Accountability and Performance Update – August 2 – 8, 2021

Updated OMB Budget & Performance Guidance

U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Annual updated budget and performance guidance to agencies, A-11, released for preparing their FY 2023 budget submissions (drafts due to OMB on September 13). Includes new section (in Part 6 – Federal Performance Framework for Improving Program and Service Delivery) on how agencies need to develop equity action plans by January 20, 2022.

Study to Identify Methods to Assess Equity: Report to the President

U.S. Office of Management and Budget

This report recommends that agency equity assessments be conducted by assembling cross-functional agency equity teams. . . with expertise in evaluation, data science, information technology, program integrity, financial management, acquisition, human resources, and other operational functions.

Tools of Control? Comparing Congressional and Presidential Performance Management Reforms

Public Administration Review (Alexander Kroll, Donald Moynihan)

Article examines claim that the president has a stronger interest in an effective bureaucracy than does Congress. It examines multiple waves of performance management reform, beginning with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

Trust and Collaboration Kept Cities Afloat During the Pandemic

What Works Cities

How data-driven cities maintained momentum, delivered results, and achieved certification as a “What Works Cities.”

Climate-Forward Government: Seven Lessons for Effective Climate Action

Deloitte Insights

We cannot tackle the 21st century imperatives of climate change with 20th century solutions. Bolder actions and a whole-of-government approach are needed.

How Strategic Foresight Can Help Create Forward-Looking Public Policies


Five lessons for aspiring government foresight practitioners from a scenarios process examining the future of global collaboration

ASPA-CAP Webinar: Trust: A Powerful Tool for Public Servants (August 12 – 1 p.m., Eastern)

Achieving accountability and performance in the public sector rests on trust—that is, trust between the public and public servants, as well as among public servants. Panelists for this webinar will discuss the importance of building and nurturing trust.

Webinar: Meaningful Measurement (August 17)

Centre for Public Impact

Beyond registration for the webinar, this link collates a wide range of materials exploring Meaningful Measurement. Scroll down to explore.

Resource of the Week:  Data Quality Campaign

The Data Quality Campaign (DQC) is the nation’s leading voice on education data policy and use. Our mission is to advocate to change the role of data in education so that every student is not only counted, but counts.

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Accountability and Performance Update – July 26 – August 1, 2021

NextGen Actionable Insights

Project Evident – July 2021 Newsletter

Project Evident’s Actionable Evidence Initiative works to improve the outcomes of students who are Black, Latino/a/x, or experiencing poverty by promoting “actionable evidence.” 

Evidence-Based Policymaking: Survey Data Identify Opportunities to Strengthen Capacity across Federal Agencies

Government Accountability Office

GAO surveyed about 4,000 federal managers in 2020, and nearly all respondents said they had at least one type of evidence available for their programs. However, many fewer reported that their agencies had sufficient capacity (e.g., staff with skills) to develop and use evidence.

FYI: Here are the survey data details:

Evaluating Evidence Building Plans: A Review of Five Federal Learning Agendas

The Data Foundation

The Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act of 2018 (Evidence Act) requires federal agencies to produce evidence-building plans, or learning agendas.1 While the initial cohort of public learning agendas required by the Evidence Act is not expected to be published until 2022, some agencies have already published learning agendas or produced interim plans offering insights and approaches that may be helpful to other organizations. 

The Value of Organizational Health

PATimes (Andrew Kleine)

When I confront a problem, my first instinct is to gather data. In the same way that I had always obsessed over service delivery metrics, financial trends and outcome indicators, I wanted to measure and monitor the well-being of my organization, which really means the people who do the work. . . . There are seven factors around which to develop your Organizational Health Dashboard. . . . 

Resource of the Week: Analysis of the American Rescue Plan’s Evidence-Based Policymaking Provisions

The Policy Lab

By using the best available data and research to inform decision making, state leaders can ensure federal funding is invested in the most effective programs and policies that will lead to improved state outcomes. 

