Best Practices in Performance Reporting: Lessons from the Federal Level  Jerry Ellig Senior Research Fellow
Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 <ul><ul><li>Strategic plans with outcome goals and planned program evaluati...
Project Design <ul><li>Team of 3 experts with experience in government and/or performance management evaluates reports </l...
How We Score the Reports   1-5 rating scale <ul><li>3 Categories </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Public B...
Top 10 Best Reporting Practices <ul><li>Make the report accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Make the report readable </li></ul><u...
Top 10 Best Reporting Practices (cont.) <ul><li>Show how the agency’s actions affected outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Link per...
1. Make the report accessible <ul><li>Prominent home page link </li></ul><ul><li>Link available all year </li></ul><ul><li...
 
 
 
2. Make the report readable <ul><li>Citizens’ Report </li></ul><ul><li>Substantive transmittal letter </li></ul><ul><li>Pl...
Labor’s Citizens’ Report
Richard Lanham’s “paramedic method” <ul><li>Original: “Our nation’s schools  are  the basis  for  an economic resource tha...
3. Ensure the data are verifiable <ul><li>Provide complete data for all measures </li></ul><ul><li>Give sources for all da...
Veterans Affairs data table
 
4. Establish context with baselines and trends <ul><li>Provide long range and multi-year targets </li></ul><ul><li>Provide...
DOJ: 5-year performance trends
Labor – Baselines, targets, and actual data
VA annual and long-term targets
5. Make goals, objectives and measures outcome-oriented <ul><li>Strategic goals are measurable outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>...
DOT strategic goals <ul><li>Enhance public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transportation-related d...
DOT outcome goals and measures
 
What was accomplished?
6. Show how the agency’s actions affected outcomes <ul><li>Explain  how  programs are expected to achieve measured results...
Common Labor job training measures <ul><li>Percent of participants employed in the first quarter after exit </li></ul><ul>...
NRC outcome precursors <ul><li>Number of “high safety significance” findings from power plant inspections </li></ul><ul><l...
DOT program evaluation
7. Link performance measures with costs  <ul><li>Ultimate goal is to allow decision-makers to compare outcomes with costs ...
 
 
DHS resources and results
8. Tell an outcome-oriented story <ul><li>Describe outcomes that benefit the public </li></ul><ul><li>Explain how the agen...
VA performance summaries have stories …
… that illustrate performance data
Labor: Vignettes + data and analysis
9. Candidly discuss failures and problems <ul><li>Clearly identify performance shortfalls and explain actual causes </li><...
10. Outline plans and timelines for improvement <ul><li>Explain concrete steps to remedy performance shortfalls </li></ul>...
 
 
DOT “progress meter”
 
For more information <ul><li>Mercatus Scorecard web page: </li></ul><ul><li>www.mercatus.org/scorecard </li></ul><ul><li>T...
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Top Ten Best Practices In Federal Performance Reporting

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Top Ten Best Practices In Federal Performance Reporting

