and Canada, successfully implement this best and leading practice substantiates the demise of the myth that little can be replicated across local government communities.

At the beginning of 2015, over 80 communities across North America have implemented Priority Based Budgeting (PBB), impacting over 11 million citizens across the US and Canada. Now in 2016, over 120 cities, counties, school districts and special districts will be practicing PBB, using the process and tools to reshape the way all of a community’s resources are leveraged to achieve Results, and inviting citizens further into an authentic role of influence and participation.

Priority Based Budgeting is a unique and innovative approach being used by local governments across the Country to match available resources with community priorities, provide information to elected officials that lead to better informed decisions, meaningfully engage citizens in the budgeting process and, finally, escape the traditional routine of basing "new" budgets on revisions to the "old" budget.  This holistic approach helps to provide elected officials and other decision-makers with a "new lens" through which to frame better-informed financial and budgeting decisions and helps ensure that a community is able to identify and preserve those programs and services that are most highly valued.  

The underlying philosophy of priority based budgeting is about how a government entity should invest resources to meet its stated objectives. It helps us to better articulate why the services we offer exist, what price we pay for them, and, consequently, what value they offer citizens. The principles associated with this philosophy of priority based budgeting are:
• Prioritize Services. Priority based budgeting evaluates the relative importance of individual programs and services rather than entire departments. It is distinguished by prioritizing the services a government provides, one versus another.
• Do the Important Things Well. Cut Back on the Rest. In a time of revenue decline, a traditional budget process often attempts to continue funding all the same programs it funded last year, albeit at a reduced level (e.g. across-the-board budget cuts). Priority based budgeting identifies the services that offer the highest value and continues to provide funding for them, while reducing service levels, divesting, or potentially eliminating lower value services.
• Question Past Patterns of Spending. An incremental budget process doesn’t seriously question the spending decisions made in years past. Priority based budgeting puts all the money on the table to encourage more creative conversations about services.
• Spend Within the Organization’s Means. Priority based budgeting starts with the revenue available to the government, rather than last year’s expenditures, as the basis for decision-making.
• Know the True Cost of Doing Business. Focusing on the full costs of programs ensures that funding decisions are based on the true cost of providing a service.
• Provide Transparency of Community Priorities. When budget decisions are based on a well-defined set of community priorities, the government’s aims are not left open to interpretation.
• Provide Transparency of Service Impact. In traditional budgets, it is often not entirely clear how funded services make a real difference in the lives of citizens. Under priority based budgeting, the focus is on the results the service produces for achieving community priorities.
• Demand Accountability for Results. Traditional budgets focus on accountability for staying within spending limits. Beyond this, priority based budgeting demands accountability for results that were the basis for a service’s budget allocation.

The core CPBB concepts of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting are truly inspiring a new wave of municipal fiscal stewardship. A complete revolution in how local governments utilize their limited resources to the benefit of the communities they serve. 

This "New Wave," the fundamental paradigm shift in municipal financial stewardship, must be accepted if local governments are to be financially viable and able to create the types of communities their citizens are proud to call home.

Local government communities must consider a completely different perspective. In order to achieve success and accept the challenges that are ahead, we must see more clearly how to manage, use, and optimize resources in a much different way than has been done in the past.  


The City of Toledo has just launched its implementation of Priority Based Budgeting, with the development of its Program and Services Inventory. In essence, the City is hard at work defining “what are the vast array of services that our government provides, and how much do each of them cost?” Not surprisingly, for most cities they will identify hundreds of services, and some identify over one thousand! Government is complex, and its service offerings are vast!


This is a crucial first step in the process, and creates the base layer of information upon which the remainder of the process will build. From here, the City will establish and define the very “Results” that define why the City government is in business – why it is relevant, in the eye’s of it’s taxpayers, as a service-providing entity collecting and making use of the citizen’s resources. Each city service will go through a rigorous evaluation process, quantifying the degree to which these services contribute to your community’s objectives – in essence, are they being spent efficiently on programs that make the City safer, it’s citizen’s healthier, it’s economy stronger, and it’s infrastructure more effective. In the next blog, we will continue to document the City’s progress towards these ends.

