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Budget | Work plans | Design Document


Budget

A budget helps drug court staff make decisions on how to best deploy fiscal resources. Once a project is underway, careful tracking of spending against the budget will help staff make informed strategic decisions. You might consider using the design document for the drug court information system as the basis for developing a budget.

Things to Remember

1. Overview: When preparing a budget for a drug court MIS, you'll want to include expenditures for development, implementation, and maintenance activities. For each activity, you should consider:

  • personnel costs (in-house and/or contracted/consultants);
  • fringe benefits (employer paid taxes, retirement and other benefits to employees);
  • supplies and travel expenses;
  • hardware; and
  • software.

Justify hardware and other significant expenses by pointing out specifically what benefit (e.g., stronger case management) will come to the drug court if the item is purchased or what dire consequences (e.g., server crashes) will occur if it is not purchased. You can attach this information to your budget as detail.

2. Development: List the development activities involved in building an information system. Remember that you'll also want to account for personnel hours associated with each activity. Development activities include:

  • creating a design document;
  • analyzing physical infrastructure;
  • purchasing hardware and software;
  • building the architecture of the database;
  • programming any scripts or codes necessary for database development; and
  • integrating with existing MIS systems.

3. Testing: Document expenses associated with routine testing at different stages of production. An initial rollout followed by a second revised rollout is a standard test approach. Testing expenses include:

  • testing the system on a staging server;
  • testing the site on a live server;
  • double-checking all the database or programming links, both internal and external;
  • preparing outreach materials; and
  • backing-up the system.

4. Launch: List costs involved in promoting or announcing the information system to key stakeholders (e.g., court staff, drug court partners, treatment providers). Some of these costs might include:

  • moving the information system from a stand alone PC to the server; and
  • printing and postage for sending out information about the launch.

5. Training: Figure out how much it will cost to teach people how to use the new systems:

  • producing user training manuals/informational materials; and
  • administering on-going user-training sessions.

6. Maintenance: Itemize expenses for monitoring day-to-day operations and responding to questions from programmers, court staff and other users. Some maintenance costs may include:

  • correcting any bugs, bad programming script/code or broken links;
  • responding to user feedback;
  • expanding, modifying or upgrading the information system; and
  • accounting for general and administrative costs.

Reviewing the Budget

It's a good idea to review the budget with an accountant or your court's fiscal director to flag potential budgetary problems, inconsistencies, and omissions.

 

Click here to download a PDF version of a drug court MIS budget template.