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Department of Health and Rehabilitative Services Pilot Project for Productivity , Report No. 95-21, December 1995
 
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  • The Department delegated budget flexibility to districts on July 1, 1993. It designed an evaluation to test whether the pilot project reduced the time needed to make transfers, enhanced district accountability, and did not negatively affect clients. It contracted with Price Waterhouse of Washington, D.C., to conduct the evaluation.
  • The evidence supporting Price Waterhouse's conclusions is limited. Therefore, OPPAGA gathered data on all 10% budget transfers districts made in fiscal year 1994-95 and examined year-end financial reports. We concluded that giving districts limited budget flexibility reduces the time needed to process budget transfers and does not adversely affect clients or programs. In addition, budget flexibility is consistent with the principles of program performance-based budgeting, and it may provide districts with the incentive and ability to better control their budgets and better match services to client needs.
  • The 10% flexibility allowed districts to transfer funds to areas in which they were experiencing operating deficits, and districts primarily used their 10% authority for this purpose. However, internal Department accounting reports show that, at the end of fiscal year 1994-95, 12 of the Department's 15 districts incurred minor operating deficits. According to Department managers, these deficits were much smaller than deficits incurred in prior years. Thus, these managers believe that the 10% flexibility has improved districts' ability to manage their budgets.
  • Although the effect of the district budget flexibility on clients is difficult to measure, the 10% budget transfers appear to have had little negative impact on clients for three reasons: The total amount transferred was small, most of the transfers occurred within the Department's major program areas, and the amount districts transferred between program areas was small in relation to the amount appropriated for each program area.


    Copies of this report in print or alternate accessible format may be obtained by telephone (850/488-0021), by FAX (850/487-9213), in person, or by mail (OPPAGA Report Production, Claude Pepper Building, Room 312, 111 W. Madison St., Tallahassee, FL 32399-1475).
    e-mail address: oppaga@oppaga.fl.gov


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