Twenty years and what?
After twenty years of both success and need for reform the Finnish performance management system is again under re-construction. This time with an aim to make it more strategic, lighter, more horizontal and more joined-up.
The core problems in the Finnish state government include the fact that the ministries work in a very siloed way. The fact that the vertical performance management has been working relatively well has actually probably contributed to this problem. But besides the structures being fragmented also the main core processes are too separate from each other. The current central government reform is actually looking for solutions to this, but the reform of the performance management system hopes to be able to help as well.
One of the ways to make the performance management system more strategic is to link it closer to the Government Programme implementation process. Meaning that in the future the targets coming from the Government Programme will play a stronger role in this steering system than they do today. This together with emphasizing the importance of less but strategically more important targets,. changing the performance management cycle from a one-year cycle towards a four-year cycle where the first year of the Government Programme has more weight than the other three of the same Government Programme period, is hopefully a way to make the process lighter but the steering more efficient.
At the moment we are testing in five pilots the new principles that have been approved for the Finnish performance management. We hope to be able to tell soon how these principles turn into concrete action. One thing that makes us at the moment rather convinced that we are on our way to something better is that we have had a network of people interested in performance management reform work along us for two years. These about 100 people have tested our ideas as well as created and tested their own ideas along the way and this has formed the path for us, much better possibilities for success we feel than if we had been doing this only inside the walls of the Ministry of Finance.