Accountability and Performance Update – October 25-31, 2021

Is a Focus on Goals a Good Idea?

Government Executive

Effective organizations encourage self-control, good process, proper discussion, and are more driven by growth mindsets than unrealistic performance metrics, according to the authors of this article.

States Bolster Program Evaluation Using American Rescue Plan Funds

Pew Charitable Trusts/Results First Initiative

Leaders in Colorado and New Mexico are considering an innovative approach using federal relief funding to build capacity for evidence-based policymaking – a smart investment that can have a positive impact down the road.

A Guide for Using Administrative Data to Examine Long-Term Outcomes in Program Evaluation


This guide is a resource to assist program evaluation teams—including funders, sponsors, and evaluation research partners—in assessing the feasibility and potential value of examining long-term outcomes using administrative data.

Three Keys to a Successful Evaluation Office

GovInnovator (Podcast)

What does it take to be a successful evaluation office within a public agency? Three things that are important are being trustworthy, being engaging, and being relentless, explains Dr. Susan Jenkins, director of performance and evaluation for the Administration for Community Living in the Department of Health and Human Services.

Practical Steps for Building State Capacity and Infrastructure to Data for Evidence-Based Decision Making

NORC at University of Chicago (Nancy Potok and Nick Hart)

This paper provides a roadmap based on specific examples taken from successful federal and state experiences that can help states and local governments build capacity and infrastructure to use data for evidence-based decision-making. (scroll past cover page to see the actual paper).

Resource of the Week:  Customer Experience One-Stop for Selected Federal Services

Office of Management and Budget

While most of the projects undertaken via Cross-Agency Priority Goals have gone into hibernation on OMB’s website – after the end of the Trump administration and until the Biden administration launches its own CAP goals — the Customer Experience initiative continues and is becoming increasingly informative and substantive. Hopefully this will be the model all new CAP goals will adopt, instead of the previous static, stale approach used in the past.

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Accountability and Performance Update – October 18-24, 2021

NEW: List of Curated Academic Articles on Performance. The chair of CAP’s Joseph Wholey Distinguished Scholarship Award committee, Dr. Elaine Lu, has created a curated list of academic journal articles published in 2020 and 2021. It is ONLY a start and by no means complete. You are invited to contribute additional articles that you may have identified that you think should be considered for the Wholey Award for 2021.  This editable Google Docs file will also serve the broader academic community by becoming a one-stop shopping for up-to-date scholarly publications on performance-related topics. Contributors will be invited to a small gathering at the end of 2021.

The Missing Element in Revitalizing the Workforce: Performance

Government Executive (Howard Risher)

As long as day-to-day management of performance remains unchanged, it’s unrealistic to expect better results.

Three Pandemic Lessons for the Next Crisis

Government Executive (Katherine Barrett, Richard Greene, and Donald Kettl)

Data is the key to understanding a problem well enough to develop a solution. Everyone involved in combating big problems needs to be able to communicate with each other – both to understand the problem and to share strategies to solve the problem.

Data Mapping the Social Determinants of Public Health


A commission created by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation argues that tracking metrics reflecting the social factors of health – such as diet and housing – is integral to reforming the current disjointed public health data system.

Podcast: Managing Performance at the Veterans Benefits Administration

Government Executive

Paul Lawrence, former undersecretary for veterans benefits, joined the podcast to talk about paths to government transformation and the importance of performance management, and his new book on the topic “Transforming Service to Veterans.”

OMB Releases Federal Data Strategy 2021Action Plan

Federal News Network

The Office of Management and Budget released its new action plan, setting interagency goals around the use of artificial intelligence in government, while also assessing progress made under last year’s action plan.

Evidence-Based Policy Provisions in Build Back Better Act

Results for America

This public letter highlights specific evidence-supporting provisions in pending legislation as well as recommendations on how they might be strengthened.

New Analysis of State Fiscal Recovery Funds

National Association of State Budget Officers

This issue brief looks at processes for allocating State Fiscal Recovery Funds and planned uses, based on state and territory reports in their recovery plans to the U.S. Treasury.

Resources of the Week:

Interactive Dashboards to Track Spending and Performance of Federal Pandemic Relief Funds

Pandemic Relief Accountability Committee

Here’s a set of federal interactive dashboards along with data and other interactive tools. They allow you to drill down to find details about more than $5 trillion in federal spending related to the pandemic.

New York State COVID Relief Program Tracker. The state’s Comptroller has created a dashboard to track federal relief funds received during the pandemic. It explains what the funds are authorized for use, how much has been received and spent.

