Program Classification for Performance-Based Budgeting How to Structure Budgets to Enable the Use of Evidence

Submitted by on Tue, 04/12/2016 - 15:03

This guide provides practical guidance on program classification – that is, on how to define programs and their constituent elements under a program budgeting system.

Program budgeting is the most widespread form of performance budgeting as applied to the government budget as a whole (Robinson 2011). The defining characteristics of program budgeting are:

  • Funds are allocated in the budget to results-based “programs.” For example, the education ministry’s budget provides allocations of funds to a primary education program, a secondary education program, and a tertiary education program, while the environment ministry’s budget includes a nature conservation program and an anti-pollution program.
  • “Line item” controls – limits imposed by the parliament or the ministry of finance on the amounts ministries can spend on specific types of inputs (such as office supplies, travel, and utilities) – are radically reduced, although certainly not entirely eliminated.
  • Good performance information on programs is collected and used in the budget preparation process to assist budget decision makers to determine how much money is allocated to each program.


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