  1. 1. Best Practices in Performance Reporting: Lessons from the Federal Level Jerry Ellig Senior Research Fellow
  2. 2. Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 <ul><ul><li>Strategic plans with outcome goals and planned program evaluations </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual performance plan </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual performance report </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>(starting fiscal year 1999) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Performance budgeting </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Project Design <ul><li>Team of 3 experts with experience in government and/or performance management evaluates reports </li></ul><ul><li>12 criteria based on GPRA requirements </li></ul><ul><li>Evaluate reports from 24 CFO Act agencies </li></ul><ul><li>Each evaluation reviewed by a member of advisory panel </li></ul><ul><li>Entire report reviewed by entire advisory panel </li></ul>
  4. 4. How We Score the Reports 1-5 rating scale <ul><li>3 Categories </li></ul><ul><li>Transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Public Benefits </li></ul><ul><li>Leadership </li></ul><ul><li>4 criteria in each category </li></ul><ul><li>Criteria tightened each year to reflect previous year’s best practices </li></ul><ul><li>Total score can range from 12 to 60 </li></ul>5 Sets a standard for best practice 4 Shows innovation and creativity 3 Satisfactory 2 Partially complete 1 Fails to meet expectations
  5. 5. Top 10 Best Reporting Practices <ul><li>Make the report accessible </li></ul><ul><li>Make the report readable </li></ul><ul><li>Ensure the data are verifiable </li></ul><ul><li>Establish context with baselines and trends </li></ul><ul><li>Make goals, objectives, and measures outcome-oriented </li></ul>
  6. 6. Top 10 Best Reporting Practices (cont.) <ul><li>Show how the agency’s actions affected outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Link performance measures with costs </li></ul><ul><li>Tell an outcome-oriented story </li></ul><ul><li>Candidly discuss failures and problems </li></ul><ul><li>Outline plans and timelines for improvement </li></ul>
  7. 7. 1. Make the report accessible <ul><li>Prominent home page link </li></ul><ul><li>Link available all year </li></ul><ul><li>Downloadable as single or multiple files </li></ul><ul><li>Contact information for questions/comments/copies </li></ul><ul><li>Prior years’ reports readily downloadable </li></ul>
  8. 11. 2. Make the report readable <ul><li>Citizens’ Report </li></ul><ul><li>Substantive transmittal letter </li></ul><ul><li>Plain language </li></ul><ul><li>Easy navigation due to headings, graphics, etc. </li></ul><ul><li>Tables/graphics summarize results </li></ul><ul><li>Highlight key performance measures </li></ul><ul><li>Limited jargon/acronyms </li></ul>
  9. 12. Labor’s Citizens’ Report
  10. 13. Richard Lanham’s “paramedic method” <ul><li>Original: “Our nation’s schools are the basis for an economic resource that helps ensure that we are a country with educated citizens, full employment, and the ability to be fully competitive in the international marketplace.” </li></ul><ul><li>-- Dept. of Education PAR, fiscal 2007 </li></ul><ul><li>Revised: “Schools help ensure that our nation has an educated, internationally competitive workforce.” </li></ul><ul><li>Lard factor: (34-12)/34 = 65% </li></ul>
  11. 14. 3. Ensure the data are verifiable <ul><li>Provide complete data for all measures </li></ul><ul><li>Give sources for all data </li></ul><ul><li>Assess/rate data quality for each performance goal </li></ul><ul><li>Identify any major data challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Explain how and when data problems will be resolved </li></ul>
  12. 15. Veterans Affairs data table
  13. 17. 4. Establish context with baselines and trends <ul><li>Provide long range and multi-year targets </li></ul><ul><li>Provide prior years’ results and targets </li></ul><ul><li>Explain rationale for targets </li></ul>
  14. 18. DOJ: 5-year performance trends
  15. 19. Labor – Baselines, targets, and actual data
  16. 20. VA annual and long-term targets
  17. 21. 5. Make goals, objectives and measures outcome-oriented <ul><li>Strategic goals are measurable outcomes </li></ul><ul><li>Annual performance goals and targets are measurable outcomes even if strategic goals aren’t </li></ul><ul><li>Goals cover all of agency’s core missions </li></ul><ul><li>Report on actual outcomes and goals, not just whether goals were met or %’s of goals met </li></ul>
  18. 22. DOT strategic goals <ul><li>Enhance public health and safety by working toward the elimination of transportation-related deaths and injuries. </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce congestion and other impediments to using the Nation’s transportation system. </li></ul><ul><li>Facilitate an international transportation system that promotes economic growth and development. </li></ul><ul><li>Promote transportation solutions that enhance communities and protect the natural and built environment. </li></ul><ul><li>Balance transportation security requirements with the safety, mobility, and economic needs of the nation and be prepared to respond to emergencies that affect the viability of the transportation sector. </li></ul>
  19. 23. DOT outcome goals and measures
  20. 25. What was accomplished?
  21. 26. 6. Show how the agency’s actions affected outcomes <ul><li>Explain how programs are expected to achieve measured results </li></ul><ul><li>Construct measures so that they show how much the agency affected the outcomes, or </li></ul><ul><li>Make the case that measures are precursors to ultimate outcomes, or </li></ul><ul><li>Use program evaluation to demonstrate how much of the measured change was caused by the agency’s actions </li></ul>
  22. 27. Common Labor job training measures <ul><li>Percent of participants employed in the first quarter after exit </li></ul><ul><li>Percent of those employed in the first quarter after exit still employed in the second and third quarters after exit </li></ul><ul><li>Average earnings in the second and third quarters after exit </li></ul><ul><li>These could be turned into direct measures of program outcomes if they were expressed as comparisons with a control group not enrolled in the program. </li></ul>
  23. 28. NRC outcome precursors <ul><li>Number of “high safety significance” findings from power plant inspections </li></ul><ul><li>Number of “significant precursor events” that would increase risk of damage reactor fuel </li></ul><ul><li>Number of performance deficiencies requiring safety improvements </li></ul><ul><li>Number of adverse safety trends </li></ul>
  24. 29. DOT program evaluation
  25. 30. 7. Link performance measures with costs <ul><li>Ultimate goal is to allow decision-makers to compare outcomes with costs </li></ul><ul><li>Break down costs and link to individual outcome goals and measures </li></ul><ul><li>Include all costs, not just direct program costs </li></ul><ul><li>Include costs reflecting non-appropriated funds such as user fees </li></ul>
  26. 33. DHS resources and results
  27. 34. 8. Tell an outcome-oriented story <ul><li>Describe outcomes that benefit the public </li></ul><ul><li>Explain how the agency’s outcomes affect the public’s welfare if it’s not already obvious </li></ul><ul><li>Do not characterize inputs, dollars spent, or activities as benefits to the public; it’s results that matter </li></ul><ul><li>Make sure that vignettes illustrate typical results grounded in the performance metrics </li></ul>
  28. 35. VA performance summaries have stories …
  29. 36. … that illustrate performance data
  30. 37. Labor: Vignettes + data and analysis
  31. 38. 9. Candidly discuss failures and problems <ul><li>Clearly identify performance shortfalls and explain actual causes </li></ul><ul><li>Enumerate major management challenges (especially any that have been identified by external parties) </li></ul><ul><li>Identify more general challenges facing the organization </li></ul><ul><li>An accurate and informative report requires candor, not salesmanship </li></ul>
  32. 39. 10. Outline plans and timelines for improvement <ul><li>Explain concrete steps to remedy performance shortfalls </li></ul><ul><li>Explain concrete steps to deal with management challenges </li></ul><ul><li>Include plans to improve performance even when targets were met </li></ul>
  33. 42. DOT “progress meter”
  34. 44. For more information <ul><li>Mercatus Scorecard web page: </li></ul><ul><li>www.mercatus.org/scorecard </li></ul><ul><li>The 10 th annual Performance Report Scorecard (2009) names the reports that show especially good examples of each best practice, in the section titled “Strongest and Weakest Scores.” </li></ul>

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