This article is a study of the introduction of local financial management (LFM) to South African policing. Four forms of institutional theory are used to interpret and understand this comparative study. The conclusion of this article is that the deliberate attempt to replicate the English experience in South Africa failed because of the different ideologies and value-laden beliefs that underlay the need for change and the different dynamics of power of the interest groups that were represented in the organizational structure. The taken-for-granted organizational processes that supported the implementation of LFM in English police forces impeded implementation in South Africa.
A pluralistic model rather than a single institutional perspective is shown to be beneficial in understanding institutional impacts on organizations. In particular, different perspectives help in an understanding of how culturally derived norms of behaviour can be in tension with formal rules and how the formal structure must be adaptive to the environment and culture within which people cope with uncertainty by relying on established routines.
After more than a decade of experience and research on financing arrangements in post conflict countries and fragile states, a consensus has emerged on at least one matter. The core objective is to build effective and legitimate governance structures that secure public confidence through provision of personal security, equal justice and the rule of law, economic well-being, and essential social services including education and health. These governance structures are necessary to ensure that countries do not turn, or turn back, to violence as a means of negotiating state-societal relations. This paper discusses a number of the weaknesses in current financing arrangements for post conflict countries and fragile states, with a focus on Official Development Assistance (ODA). We argue that tensions persist between business-as-usual development policies on the one hand and policies responsive to the demands of peace building on the other. The preferential allocation of aid to ‘good performers,’ in the name of maximizing its payoff in terms of economic growth, militates against aid to fragile and conflict-affected states. If the aim of aid is redefined to include durable peace, the conventional performance criteria for aid allocation lose much of their force. Compelling arguments can be made for assistance to ‘poor performers’ if this can help to prevent conflict. Yet the difficulties that initially prompted donors to become more selective in aid allocation remain all too real. Experience has shown that aid can exacerbate problems rather than solving them.
In recent years, international organizations have concluded that standard principles of Public Finance Management (PFM) are equally applicable to all areas of the national budget, including the security sector. In many cases long-term external assistance may be required for the security sector, generating severe trade-offs with other priority sectors which also require long-term external support. Overcoming the legacy of a fiscally unsustainable and poorly managed security sector calls for full application of PFM principles to support the establishment of checks and balances required to establish a wholly accountable security sector. The recent World Bank PFM review of Afghanistan, perhaps the first example of such a review, provides a number of lessons, summarized in this note. Some of these include: security in post-conflict situations is a key condition for a return to political normalcy and conversely, development is also needed for security; PFM practices can take into consideration the most complex and confidential issues without undermining the application of the fundamental principles of accountability to elected civil authorities; and reviewing security reform through a PFM lens reduces risks and costs to both the country concerned and donors.