A final word…

The Toledo Chamber’s jointly funded venture with the City is the first of its kind public-private partnership in the world to bring Priority Based Budgeting into a community. Certainly across the United States, as cities become more adept at gathering and measuring data, at putting data to use to create safer and healthier cities with thriving economies, indeed as cities are becoming “smart cities” it is this kind of multi-sector collaboration that is driving an optimistic future.

There was an era when local government took on the responsibility of upholding our basic societal contracts, and our core civic duties, as it was the only institution capable of doing so. With the proliferation of non-profit organizations, and mission-driven organizations in the private sector, it has become clear that there are many, many stakeholders in our cities whose aim is also to enhance our safety, our health and well-being. It is through public-private partnerships like the City’s with its Chamber in this case that will profoundly reshape the way your City optimizes the use of its citizen’s resources towards a better Toledo. We couldn’t be more proud than to be part of this team.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

CPBB Makes ELGL Choice Awards: Top 50 Local Government Companies



"PBB communities are driving innovation, sharing information, experimenting, advancing lessons learned, and fulfilling the complete mission of PBB to unearth, marshal and re-direct resources towards the betterment of our communities."



The Center for Priority Based Budgeting is psyched and honored to come in at #34 on this list.

We're proud of our work assisting dozens of cities and counties across North America fundamentally 
change their approach to resource alignment through Priority Based Budgeting (PBB). PBB contributes to a community’s long-term financial sustainability and allows communities to better serve their residents in the most effective, efficient and fiscally responsible manner possible. The City of Boulder, Colorado recently stated that "priority based budgeting is the "framework" in which all budget decisions are made."


-->
Priority-Based Budgeting was declared a Best Practice by the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), urging every local government in the world to approach resource allocation decisions in the context of what matters most to it’s community. 

In 2009, the Center for Priority Based Budgeting was created as a mechanism to help local governments implement PBB, as nothing else existed within local government public finance that truly is scalable, transferable and effective. And our work in assisting over 120 city and county local government communities, of different geographies, demographics and economies, across the US and Canada, successfully implement this best and leading practice substantiates the demise of the myth that little can be replicated across local government communities.

At the beginning of 2015, over 80 communities across North America have implemented Priority Based Budgeting (PBB), impacting over 11 million citizens across the US and Canada. Now in 2016, over 120 cities, counties, school districts and special districts will be practicing PBB, using the process and tools to reshape the way all of a community’s resources are leveraged to achieve Results, and inviting citizens further into an authentic role of influence and participation.


ELGL recently conducted a survey which led to the creation of the Top 50 Local Government Companies. The results and ELGL announcement article are posted below.

ELGL Choice Awards: Top 50 Local Government Companies


Our “award-winning” members have spoken on the best companies working in the local government arena. The inaugural ELGL Choice Award recipients have been selected using two criteria: the number of nominations received by each company (75%) and an evaluation from the ELGL management team (25%).

Based on member feedback, the ELGL Choice Award will become a fluid list that is updated quarterly using the above criteria. Anyone (ELGL member or not) can submit a nomination via the form at the end of this post.


We're also thrilled for all the innovative companies who made this list, but especially our many local government friends and partners who made this list along with us. So we're also giving a huge shout out to CPBB friends and partners who also made this list.

#1 - What Works Cities is a national initiative to help 100 mid-sized American cities enhance their use of data and evidence to improve services, inform local decision-making and engage residents.


#5 - National Research Center, Inc. (NRC) has worked with hundreds of local governments to provide them with full-service survey research and evaluation needed to move their communities forward.


#23 -  The Novak Consulting Group (TNCG) provides innovative thinking that strengthens organizations by bringing solutions into focus.


#50 -  SAFEBuilt offers customized full-service building department programs & supplemental services in short- and long-term engagements to public agencies.



video 





Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.


  





Tuesday, August 16, 2016

ACTION, DATA, EVOLVE! 3 Ground Breaking Moments from the CPBB (Un)Conference



"PBB communities are driving innovation, sharing information, experimenting, advancing lessons learned, and fulfilling the complete mission of PBB to unearth, marshal and re-direct resources towards the betterment of our communities."


Just one week ago, our 5th Annual (un)Conference on Priority Based Budgeting concluded, and to quote one of our attendees who has been to all five “it was easily the most complete Conference, and also the most forward-looking.”

