Accountability and Performance Update – April 11-17, 2022

Two Years of Covid Oversight: A Look Back

Government Executive

The CARES Act of 2020 created three pandemic-related oversight entities, and our series will examine their successes and failures as well as their challenges and goals moving forward.

How Small Cities Can Make Big Leaps with Data

Bloomberg Cities Network

You don’t have to be a big city to do big things with data.. . . That’s an unmistakable takeaway from some of the latest cities to achieve What Works Cities Certification, a designation that means they are among the best in the U.S. at using data to deliver better results for their residents. . . Here are five more lessons from the newest Certified cities. 

Toward a Better Measure: Recommendations for State Policy and Education Leaders on Measuring Student Need

Data Quality Campaign

For decades, schools nationwide have collected household income data to identify those eligible for free and reduced-price lunch programs. State leaders have long used this information as a proxy for student economic disadvantage—yet this data is insufficient to understand and address students’ needs.

Targeting Commitment: Interagency Performance in New Zealand

Brookings Institution Press (Rodney Scott, Ross Boyd)

This book explores how and why the New Zealand government in 2012 organized its efforts around achieving 10 results that had previously been resistant to change and how the program was able to create and sustain the commitment of public servants and unleash the creativity of public entrepreneurs.

Resource of the Week:  ASPA Section on Public Performance and Management

SPPM is sponsored by the American Society of Public Administration and promotes the advancement of management and productivity in public and non-profit organizations. It facilitates the exchange of experiences, research results and methodologies chiefly among academics in the US and abroad. It also sponsors the journal, Public Productivity and Management Review.

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Accountability and Performance Update – April 4-10, 2022

Pandemic Waste Is Enough to Make a Person Cry

Federal News Network (Interview with Comptroller General Gene Dodaro)

“[A]gencies were supposed to implement 2016 legislation to implement GAO best practices for preventing fraud before it occurred. But they were slow to put these in place. So SBA and Department of Labor weren’t really as ready as they should have been to prevent fraud before the pandemic emergency.”

Performance Measurement Is Alive and Well

FCW (Steve Kelman)

“The President’s budget just came out — and lo and behold, it includes a document called Our Government’s Goals, that lists performance goals by agency. I opened a few of them – for Social Security, Transportation, the Environmental Protection Agency, the General Services Administration and the Office of Personnel Management. . .  As I look at the priority performance goals in the list, my overall reaction is that they are pretty good.”

How Cross-Branch Collaboration Helps States Strengthen Evidence-Based Policymaking

Pew Charitable Trusts – Results First

Results First has identified three strategies for improved cross-branch collaboration: 1. incorporating collaboration into law; 2. developing diverse advisory groups; and 3. establishing shared tools and processes.

Biden’s Management Agenda Update Includes Metrics for Workforce Goals

Government Executive

The first major update to the management agenda adds more detail to goals related to the federal workforce and improving customer experience, as well as metrics to measure agencies’ performance. Goals and metrics related to “the business of government” remain under development, the administration wrote.

Pandemic Sharpens Government Focus on Data

Deloitte/Wall Street Journal

As agencies discovered the full power of data-sharing during the pandemic, many rushed to adopt new tools and policies, often boosting the role of the chief data officer along the way.

Pittsburgh Recognized for Exceptional Use of Data and Evidence to Improve Residents’ Lives

City of Pittsburgh/What Works Cities

Pittsburgh is proud to announce that it has achieved What Works Cities Certification in recognition of its exceptional use of data to guide decision-making and improve residents’ lives. What Works Cities Certification, a national Bloomberg Philanthropies initiative led by Results for America, has awarded Certification to 55 U.S. cities for outstanding data practices since 2017.

Resource of the Week:  Data Foundation/Data Coalition

The nonprofit Data Foundation conducts research and educational activities on the use of data to solve public problems, accelerate policy coordination, and advance innovation. The Data Coalition is an initiative of the Foundation; it is a membership-based national advocacy community for responsible policies to make government data high-quality, accessible, and usable.

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Accountability and Performance Update – March 28 – April 3, 2022

Federal Agencies’ Strategic Plans Now Available

U.S. General Services Administration

Agency Strategic Plans for 2022-2026 are available now and can be viewed from the homepage by clicking “Agencies” at the top of the page and selecting a specific agency from the dropdown menu. Also available are agencies’ priority goals and their first-ever set of learning agendas.

Delivering High Performance Government

U.S. Office of Management and Budget

This chapter from the Analytical Perspectives volume accompanying the President’s Budget provides an overview of the Federal Government’s Performance Framework approach to performance man­agement and its application by the Administration to improve outcomes in delivering a high-performance Government. It’s a terrific synthesis of what is going on, management-wise.

Building and Using Evidence to Improve Government Effectiveness

U.S. Office of Management and Budget

This chapter from the Analytical Perspectives volume accompanying the President’s Budget provides an overview of the Federal Government’s commitment to promoting a culture of evidence. It provides a statutory background and specific policy and spending commitments in the coming year.

Career reflections from an evidence leader

GovInnovator (Andy Feldman)

In his 200th interview, Andy Feldman is joined by one of the most respected people within the evidence and evaluation field, Dr. Naomi Goldstein, to share reflections on her 21-year career at the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) at the U.S. Department of Human Services. She is the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Planning, Research, and Evaluation at ACF. She will retire from federal service this week after a 21-year tenure at ACF.

