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The Smart Government Framework

A proposal to improve results and accountability

Over the last year, stakeholders from across the state have helped to develop the Smart Government Framework, a strategic action plan for improving California’s governance system. California Forward is now working to implement the framework in a variety of ways, including working with innovative local governments committed to improving results and accountability. California Forward also developed a model initiative, The Government Performance and Accountability Act, which would establish in the constitution the importance of all levels of government working together to make the best use of available resources to provide quality services.  

Download the Smart Government Framework (.pdf)

The proposal does this in three basic steps:

  • Provides a stable and results-oriented state budget process.  Local governments need a stable state budget process that helps them reach community goals.  The proposal would require a two-year state budget to reduce the nearly endless wrangling and uncertainty.  The State would establish goals and performance metrics and the Legislature would review all programs once every five years.  Lawmakers would have to identify ways to pay for major policy choices, rather than putting all programs at risk of being cut in future years.
  • Ensures that local governments are accountable for results.  Californians expect all local governments to spend public money wisely.  To communicate clearly and manage effectively, all local governments would be required to identify goals and performance metrics as part of their budgets.
  • Encourages cooperation among local governments.  Experience shows that to solve difficult public problems, public agencies must work together.  Schools need to work with social service agencies, and social service agencies need to work with law enforcement.  Through Community Strategic Action Plans, local leaders would be given the flexibility and incentives to work together to develop integrated approaches to meet community needs.

Read more about California Forward's proposal:

Our approach: California Forward's goal is a state government that is held accountable for achieving positive social gains in a financially sustainable way. Read more about our approach, the Big Five Outcomes, and the proposal's background. (Download PDF)

What's in the Proposal: In a constitutional amendment, the proposal would refocus government at all levels on results, provide local governments with more local control, and give state government the right fiscal tools to stay focused on improving performance. (Download PDF)

Who supports it: The California Forward Action Fund has filed a proposed measure modeled on these recommendations for the November 2012 ballot. A growing chorus of leaders from around the state are expressing their support.

     How did California Forward get here?

  • The Smart Government Framework: Over the last year, stakeholders from across the state have helped refine the Smart Government Framework, a strategic action plan for improving California’s governance system. The framework now includes California Forward’s model initiative as an appendix. (below)
  • Who was consulted: In a series of more than 60 public meetings, California Forward solicited Californians' feedback on these reform ideas. A group of experts and stakeholders also provided detailed analysis of the Framework. See who California Forward consulted in this process(Download PDF)
  • Major issues raised and considered: This statewide conversation has allowed California Forward to consider a huge range of issues, as the ideas in the Framework matured from simple concepts into full-fledged recommendations. (Download PDF)

Download the Smart Government Framework (.pdf)

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