That phrase, “forward-looking,” was the best compliment we could have been paid, and it’s on that theme that I wanted to (not so ironically) look back at three pivotal events that took place at the Conference, and discuss their implications for the PBB movement:

1.     The PBB “Master Plan” has evolved (again!)
2.     Launch of the Institute
3.     PBB 2.0 – Launch of the PBB Community and the power of it’s users

Evolution of the Master Plan: from “implementing PBB” to “using PBB data to make positive change”

In 2008, Jon and I had one simple plan: bail out Jefferson County, Colorado from their multi-million dollar deficit. The roots of PBB came to life to fulfill that mission.

By 2009/2010, ICMA, GFOA, NLC and the Alliance for Innovation urged us to broaden our ability to serve many local governments surviving the Great Recession. The Center for Priority Based Budgeting (CPBB) was created “to produce a replicable and scalable methodology and toolset for all local governments” to use. No joke – the height of our ambition at the time was 10 communities; we believed that if we could equip 10 communities with the tools of PBB, we’d change the world! Well, the world’s axis didn’t shift after those 10, but something else equally important took place: PBB was declared “best practice” by ICMA, urging all local governments to implement. The world didn’t change; but a movement was sparked!

Entering 2016, over 100 communities had implemented PBB. Our mission had evolved to “serving as many organizations as possible, as swiftly as possible and our processes and tools evolved to fulfill that purpose. ResourceX was created to provide an online platform that dramatically reduced the time an organization spent “implementing PBB,” enabling leaders to shift their focus to “using PBB data to make change.” And the dramatically evolved OnlinePBB toolset has made the data immediately actionable – literally pointing leaders directly to their opportunity areas for dramatic resource re-allocation.

As Jamie Rouch from the City of Branson, Missouri put it, the evolution of the PBB Master Plan has necessarily shifted from helping communities “implement PBB, to using PBB data to make change!


What this year’s Conference opened up, and what I’ll detail further in the next two sections, is a new frontier of tools from the Center for Priority Based Budgeting, from ResourceX , from the PBBi (the “Institute”), and from our partner organizations that will complete the vision of a Prioritized World: when every community can unearth, marshal and re-direct all of our community’s resources (our taxes, our people, our public and private institutions) to dramatically improve how we achieve safer communities, healthier people, thriving local economies and the Results that serve the betterment of society.


The launch of the Institute - PBBi: All Roads Lead to Rome

To achieve this mission, it was critical that we open up all possible options for communities to implement PBB, as well as for communities to master their wealth of PBB data to make change.

To this end, we launched the PBBi at the Conference with two stated objectives:
1.)  For 1st year PBB implementers: provide training, coaching, templates and certification for organizations wanting to take control of their own implementation, with assistance along the way
2.)  For experienced PBB users: provide advanced training for communities taking action on their PBB data.

For the 1st year implementers, we realized that for many communities, they desired an opportunity to immerse their leaders and staff in the core principles of PBB, such that they could become masters to lead the process on their own, with coaching and guidance from CPBB.

Opening up Institute offerings that are more “class-room” / “group-learning” style, enables many organizations at once to learn the methodology and become credentialed with the skills required to master the use of the online tools. Fundamentally, this opens up a never-before-possible pathway for many more organizations to implement.

This is key to the overall vision – again, back in 2009 we had 10 communities launch the movement… now, over 120 are actively reshaping their communities with PBB. With PBBi, we can effectively serve many more, and on their own terms. In the build-out of ancient Rome, all of it’s people across all of it’s geography were led to the central enlightening hub of civilization (it’s “city center”) by it’s ingenious design of a road system where it was said that “all road lead to Rome.” No matter what road is appropriate for your organization (group-learning / classroom style, self-led implementation, or facilitated consulting), all roads lead to your PBB success.

For experienced PBB users, the evolution that must take place is the shift from “identifying opportunity areas” to actually taking action, creating implementation plans, and executing change. During the Conference, Eric Keck, City of Englewood’s City Manager (and the first city manager to implement PBB in two different cities) gave a riveting presentation on the merger of his Fire Department with the City of Denver’s. It was clear that a public-public partnership opportunity existed and would create dramatic efficiency; however, envisioning an implementation plan to address labor issues, public perception, and actually realizing the savings born from the partnership was key to execution.

