Applying CIPFA's whole systems approach for better public financial management


This Keystone is intended to take steps towards strengthening public financial management by helping both governments and individual organisations to apply the principles set out in CIPFA’s Whole System Approach to Public Financial Management in practice.








Whatever the level of development or economic circumstances in a country, citizens keep raising the bar with regard to their expectations about public service delivery. As pressures on national budgets have increased and additional demands have been made by the global financial crisis, there is an unprecedented need to understand better the key components of public financial management (PFM) and how the full set of organisations and processes relate to each other. 

CIPFA believes that only by taking a holistic view and highlighting special characteristics of the public sphere will we be able to properly focus thinking on how to improve service delivery, transparency and accountability, and where to prioritise efforts. The whole system described in this Keystone is a model of checks and balances which, acting together, can gear up PFM effectiveness. 

It considers whether PFM elements and components are operating together and are mutually supportive and suggests where there may be gaps in the support that the major organisations offer to less developed countries. The model is intended to complement existing assessment tools rather than creating additional ones.