Using resources efficiently and aligning decisions to agreed-upon fiscal goals and auditable procedures is central to aligning the budget and finance plan to the overall agency strategy. Related monitoring relies on having data about agency capacity, service effectiveness and the impact of services on desired outcomes for people served. Methods that agencies should use to collect the needed data include surveys of people served, stakeholders and staff, quality control data from crucial points within operational processes and statistical data related to ongoing experience such as staff turnover and child, youth and family recidivism. The budget and finance plan should answer the following questions, which will inform and link to the agency’s information services plan:
- Do those making resource-related decisions have access to the data that they need on an ongoing basis?
- Does the agency’s leadership team use a logic model or data dashboard to understand the relationships between resources, organizational capacity, service quality and outcomes for people served?
- Does the agency’s leadership regularly look at the data - do they understand it and the connection to outcomes that would establish whether or not the desired resource ROI is being achieved?
- Does the agency shift funds and change services or eligibility requirements based on this data (e.g., provide additional tools to field staff that will improve safety and efficiency; eliminate or modify underused services)?
- As children, youth and families are impacted by agency services and as their needs evolve, does the agency re-balance and evolve its services based on this data?