PEFA Partners Seeking Comments on Exposure Draft of “Guidance Note on Sequencing PFM Reforms”

Posted by the PEFA Secretariat

Readers familiar with the PEFA Performance Measurement Framework will be aware that the main purpose of an assessment report is to provide the authorities with a high-level overview of the performance of the PFM system at a point in time. In many cases, this overview—which can be expected to highlight strengths and weaknesses found in the system—becomes the cornerstone of a dialogue with development partners about reform priorities.

But when a PFM system is generally weak, what should the priorities be? Where should reforms focus? Many practitioners would answer these questions by agreeing with the proposition put forward many years ago (and recently reiterated) by Allen Schick: “with the basics”. But what are “the basics”, and which of them should be addressed first?

A draft “Guidance Note on Sequencing PFM Reforms” has been developed by Jack Diamond, former IMF Fiscal Affairs Department Division Chief on behalf of the IMF and the European Commission, under the auspices of the PEFA Program, following an extensive period of research and debate around these issues between the PEFA Partners.  

The Guidance Note is intended to support country authorities, reform teams, and PFM experts in the field with the development of reform strategies and action plans once a PEFA assessment has been completed. The Guidance Note does not attempt to be prescriptive, and recognizes that reality precludes either a template for reform, or a simple set of linkages from PEFA scores to reform strategy. The approach taken is to provide an analytical framework to consider the various factors that are relevant when developing reform strategies and in particular, how actions can be sequenced.

The underlying research can be found in two background papers, the first by Jack Diamond examines the relevant literature, while the second by Daniel Tommasi suggests the PEFA ratings (indicator-by-indicator) that would represent the minimum acceptable level of functionality in a PFM system.

The Guidance Note has been released as an Exposure Draft for comments. We would ask PFM practitioners—government officials, consultants and NGO/IFI representatives—currently working in the field on PFM Reform to comment on the note. To structure the response a list of questions is attached. Please send your comments to Phil Sinnett, the new head of the PEFA Secretariat, at

Comments are due no later than October 26, 2012.

Download Guidance Note on Sequencing PFM Reforms

Download Guidelines for Sequencing PFM Reforms

Download The Core PFM Functions and PEFA Performance Indicators

Download Questions on Sequencing Material

Note: The posts on the IMF PFM Blog should not be reported as representing the views of the IMF. The views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the IMF or IMF policy.