Budgeting and Forecasting

From Guesswork to Informed Judgement: Using Calibration Training for Better Decision-Making

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The job of a local government finance officer is to help elected officials and other decision-makers make better decisions. This involves helping elected officials make sense of uncertain information and situations—which requires us to express uncertainty clearly, especially for assumptions that might underlie financial plans and budgets.

To help, GFOA worked with Hubbard Decision Research (HDR) and 40 GFOA member volunteers to go through what is known as “calibration training.” The objective of calibration training is to prepare people to express their estimates of uncertainty in quantitative terms, using only their own judgment and without relying on outside data. Quantified estimates of uncertainty are desirable, and special training is necessary to make them.