Linking Performance Measurement to Budgeting in the Justice Sector


ICMA is bringing its expertise in performance measurement and crime/violence prevention to a new project in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region. The project involves conducting research on the practice of performance measurement and performance budgeting in the criminal justice sector in four countries and providing a roadmap for change.

The research focuses on Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, and Mexico—all of which have enacted criminal justice reforms and taken steps to ensure accountability, but all of which lack the ability to link the financial resources devoted to the justice sector with actual performance outcomes. Budgets for public order and safety, including the justice system, continue to increase, but performance continues to be poor.

The objectives of the research are to:

  • Describe the political and institutional context in which performance-based budgeting occurs in the justice sector—specifically the courts and prosecutors
  • Identify the institutional conditions and processes that could facilitate effective integration of modern performance-based budgeting concepts and practices with improved judicial performance
  • Apply lessons learned in each country to identify the possibilities and challenges in data collection, human resources, the budget process, and use of judicial indicators
  • Propose a common framework to closely link performance-based budgeting, internal processes in the court system, and outcomes in the justice sector for adaptation and replication throughout the region.

The work plan calls for ICMA to:

  • Analyze documents and quantitative data for each country, conduct interviews with key actors, and convene focus groups to validate information collected from other sources.
  • Offer workshops in each country and a regional seminar in Washington, D.C., for stakeholders and policymakers to shed light on the challenges identified in the research and the possibilities for change. Stakeholders include judges, prosecutors, court administrators, academics, and legislators.
  • Initiate other knowledge-sharing activities, including an online discussion group and wiki on the Knowledge Network hosted by ICMA, an academic research paper, and a handbook or toolkit for local practitioners to guide policy and organizational changes that can strengthen the linkage between performance measurement and budgeting.

The research results can be used to promote sound practices and knowledge sharing in the region and to identify needs for training. And the project identifies leading practitioners who are interested in continuing the discussion of performance-based budgeting in the justice sector and who can serve as a resource for future efforts.

Anticipated beneficiaries of the research are national-level ministries and departments concerned with judicial and budgetary matters, civil society organizations that work on governmental reforms and anti-corruption initiatives, participants in criminal and civil cases and claims, and the general public.

The research and work products are funded by a grant from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to Deloitte Consulting LLP with ICMA as a sub-grantee. The project supports the objectives of the USAID-funded Strengthening Public Financial Management in Latin America and the Caribbean program, whose purpose is to increase understanding and raise awareness of public financial management challenges in the region.

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