State programming courses

The government has decided on a new permanent system for managing state programs. After the transitional period of 2021, all of them, except for the defense one, will be subordinated, like national projects, to national development goals, they will have a design and process part, each will receive a curator – a deputy prime minister, target indicators, officials responsible for each component of state programs and sanctions for failure to achieve goals. The regions are recommended to switch to similar principles. Preparations for the reform took several years; after 2022, the system should allow the creation of long-term programs with measurable goals.

By its resolution, the government approved the “Regulations on the state programs management system” – a document that applies to all state programs of the federal budget and introduces a uniform procedure for dozens of existing and all future state programs for their development, implementation and closure. The document was developed by the Ministry of Economy, which for the last four years has been working out a new procedure for pilot state programs, while simultaneously reformatting federal target programs (FTP) and part of departmental target programs and developing tools for national projects. In parallel, the process of structuring the top-level White House strategic documents was going on.

The new provision on state programs will be put into effect during 2021, the budget process from 2023 will already be built only on a new procedure that applies to the entire government, including its “power” and “civilian” parts – except for a separate state armaments program.

The new order implements the government’s long-standing intention to allocate in budget expenditures the project (limited in time and achievement of a predetermined goal) and process (implemented on an ongoing basis and repeating) part – in fact, state programs were once created as a kind of alternative to national projects containing only the project part and composed of federal projects (FP).

According to the “regulation on the system”, FPs with their project committees can be considered as part of state programs, in the dedicated project part of state programs, management structures similar to project committees will work (which may also be a project committee of an existing FP). Each state program, according to the regulations, has a responsible executor (ministry or department) and a curator in the government – a deputy prime minister. For each structural element of the state program, the order prescribes to have a specific official directly responsible for the achievement of specific indicators.

The state programs themselves are divided into two types: standard (in fact, sectoral, in the first approximation these are the heirs of the FTP of previous years) and complex (implemented by several departments in several areas of activity at once).

As a result, in the state program, which combines both the project and the process approaches, the project has a priority: it must have a minimum of measurable goals, agreed, among other things, with national development goals. All reporting on state programs will be unified and immersed in GAIS “Management”, data on the performance indicators of state programs will be public – recall that from 2019, a consolidated government report on the implementation of state programs once a year is also provided.

If the design part of the state programs, apparently, will be arranged almost completely similar to the FP (and this allows, at least in theory, to demand the timely completion of construction projects, for example, schools and hospitals within the framework of the FAIP), then systematization appears for the first time in the process part. It is assumed that individual components of such programs will be ranked in terms of importance and impact on the achievement of goals – that is, for the sake of goals, it will be possible to “transfer” government spending within the year, within the budget three-year period and throughout the entire state program, not only in the design part (which is always provided for by the design technology management), but also in the process part. For the first time, a closed list of general goals has been established that, within the framework of state programs, can be implemented in a process-based way – it can only be expanded by a decision of the government commission on optimizing and increasing the efficiency of budget expenditures.

Experts first of all note the increasing flexibility of state programs due to changes.

Thus, according to Yekaterina Bgantseva from the Center for Strategic Research, “since the process of making changes is laborious and, taking into account the many approvals, is lengthy, the state programs lagged behind the real situation. Streamlining and optimizing the structure of state programs will simplify and speed up their adjustment. ” Anna Dupan, director of the Institute for Legal Regulation Problems of the National Research University Higher School of Economics, recalls that with the inflexibility and conventionality of the connection between specific measures of the state program and their expected results, “they are trying to fight since the adoption of the first FTP”. Separation of projects and processes in state programs, she believes, will simplify the redistribution of funds within state programs – but will in no way help to solve the problem of redistribution of funds between different state programs in the budget.

The new system for managing state programs additionally increases the weight of the “deputy prime minister’s floor” in the government and strengthens the positions of the Ministry of Economy and the Ministry of Finance: representatives of departments not lower than the deputy minister will be included in the management bodies for the implementation of all state programs. At the same time, the reform is not limited to the federal level – the constituent entities of the Russian Federation have been recommended from 2021 to structure regional state programs according to the same principles, and the state programs themselves will be synchronized with the programs of state JSCs and state corporations. All state programs in 2021 will be immersed in GAIS “Management” and the “Electronic Budget” system, and this will increase the possibilities of “digital” management in government – the overarching goal of this reform, like many other actions of the White House in 2020-2021, is to create a comprehensive an information and management contour, covering all government spending and all activities of the federal executive branch.

Note that one of the implicit effects of the introduction of a new management system for state programs can be the creation of more or less long-term, more than ten years, state programs with measurable results and stable implementation.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, such goals were formally set, but in practice, after a few years, interagency competition, changes in government priorities and economic realities often turned them into anachronisms – however, fully funded, since, unlike the new order, their effective mechanism there was simply no cessation. However, how the new order will work in practice can only be assessed based on the results of the transition period 2021–2022: this is a large and complex reform, the results of which will be visible not from the outside, but from within the state apparatus.

Dmitry Butrin