A functional review sequence for rural development programmes: a procedure for recurrent management
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This paper is concerned with some central information aspects of a general management system which is being developed for rural sector planning. Eleven alternative squences of periodical reviews of field experience with the implementation of rural development plans are appraised in the light of five considerations, (i) improving.the flow of information for the annual estimates procedure, (ii) improved information for the annual programming of rural development operations, (iii) the timing and function of official annual reports, (iv) the dessemination of information about rural development plan content and progress to a wider audience, (v) desirable upper and lower limits to the interval between successive reviews. The choice is narrowed to four alternative sequences with functional, as opposed to conventional, timings. Of these, a triannual review.sequence is finally recommended, consisting of a programming review in May, an evaluation review in August and an end-of-calendar-year review, in December, After the suggested content of each review has been outlined, a possible timetable is given for the trial introduction of the sequence into Special Rural Development Programme areas in Kenya, with a view to testing its replicability in a wider system of rural area—based plans. The review sequence is discussed in the wider context of the management of recurrent resources in the public sector, which is felt to be a relatively neglected area. One major implication of the review sequence is the possibility of constructing annual operating plan? for 'developmental* public agencies which fully integrate ex-post evaluation, the financial estimates and the programmed deployment of recurrent as well as capital resources. Finally, the paper questions the appropriateness of project appraisal methodology for the economic assessment of operational programmes which are predominantly comprised of recurrent resources.