Accountability and Performance Update – January 17-23, 2022

Is Performance Measurement a Fad That Has Now Come and Gone?

Federal Computer Week (Steve Kelman)

Steve Kelman warns that a constant priority under the previous four presidents is getting far less attention from the Biden administration.

How Agencies Are Using Data and Data Science to Evaluate Programs

Federal News Network

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act, passed back in 2018, aims to bring data and data science more deeply into evaluation. There’s even a foundation to support this work. Recently it surveyed agencies to see how they’re doing. Data Foundation president Nick Hart joined the Federal Drive with Tom Temin to discuss the findings.

Why Do We Need to Rethink Budgeting?

ICMA/Government Finance Officers Association

The public finance profession has an opportunity to update local government budgeting practices to take advantage of new ways of thinking, new technologies, and to better meet the changing needs of communities. The Rethinking Budgeting initiative will raise new and interesting ideas like those featured in this paper and will produce guidance for state and local policy makers on how to local government budget systems can be adapted to today’s needs.

Resource of the Week: Funding Performance Profiles (Nonprofits)

Links to reports and papers by Foundations and other Funders of nonprofit grantees that support learning and performance improvements by grant recipients.

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Accountability and Performance Update – January 10-16, 2022

Federal Employee Pulse Survey: Preliminary Insights
In October, the President’s Management Council (PMC), together with the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management, and the General Services Administration piloted the first-ever, Government-wide pulse survey that allow leaders to hear directly from their 2 million employees about issues such as the pandemic, equity, and engagement with work.

Dos and Don’ts: Tips for Strengthening Your Performance Management Systems

Urban Institute (Harry Hatry, Batia Katz, Katherine Barrett, Richard Greene)

This report breaks down “dos and don’ts” for performance management—best practices for collecting, analyzing, presenting, disseminating, and using performance data.

US Cities Use Data to Fight Race and Income Gaps


In October 2020, Bloomberg Philanthropy’s Stacey Gillett helped start a program with Bloomberg’s What Works Cities initiative, bringing together budget and finance heads from several dozen cities to look at how to foster an equitable recovery from the pandemic. . . . Data has played a central role in crafting policies focused on boosting equality.

Using Data to Inform Decisions

Twitter Stream (@emilytroutman)

Disaster reporter Emily Troutman describes how Montgomery County, MD, began sharing school COVID data publicly to show which schools would close because of high infection rates – then stopped when too many schools were closing: “Generation of useless data is one of the top ways that aid groups and governments fail people in need.”

Resource of the Week: Centre for Public Impact

CPI is a learning partner involved in helping public servants (1) collectively make sense of the complex challenges facing people and (2) adopt an action-learning, experimental, iterative mindset to day-to-day activities. They work in Europe, North America, and Australia/New Zealand.

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Accountability and Performance Update – January 3-9, 2022

Tennessee Adds More Evidence, Data Requirements to Budget Proposal Process

Kingsport Times News

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is required to present next year’s budget proposal before Feb. 1, and the process leading up to it now includes a complete evidence-based budget analysis, including a series of new questions for each state agency.

U.S. Treasury Releases Final Guidance for Performance Reporting on Recovery Funds

U.S. Treasury Department

The American Rescue Plan established the Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds to provide $340 billion to states, localities and tribal governments. This final guidance encourages evidence-based services in education, nutrition, social programs; and investments in evidence building and program evaluation.

Priority-Based Budgeting Has a Short-Term Impact

Public Budgeting & Finance Journal (David Mitchell et al)

Do results justify the significant organizational costs of changing budget and accounting practices? It does work, but authors caution that budgetary reallocation toward higher-priority departments begins to wane by the third year after priority-based budgeting is implemented, potentially limiting its long-term effectiveness.

Rooting for the Infrastructure Implementation Task Force

Government Executive (Ed DeSeve)

The new Implementation Task Force created by President Biden to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act should actively work to see that state, local, tribal and territorial governments are adequately organized to receive and account for funds.

Resource of the Week:  National Center for Public Performance

Institute for Public Service, Suffolk University-Boston

NCPP sponsors conferences, training events, research, and publications supporting a network of public performance practitioners and academics in the US and across the globe. The new Center executive director is Aroon Manoharan and the new managing director is Mary Gibson.

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Accountability and Performance Update – December 27, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Defense Department to Reform its Planning-Programming-Budgeting-Execution System

Federal News Network

Two new legislative provisions require studies of the Pentagon’s PPBE system. One sets up an expert commission to take the current process apart and come up with alternatives. A second orders Defense itself to create a plan to consolidate all of the IT systems it uses to plan and execute its budget.

Reflections from Collaborations on Projects Using Behavioral Science

Office of Evaluation Services, U.S. General Services Administration

The office held an event to celebration completion of 100 collaborations across government using data and technology to improve service delivery governmentwide. It reflected on lessons learned from successes and failures.

The Science of Visual Data Communication: What Works

Psychological Science in the Public Interest

This report presents research-backed guidelines for creating powerful and intuitive visualizations oriented toward communicating data to students, coworkers, and the general public. Figure 2 is an amazing summary!

Participatory Budgeting in New York City

NYC Civic Engagement Commission

There are three participatory budgeting processes in New York City – at the neighborhood level, 33 neighborhoods are participating. The City Council sponsors projects in 10 council districts. Public schools are also participating in projects. 

City of Flagstaff, AZ, Applies Priority-Based Budgeting Techniques


The City of Flagstaff is in its second year of using Priority Based Budgeting (PBB) to guide the creation of its annual budget around seven strategic priorities.

Little Rock, AR, Uses Open Data to Drive Resident Engagement

What Works Cities

Little Rock is one of 23 cities to achieve 20201 What Works Cities Certification. This blog post highlights two specific case examples of what the city has done to improve relations with citizens and improve neighborhood safety.

Resource of the Week: Performance and Management Guide

Health Resources & Services Administration, US Department of Health & Human Services

While this guide is 10 years old, it still covers the basics fairly well. It is missing the more recent trends re: greater use of granular, real-time administrative data, an emphasis on evidence and evaluation, an emphasis on incorporating equity into measures, and the use of social behavioral sciences in assessing the impact of measures on staff and clients. . . in some ways, it shows how the performance management movements has matured.

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Accountability and Performance Update – December 20-26, 2021

Does Performance Information Matter to Organizational Outcomes?

American Review of Public Administration (Xu Han and Donald Moynihan)

A study of Texas school districts, where performance management systems are mature, found that using performance information, especially for strategic planning purposes had strong positive effects  in the long termbut did not have similar effects in daily management of school systems. The authors conclude that context matters.

Federal Evaluation Officials 2021: Survey Results on Agency Evaluation Capacity to Implement the Evidence Act

Data Foundation

The survey provides exploratory and suggestive insights about the growth of evaluation practice in federal agencies, while also identifying early Evidence Act successes and challenges experienced by evaluation leaders. 

Evidence-Based Grantmaking in Social Services

Results for America

Excerpt from the broader “Invest in What Works” report (below) that describes how a 2019 Minnesota law requires systematic use of evidence to allocate hundreds of millions of dollars annually.

How States and Localities Can Use Data to Spend Federal Funds Wisely

Pew Charitable Trusts

Applying an evidence-based approach to funding new infrastructure problems can ensure communities get the biggest bang for each federal buck.

Resource of the Week: Invest in What Works: 2021 State Standard of Excellence

Results for America

Following its early December announcement of the top states using evidence in making decisions, Results for America has posted more details — 202 examples of data-driven and evidence-based practices, policies, programs, and systems in effect as of August 2021 in 36 states across the country.

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