Michael Di Francesco
20202020

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Personal profile

Biography

Michael Di Francesco joined the Crawford School of Public Policy in November 2019 as Senior Lecturer in Policy and Governance, specialising in public sector management. He was previously Associate Professor in Public Sector Management and Director of the Case Program (John L. Alford Case Library) - the world’s third largest public policy and management case library - through a joint appointment at the Australia and New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) and the University of New South Wales (UNSW). Michael has held tenured academic appointments at the University of Sydney and Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Michael has published extensively in Australian public administration, including public budgeting, public financial management, organisational performance evaluation, and public management policy. He has twice been a recipient of the Institute of Public Administration Australia (IPAA) Sam Richardson Award for the most influential or important article published in the Australian Journal of Public Administration (AJPA).

Michael has significant senior public sector experience. In 2019 he served as Assistant Secretary, Public Sector Reform at the Australian Department of Finance, and between 2003 and 2010 he was Principal Advisor in Financial Management Policy at NSW Treasury, where he led strategic budget, performance management and corporate governance reform across the general government sector. He has held many technical assistance appointments with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (advising finance and planning ministries in Poland, Brazil, Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Vietnam), the World Bank (researching multiyear budget frameworks and advising finance ministries in Brazil, Indonesia and the Dominican Republic) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) (advising on provincial multiyear budget frameworks in the People’s Republic of China). Michael has advised on performance-based budget reform for the Australian Department of Finance and NSW Treasury, and in 2015 was appointed by the National Treasury of South Africa to an international panel of experts to evaluate its expenditure review program.

Michael has twice served as a Councillor with the NSW Division of IPAA, and he was an Editorial Board member of the AJPA for over a decade.

Research interests

Michael’s broad areas of expertise are public administration and public policy, with research interests in public sector management, public budgeting, public financial management, rule frameworks in public organizations, public management policy, Australian public administration, and Australian administrative history.

Researcher's projects

Michael is currently working on a book project titled Differential rules in public management: Design lessons for differential regulation in government budgeting and performance for Edward Elgar. The objectives and coverage of the book are described below: 

'Disorientation characterizes current thinking around policy design for public management. The ‘new public management’ legacy endures, but in an age of fiscal austerity it seems afflicted by diminishing marginal returns to better government, and its systemic successors remain ill-defined and highly contested. Against this background, this book returns to the one of the foundational questions of public management: how best to design institutional arrangements to optimize both central control and situational flexibility in bureaucratic structures. It builds on important new trends in public management scholarship focused on the role of ‘rule frameworks’ in guiding effective behaviors, and the various ways that key organizational actors in government can deploy ‘regulatory’ approaches to mitigate the deficiencies of managerialist, market and network approaches to organizing public services. The book is a systematic review of the ‘regulatory’ role of central agencies, and the development and application of a range of new rule-based conceptual frameworks to critical internal functions governing public policies and services, and in particular resource allocation and performance management systems. A primary objective of the book is to enhance the policy capacity of finance and policy agencies at the center of government, and to help develop resourcing and accountability frameworks that make more effective use of rules to generate greater public value in terms of what governments do and how they do it.'

Qualifications

BEc (Hons I) Sydney, PhD (Public Policy) ANU

Teaching

CRWF7000 Applied Policy Project

CRWF8019 Public Policy and Professional Internship

CRWF8020 Public Policy Professional Experience

POGO8057 Managing Government Finances

POGO8237 Budgeting for Outcomes: Purposes, Programs and Performance

Consultancy

Michael has been engaged regularly as a public financial management (PFM) advisor by international organisations and governments. He has provided technical assistance and advisory services in the following areas: performance-based budgeting, medium-term budget frameworks, budget process design, program specification, performance information specification, program logic analysis, performance reporting, and program costing.

INTERNATIONAL MONETARY FUND (IMF)

Short Term Expert PFM Advisor Technical Assistance Missions

Poland, Ministry of Finance, Feb 2009

Brazil, Secretariat of Finance, Sao Paulo State, Nov 2009

Brazil, Secretariat of Planning and Regional Development, Sao Paulo State, Oct 2010, Apr 2011, Jun 2012, Dec 2012

Costa Rica, Ministry of Finance, May 2013

Sri Lanka, Ministry of Finance and Planning, Dec 2013

Vietnam, National Institute for Finance, Sep-Oct 2019

WORLD BANK

Public Sector Consultant

Lead consultant on ‘Review of international practices for determining medium-term resource needs of spending agencies’, 2013-2015

Short Term Expert PFM Advisor Technical Assistance Missions

Brazil, Ministry of Finance and National Treasury, Jul 2014

Indonesia, Ministry of Finance, Oct 2014

Dominican Republic (Washington DC), Jun 2015

ASIAN DEVELOPMENT BANK (ADB)

Short Term Consultant (International Budget Planning and Management Specialist)

Lead consultant on ‘Strengthen the medium-term budget framework (MTBF) pilot for improved local public financial management in the People’s Republic of China (PRC)’, 2015-2016

NATIONAL TREASURY OF SOUTH AFRICA

Expert Panel Member, ‘Mid-Term Review of the Performance and Expenditure Review (PER) Program of the Government Technical Advisory Centre (GTAC)’, Pretoria, Jun-Jul 2015

NSW TREASURY

Advisor to the Financial Management Transformation Program’s Resource Management Information Project to develop program structures for budget dependent agencies, May-Oct 2014

AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY AND COMMUNITY SERVICES (DFACS)

Independent Reviewer for DFaCS preparing a Policy Management Review (PMR) of the policy development process supporting the Commonwealth Government’s Youth Allowance reform initiative, 1999

AUSTRALIAN DEPARTMENT OF FINANCE

Advisor to the Department of Finance Accrual Budget Group, preparing two discussion papers to inform guidelines for the specification of performance information for policy advice output, 1998

Current student projects

Mark Cormack (Crawford School of Public Policy, PhD) Supervisor An investigation into the establishment, change and maintenance of intergovernmental health agreements in Australia

Andrew Morgan (Sir Roland Wilson Fellowship Scholar, Crawford School of Public Policy, PhD) Advisor Policy legitimacy (during disruptive and routine times): Steering policy towards impact in thin markets

Sithong Chanthasouk (School of Regulation and Global Governance, RegNet, PhD) Advisor How can the Bank of the Lao PDR increase the effectiveness of lao bank regulation using contemporary approaches to regulation?

External positions

Member, Australian Political Studies Association

Member, Institute of Public Administration Australia

Expertise Areas

  • Public Administration
  • Public Policy

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