عنوان مقاله [English]
One of the most critical aspects of alignment in the organization is the alignment between strategic plans and budget. The need to create a meaningful relationship between policies, strategic plans, and budgets in public institutions has been in the spotlight and recognized for a long time. This means that merely formulating medium and long-term plans for managing public institutions in an environment with changing political, economic, and legal considerations is not enough. Instead, the mentioned planning should be reflected in the process of setting and implementing the budget. Municipalities, as one of the largest institutions in the public sector, are not exempt from this rule because if the limited resources of the municipalities are allocated in a non-optimal way, in addition to the waste of resources, it will lead to increased monitoring costs, non-fulfillment of municipal plans and missions, and finally public criticism and protests. Therefore, it is expected that the alignment of strategic planning and budgeting will be a central issue in the focus of urban management. But in practice, it can be seen that the budget is prepared without considering the strategic plan and operational plans. Also, there is no administrative structure to create a logical relationship between them, which increases the pessimism of the organization about the plans and causes a gap between the plans and budgets. Therefore, the present study aims to investigate the reasons for the misalignment of planning and budgeting in the Tehran municipality. In most developing countries, the government or municipalities prepare a medium-term development plan that specifies the country's strategic priorities and main goals for a period of three to five years. However, this work is often done independently of the annual budget process and usually leads to the creation of a list of plans and activities that cannot be realistically achieved due to the government's financial issues and problems. Therefore, the programs become an academic exercise instead of an effective tool to promote socio-economic development. In Iranian municipalities, despite the emphasis on the alignment of the planning and the budget in the upstream laws, the budget has always been criticized for not matching the framework of long-term plans. The lack of alignment has challenged the efficiency and effectiveness of the budgeting and resource allocation system. Also, it has created many doubts regarding the effectiveness of Tehran's municipal plans in the minds of citizens, members of the city's Islamic Council, and city planners. If the current situation continues, this gap will increase. This problem in the Tehran municipality has many dimensions and complicated issues, and this research has tried to look at these issues with a real and comprehensive view. Finally, the alignment model of the planning and budgeting of the Tehran municipality has been presented.
Materials and Methods
This survey is a practical one regarding its aim, and it is done by descriptive-analytic method, and it has no hypothesis. Also, information has been collected in both library and field forms. According to the problematic situation of the research and its characteristics, the research problem is unstructured. This type of problem cannot be solved by classical methods and formulating limits and goals. Therefore, the soft system approach is used to solve the problem. Due to the complexity of the research, the model was designed based on soft system methodology and cognitive mapping in the form of a qualitative study with a descriptive-exploratory approach. The study population includes all stakeholders and parties involved in the issue of planning and budgeting in the Tehran Municipality, which consists of a wide range of institutions and internal departments of Tehran Municipality. Twenty-five experts were interviewed using the snowball method to select the samples, and the interview process continued until the theoretical saturation was reached. Finally, a mental map of each of them was drawn, and by combining these maps, an enriched image of the research problem was created. The CATWOE approach was used to explain the root definitions, and the conceptual model of activities was extracted based on the root definitions.
Findings and Conclusion
According to the results, misalignment of planning and budgets is not only a technical issue; somewhat, it is influenced by internal and external factors such as weakness in support rules, budgeting system, planning structure, monitoring mechanisms, financial and accounting, infrastructure requirements, and coordination among the stakeholders, etc. In this regard, 11 targeted activities and corresponding measures related to each of them have been proposed to align the planning and budgeting of the Tehran Municipality.
Also, according to the investigations and the research results, the issues related to the non-alignment of the program and the budget are complex and intertwined issues rooted in more significant issues. In a general classification, most of the problems resulting from the lack of alignment of the program and budget in the Tehran Municipality are of the managerial and infrastructure type. Still, the importance and extent of the impact of extra-organizational issues cannot be ignored either. The lack of an urban unit management system, the lack of legal support for the plan, and the insufficient monitoring of the institutions mentioned above on the municipal plan and budget are such issues that have affected the formulation and implementation of the Tehran Municipality plan. Furthermore, the results of the research showed that there are many internal organizational issues, such as lack of reform of laws, lack of reform of the budgeting system, lack of reform of the plan structure, lack of reform of council mechanisms, financial and accounting problems, lack of monitoring of the plan and budget. The lack of infrastructural requirements has also caused a misalignment of the plans and funding in the Tehran Municipality. Therefore, until a fundamental solution to solve these problems is not presented and implemented, and the necessary infrastructure is not provided to meet the requirements mentioned in this research, the alignment of the plans and budget in the Tehran municipality will remain a dream. Also, the participation and consensus of all elements related to the planning and budgeting of the city of Tehran to solve these problems are one of the main drivers of solving the problem of the misalignment between the plans and the budget in the Tehran Municipality.