Guide to Cascade Performance Budgeting

Cascade Performance Budgeting™ is a system for integrating budget and performance information down through all levels of a department or agency. It does this by linking day-to-day programs activities and their costs to the long-term outcome goals of the entire organization.

The Cascade system and the accompanying how-to Guide provided below were developed by John Mercer, a performance management consultant to governments. Described in the press as “considered by many a foremost expert in performance-based budgeting,” he has been implementing and championing governmental performance budgeting for over 30 years.

The Cascade approach to Performance Budgeting

This 33-page guide includes 24 tables and charts illustrating a step-by-step approach to performance budgeting. It describes how performance budgeting supports effective performance management by bringing real transparency to government agency operations. The process starts with the outcome goals that agencies integrate into their budgets through budget account realignment. It then drives supporting output and other measures down through the entire organization in a series of interconnected performance budgets, until they reach the front-line managers. The system is then linked to the type of day-to-day operations that managers supervise.

The significance of this is that the unit costs of day-to-day program activities are linked to the long-term outcome goals of the department or agency. This is is what agencies will need to do if they are serious about implementing real performance management systems. It is also entirely consistent with supporting the ability of agencies to implement managerial cost accounting systems, such as activity-based costing (ABC).

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