BFR Commission Begins Its Work

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Illinois-state-seal[1]

The newly reated Budgeting for Results (BFR) Commission began its work last Friday on their charge to issue recommendations and guide the implementation process, and timeline, for Illinois’ new budgeting process. The Commission has three directives: 1) advise the governor on the state’s goals and outcomes; 2) propose a percentage of the budget to be allocated for the state’s goals and outcomes; and 3) review existing mandated expenditures. On November 1, the Commission will release its first report to the Governor, making final recommendations on outcomes, allocations and mandated spending. 

The Commission is a diverse group drawn from the private, public and charitable sectors, chaired by Illinois Sen. Dan Kotowski and includes John Bouman (Executive Director, Shriver National Center of Poverty Law) and Jim Lewis (Senior Program Officer, The Chicago Community Trust.) John Bouman serves on Donors Forum’s Board of Directors and is co-chair of the Public Policy Committee; Jim Lewis is a member of the Public Policy Committee.  Recognizing the need for community representation on the Commission, Donors Forum recommended and supported Mr. Bouman and Mr. Lewis’ appointments. Their expertise and high level perspective on the needs of the nonprofit sector will help ensure the Commission fulfills its obligations.

Members will be breaking into three groups over the next month to establish recommendations for: Outcomes, Allocations and Mandated Expenditures. On November 1, the Commission will release its first report to the Governor, making final recommendations on outcomes, allocations and mandated spending. 

The state has shown some early progress. The Governor’s Office of Management & Budget (GOMB) analysts have completed SMART training; sub-goals and logic models from all agencies have been submitted (with the Dept. of Human Services leading the way with best practices); finally, the State is in the process of reviewing consultancies interested in helping the State with its change management efforts.

However, challenges remain. The government acknowledged their timeline was aggressive, requiring the Commission to make its recommendations quickly; metrics have yet to be developed; stakeholder engagement and outreach continues to be difficult; and funding is a distinct need.

But despite these hurdles, Commissioners appeared eager to play an active and leading role in establishing BFR as a rational measuring stick for the state. The Commissioners asked difficult questions: How exactly will the state plan to address grassroots engagement? How can the Commission can make recommendations to put all revenue on the table, not just General Funds and particular special funds?   Echoing a Donors Forum concern, Commissioners questioned the feasibility of achieving their directives in the timeline provided, by November 2011. 

For further questions, and opportunities for philanthropy to become involved, please email Laurel O’Sullivan, Vice President Public Policy (laurelosullivan@donorsforum.org).

 ~Laurel O'Sullivan, Vice President, Public Policy

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