Strategic and Sustainable Planning
Over two and a half decades, governments as well as public agencies all across the United States have become increasingly engaging themselves in strategic planning. As indicated by Lipsky (2010), under the guidance and recommendations of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 and Modernization Act of 2010, public service agencies have changed their profiles majoring on public satisfaction. However, it can be argued that over the last decade public services entities have emphasized the use of strategic planning well beyond the recommendations of legislation. According to Moynihan and Pandey (2007), the public has grown in knowledge; subsequently, the demand for high-quality public goods and services has surged. As a response, public service agencies have been compelled to adapt to New Public Management (NPM). However, despite the above-mentioned text, issues regarding strategic planning have always and continue to be related to corporate entities (McLaughlin, Osborne, and Ferlie, 2012). There is a clear lack of information of the noteworthiness of strategic planning for entities that are not affected by competition and market share a factor that requires study.
For years, public service agencies were typically large public Weberian bureaucracies that were accountable for service delivery under political masters. However, since 1993, there has been a significant change considering how public offices have been engaged in delivering goods and services to its citizens. According to Moynihan and Pandey, (2007), public service agencies in the health, transport, and justice departments in the United States have adopted the philosophy of New Public Management (NPM) (McLaughlin, Osborne, & Ferlie, 2012). This new system of management makes emphasis on public demands and choice, the applicability of primary management models that govern agencies, managers, as well as the parties the contract. In other words, public service agencies are currently accountable to the people it serves and not the political class. In doing so most agencies have been employing the use of strategic planning. As narrated by Vigoda-Gadot and Kisner, (2015), public service entities are currently guided by questions such as ‘how best do we serve our clients?’ ‘How do we attain a higher satisfactory rating?’ as well as how sustainable are we.
Figure 1. The United States Public debt from 1990 to 2018* (in billion U.S. dollars)
The graph above represents the U.S Public Debt from 1990 to 2018*. From the data presented, it is clear that the U.S public debt has been on a constant rise a factor that has a detrimental impact on the funding of public service agencies. As indicated by Fratzscher, Lo Duca, and Straub, (2017), by September 2017, the national debt had augmented to 21.52 trillion U.S. dollars. This then suggests limited funding for the public sector. These trends have seen an increase in budget pressures, a constant worry for public service agencies as expenditures have exceeded total revenues and funding. A study by Fratzscher, Lo Duca, and Straub, (2017), indicated that as of 2015, 22 States in America had a shortfall in meeting their financial demands. This number rose to 30 by the end of August 2018 reported by Center for Budget and Policy Priorities. Public service agencies have been compelled to employ strategic planning in order to get the most efficiency from the limited funds available. Strategic planning goes beyond tweaking an organization’s budget in an effort to transform the economies of delivery but creating lasting impacts for every dollar saved.
Figure 2. U. S racial demographic Changes from 2005 to 2017
The table above is a tabular representation of the population of the U.S. by race and ethnic group from 2000 to 2017. From the information presented in the table, it is evident that the white population makes up a large population of the United States’ population, with 2017 figures indicating 249.62 million people. However, what is also evident in the changes in racial profiles from other races. For instance, the Africa American population represents the highest change in racial demography for the last decade and a half. Similar trends; however on a slightly lower scale, show that other races such as Asian and Hispanic Americans have been on an increase. Public services agencies have been obligated to reflect the changes in demographics, particularly in densely populated urban centers. Strategic planning allows these agencies to meet the needs of the people they serve directing resources to where they are needed the most and give better results in the society.
Increase in Demands for Public Goods without Increase Taxes
Governments always require some form of funding in order to provide services to society. Income tax is the most common way to achieve this with the general idea citizens contribute a particular amount of what they earn to the society. Nevertheless, over the recent past, there have been concerns over high levels of taxes paid. According to a study by Fratzscher, Lo Duca, and Straub, (2017), 51% of Americans felt that the taxes they paid in 2017 were significantly higher than they wished. Subsequently, it is their demand to receive better quality services from public agencies a factor that can be achieved by strategic planning.
Sustainability in public services
Sustainable development is described as the advance made in meeting the present demands of a community without negatively affecting the aptitude of future generation’s capacity to meet their own need. As indicated by McLaughlin, Osborne, and Ferlie, (2012), this broad definition is a common objective of both the public and private sector organizations. Nevertheless, the execution of sustainability is done in a dissimilar manner. For corporate entities, sustainability is achieved through social responsibility, which refers to the incorporation of environmental and social issues in the decision-making as well as the accountability process. On the other, sustainable development refers to the economic, social, and environmental goals that are expected and are common to everyone. Subsequently, it can be argued that socially responsible behavior is the root of an enhanced sustainable development. Currently public offices apply sustainability as a leading aspect of their strategic plans on service delivery
Fratzscher, M., Lo Duca, M., & Straub, R. (2017). On the international spillovers of US quantitative easing. The Economic Journal, 128(608), 330-377.
Lipsky, M. (2010). Street-level bureaucracy, 30th ann. Ed.: dilemmas of the individual in public service. Russell Sage Foundation.
McLaughlin, K., Osborne, S. P., & Ferlie, E. (Eds.). (2012). New public management: Current trends and future prospects. Psychology Press.
Moynihan, D. P., & Pandey, S. K. (2007). The role of organizations in fostering public service motivation. Public administration review, 67(1), 40-53.
Vigoda-Gadot, E., & Kisner, M. (2015). New Public Management (NPM). In Encyclopedia of Public Administration and Public Policy-5 Volume Set (pp. 1-5). Routledge.