Awards for Local Government Performance Audit Reports – 2021

Association of Local Government Auditors

The Knighton Awards recognize the best performance audit reports of the year. The following reports were recognized for their excellence for calendar year 2021. Some great examples of well-prepared reports by different-sized audit shops!

Resource of the Week:  Federal Agency Performance Dashboard

The Partnership for Public Service has created a dashboard that offers a snapshot of agency operations in an easily digestible visual format. The dashboard includes personnel numbers, employee demographics, political appointments, employee engagement scores, and social media engagement. About half the data will be updated automatically daily.

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Accountability and Performance Update – March 21-27, 2022

The Center for Accountability and Performance (CAP) conducted its Virtual CAP Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, March 30, 2022.  Prior to Covid-19, these awards would have been presented in person at the ASPA Annual Conference.

The CAP Chair and each of the Award Chairs presented the 2022 Awards as follows:

The Harry Hatry Distinguished Performance Management Practice Award — John M. Kamensky

Richard Greene and Rakesh Mohan, Award Co-Chairs

The Joseph Wholey Distinguished Scholarship Award — Sounman Hong

Elaine Lu, Award Chair

The CAP Organizational Leadership Award — The New Mexico Legislative Finance Committee 

Monica Croskey Chaparro and Katherine Barrett, Award Co-Chairs

The CAP Emerging Leaders Award of Excellence — Jaime Lees, Arlington County Government, VA; Rudy de Leon Dinglas, The Johns Hopkins Center for Government Excellence, MD; Haley Kadish, City of Albuquerque, NM; and Tim Moreland, City of Chattanooga, TN.

Michael Jacobson, Award Chair

Congratulations to each of the 2022 CAP Award Recipients for their outstanding contributions and service to their communities and to the field of performance management.  (See “Awards” from the Menu for a more detailed Summary of the 2022 CAP Awards)


Senate Bill Aims to Improve Federal Coordination with States and Localities

New legislation sponsored by Sen. Gary Peters, a Michigan Democrat, would require two federal entities, the Office of Management and Budget and the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs, to develop a strategic plan to increase coordination between the federal government and state, local and tribal governments.

Managing for Motivation as a Public Performance Improvement Strategy

Center for International Development, Harvard University (Dan Honig)

People management has an important role to play in improving public agency performance. This paper argues that a ‘Route Y’ managerial approach focused on supporting the empowered exercise of employee judgment will in many circumstances prove superior to conventional reform approaches steeped in ‘Route X’ monitoring and incentives. Returns to Route Y are greater when employees are or can become more “mission motivated” – that is, aligned with the goals of the agency in the absence of monitoring and extrinsic incentives.

Data Literacy for the Public Sector: Lessons from Early Pioneers in the U.S.

Data Foundation

Looking across the ten pioneers discussed in this report, nine key lessons emerged that are relevant for government agencies as they design data literacy capacity and programs.

Resource of the Week:  ARP Data and Evidence Dashboard (Results for America)

The American Rescue Plan includes a $350 billion investment in states and localities to make key investments in people and infrastructure. How is that money being spent by more than 19,000 units of government? The US Treasury requires recipient reports on plans and uses . This dashboard summarizes and displays data from more than 200 publicly available Recovery Plan Performance Reports from states and large localities.

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Accountability and Performance Update – March 14-20, 2022

Colorado’s “Evidence Continuum” Promotes Efficient, Effective Programs

Pew Charitable Trust, Results First

Colorado is a leader among states using data and research to strengthen their budget investment choices. Since 2014, it has applied research evidence to fund programs that work. For example, the state’s Office of State Planning and Budgeting requires evidence in an agency’s budget requests for changes to program funds, including expansions, reductions, and new projects.

“Significant Progress” Can Mean Allowing More Road Deaths

Washington Post

Half of states set goals for more people to die in crashes. Twenty-one planned for more pedestrians and cyclists to be hurt or killed. . . . The goals are part of a target-setting system that federal transportation officials devised in 2016 to measure what the public is getting for tens of billions of dollars from Washington that states spend each year. But by permitting targets that involve lower levels of performance, it has allowed states to do worse while still being labeled as making “significant progress” — a designation thatavoids consequences such as limits on how money can be spent.

Federal Billions and a Lost World of Accountability

Governing (Donald Kettl)

The stimulus program that followed the Great Recession was a model for tracking projects and spending down to the ZIP code level. We don’t have that with the American Rescue Plan, dooming us to fight about what matters most.

Portland’s New Review of Its Audit Recommendations

Barrett & Greene

Many audit offices do reviews of recommendations and the city of Portland, Oregon has just done a notable job by creating a visual dashboard comparing how agencies responded to recommendations made by City Auditor Mary Hull Caballero through 2021.

The Promise of Program Budgeting (Webinar, April 7)


There are many reasons to consider adopting program budgeting, but perhaps the most important is its ability to create a more transparent budget and budget development process. A program budget shows precisely what the government does and how much it costs.

Resource of the Week:  Centers for Civic Impact

The Centers for Civic Impact at Johns Hopkins University hosts three performance-related initiatives.  (1) The Center for Government Excellence, which provides coaching and technical assistance to city governments and nonprofits; (2) the GovEx Academy, which provides training and education; and (3) the Center for Applied Public Research, which supports evidence-based research and its application.

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