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Accountability and Performance Update – July 19 – 25, 2021

Centering Racial Equity in Measurement and Evaluation

Urban Institute

This brief explores how racial equity and inclusion can strengthen nonprofits’ measurement and evaluation work and how measurement and evaluation help nonprofits identify inequities and use data to improve the operationalization of REI practices. 

Interim Implementation Guidance for the Justice40 Initiative

U.S. Office of Management and Budget

Outlines a whole-of-government approach and directs agencies to develop performance targets to invest in environmental justice initiatives and spur economic development in disadvantaged communities.

Broadcasting Good News, Learning from Bad News

Public Administration

This journal article shows that “decline narratives” (bad news) lead to higher internal use (learning and control purposes) of performance information. In contrast, “increase narratives” (good news) lead to higher external use (giving account and building support purposes) of performance information.

Implementing the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services

An overview of the Act, key contact officials at the department, and the role of the Assistant Secretary for Policy and Evaluation. 

Performance Highlights Newsletter – July 2021

Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations

Examples of sustained improvements, identified information gaps, improving service coordination and four upcoming evaluations to be completed by 2022.

Resource of the Week: Colorado Department of Transportation’s FY2022 Annual Performance Plan. A great example of what state agencies are doing these days re: performance transparency.

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Accountability and Performance Update – July 12 – 18, 2021

A Path Forward for Funding Relief

Richmond Times-Dispatch (Bill Leighty)

Governments at the state and local levels are faced with an unheard-of set of fiscal circumstances. That is, a financial windfall of unprecedented proportions due to the passage of the American Rescue Plan and previous COVID-19 relief packages.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Recognizes 16 U.S. Cities for Using Data Most Effectively

Bloomberg Philanthropies 

Fourth annual What Works Cities certification commends excellence in using evidence and data to improve city services, increase transparency, and promote civic engagement. Data has proved crucial to guiding city responses to COVID-19.

Strategic Planning Requirement Presents Opportunity to Transform Agency Cultures

Government Matters (Robert Shea)

Shea said he encourages people to read the OMB guidance and emphasized that the requirement has been building up over multiple administrations and is here to stay.

A Plan for America: Design a Project, Track Outcomes, Receive Matching Dollars

Deseret News (Ben McAdams)

A proposal from Results for America and Maycomb Capitol could help local governments jump-start innovated solutions to community problems.

Resource of the Week: City Health Dashboard: Explore health data in your city.

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Accountability and Performance Update – July 5 – 11, 2021

States Can Use Federal Stimulus Money to Evaluate Program Effectiveness

Pew Charitable Trusts

As states continue to respond to the health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, policymakers should look to use federal stimulus money to bolster efforts to regularly evaluate the effectiveness of programs and more broadly use evidence to invest in policies and programs proved to work.

White House Tells Watchdog It Won’t Comply with Some Priority Suggestions to Improve Government

Government Executive

OMB has told the chief government watchdog it will not comply with several of its recommendations aimed at improving the performance and oversight of government, arguing the changes are unnecessary or that it had already addressed the concerns. 

How Far American Rescue Plan Dollars Will Stretch Varies by State


States have until the end of 2024 to obligate the funds; some have already allocated substantial shares or are debating proposals to do so

Why Policy Should Be Governed by Evidence


Without decisions made for the long term based on evidence, we are in danger of living with decisions that serve political agendas, not people.

The Rule Is Simple: Be Careful What You Measure

The Guardian

If there’s one management platitude that should have been throttled at birth, it’s ‘what gets measured gets managed’.  

Resource of the WeekAmerican Rescue Plan & COVID-19 Resources: This resources page shares the latest updates, including summaries of and links to new federal laws and legislation, federal agency guidance, state government resources, local government actions, as well as other tools and resources to help policymakers who are looking for evidence-based solutions to protect their most vulnerable residents.

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