This is illustrative of the type of training and focus that communities can get from the PBBi – advanced instruction and pin-pointed guidance on executing change. In short, PBBi will train you how to act on your PBB opportunity areas.

PBB 2.0the launch of the PBB User Group Community, the HUB, and peering into the future

The Conference also saw the launch of a distinct “Track 2” for the advancement of Priority Based Budgeting. This track was built specifically for users of OnlinePBB, and coalesced around three key themes: ACTION, DATA, EVOLVE.

ACTION

Action in OnlinePBB centers on the following:
1.)  Minimizing time spent on “implementing PBB” in order to maximize opportunity to devote time to “using PBB data to make positive change”
2.)  Putting you, the users in control of your PBB experience
3.)  Making your PBB data actionable

The mark of success at the Conference was the amount of time devoted to discussion of how communities are taking action and driving change. And the user group delved deep into the reporting capabilities in OnlinePBB including the 5 Policy Questions, Program Cost Analyzer, and the RAD 2.0 – each designed to produce actionable reports customized for each department to review the programs that represent clear opportunity for resource reallocation.

DATA

Consider the following explanation of how the digitalization of information is a catalyst for innovation. It comes from Peter Diamandis, in his book BOLD:

      “With digitalization, the pace of information exchange increases, causing acceleration in the pace of innovation.
      This type of exchange was slow in the early days of our species, when all we had as a means of transmission was storytelling around the campfire. It picked up with the invention of writing and, later, of the printing press and the photocopier, then exploded with the digital representation, storage, and exchange of ideas that computers enabled.
      Anything that can be digitized can spread at the speed of light (or at least the speed of the Internet). This spreading has followed a consistent pattern of exponential growth.”

The launch of the PBB Community website, “the HUB” can be thought of as a virtual campfire for sharing PBB lessons learned and experiences, or as Mike Seman put it: “it’s the PBB 2.0 User Group 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.” 


EVOLVE

Here was an awesome moment: on the third day of the Conference, towards the end when attendees were in information overload, and some had flights to catch, an audience member took advantage of the open Q&A to ask “what are your plans for integrating Fiscal Health forecasting analysis into PBB.”

Not only was it a great question (and you’ll have to “stay tuned” for the answer, coming up in our Technology Road Map), but it was even more important that the question was even asked. The PBB Community has come to expect and even anticipate the evolution of PBB. And it’s completely exhilarating to see not only the tools of OnlinePBB evolve, but more importantly the instincts and ambitions of PBB implementers evolve!

To that end, the integration of Capital Improvement Planning, rate studies, workforce analysis
(workforce development and succession planning), public private partnerships, “Managed Competition”, Internal Service Funds, target budgeting, budget reporting and linking performance metrics (“priority measures”) to programs were among the Hot Topics discussed

Clearly, the show-stopper unveiling was OpenPBBdata – reframing the conversation of “open data” and fiscal transparency, withing the context of Priority Based Budgeting. Strathcona County, Alberta is leading the charge on Open Data and championing innovation on this front.

So, in short, in case you missed it (or want to relive it!), the “forward looking take-aways” from this year’s unConference:
·      PBB implementers have ushered in an evolution to the PBB mission, from “implementing PBB” to “using PBB data to make positive change.”
·      The final barriers to joining the PBB movement are being removed, with the launch of PBBi (the “Insititute”) which offers an on-boarding track to train first time implementers, and an advanced track leading implementers to envision and execute real, sweeping, positive change.
·      PBB 2.0 communities are driving innovation, sharing information, experimenting, advancing lessons learned, and fulfilling the complete mission of PBB to unearth, marshal and re-direct resources towards the betterment of our communities.

For those who missed the Conference, and are interested in OnlinePBB, the Institute, or joining the PBB movement, email efabian@pbbcenter.org to schedule a webinar for your organization.



Keep an eye on the CPBB blog for further updates. Sign-up for our social media pages so you stay connected with TEAM CPBB!

If you're thinking of jumping into the world of Fiscal Health and Wellness through Priority Based Budgeting we would certainly like to be part of your efforts! Contact us to schedule a free webinar and identify the best CPBB service option(s) to meet your organization's particular needs.