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Accountability and Performance Update – October 11-17, 2021

To Budget for Equity, Cities First Must Define Equity

Route Fifty (Anjali Chainani)

Without a clear and shared definition of equity, city leaders cannot understand the underlying conditions that create existing disparities in their community, let alone make informed budget decisions that foster equity. No one-size-fits-all definition of equity exists.

The Evidence Checklist: how to make sure your evidence is high-quality


It’s vital that you check whether the evidence you’re using is trustworthy, timely and reliable. To help you do this we have put together a checklist to help you identify if evidence is worth your time or worthless.

‘Evidence’ Is the Word of the Year. Neither Party Owns It

Roll Call (Ted McCann and Nick Hart)

There is more bipartisanship in Congress than most acknowledge, and no matter what they say, neither party has a monopoly on evidence. . . .A movement is underway to use better information to guide key decisions. This, in turn, yields a clearer picture of whether important programs achieve their goals and improve people’s lives.

National Science Foundation by the Numbers: New Beta Website

Provides statistical and funding information for awards, NSF-funded institutions, funding rate, proposals evaluated, and obligations by fiscal year. Great example of agency-level open data.

Biden Administration Makes Climate Information and Decision Tools More Accessible

White House

The administration has launched a whole-of-government initiative to deliver accessible and actionable information to individuals and communities that are being hit by flooding, drought, wildfires, extreme heat, coastal erosion, and other intensifying climate impacts. This effort will put authoritative and useful information into the hands of more Americans.

CAP-Sponsored WebinarImplementing the $350 Billion Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund

(Wednesday, October 20, 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern)

This panel of leaders on the front line of implementing this program will discuss key issues from federal, state, and local perspectives – such as allocation decisions, the role of citizen input, and reporting requirements — with special attention to performance and accountability issues.

New BookData Science for Social Good: Philanthropy and Social Impact in a Complex World

Springer Publishers (Massimo Lapucci and Ciro Cattuto, Eds.)

A collection of essays by thought leaders in the fields of computer science, complex systems, and computational social science who examine performance-related challenges in areas such as humanitarian response, public health, and sustainable development.

Resource of the Week: Andy Feldman’s Gov Innovator

The motivation behind the Gov Innovator podcast is the crucial role that public management — and, in particular, results-focused leadership — play in addressing our nation’s important challenges. The goal of the podcast is to share useful practices and insights related to evidence, data, innovation and leadership. To date, he has recorded 190 interviews.

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Accountability and Performance Update – October 4-10, 2021

Follow the Data and Tie Funding to Outcomes

Government Matters TV/American Idea Foundation

American Idea Foundation President and former Speaker Paul Ryan talked with Government Matters‘ Mimi Geerges about his work in Congress to fight poverty and expand economic opportunities. In the interview, Speaker Ryan discussed how the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act is currently being utilized by federal agencies to modernize data collection, analysis, security, and dissemination practices.

Managing the Next Crisis: Twelve Principles for Dealing with Viral Uncertainty

Katherine Barrett, Richard Greene, and Donald Kettl

Principle #12: Accountability is often the first casualty in a crisis – even when governments know the results of their efforts.

To Budget for Equity, Cities Must First Define Equity


Without a clear and shared definition of equity, city leaders cannot understand the underlying conditions that create existing disparities in their community, let alone make informed budget decisions that foster equity.

Collecting Data About Our Data

City of Baltimore

In Baltimore, data stewards – representatives from each agency – have been capturing and describing the data that their agency managers or uses into a template, then publishes it on Open Baltimore so city staff and residents know about the data being collected and managed.

Metrics Management and Bureaucratic Accountability: Evidence from Policing

American Journal of Political Science (Laurel Eckhouse) (gated access)

This paper concludes that “CompStat is associated with at least 3,500 additional minor arrests per city-year, substantial data manipulation, and no decrease in serious crime.”

A Meta-Analysis of the Government Performance-Trust Link

Public Administration Review (Jiasheng Zhang, Hui Li, Kaifeng Yang) (gated access)

The results imply that in order to nurture and sustain trust in government, we should pay more attention to societal cultures and the way government performance information is provided. 

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Accountability and Performance Update – September 29 – October 3, 2021

Making the Case for Insight-Enabling Analytics

National Association of State Chief Information Officers

Based on the top ten priorities that state chief information officers identified for 2021, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers published a report about the value and importance of CIO-led activities related to data analytics, such as data governance and management, boosting state analytical capabilities to drive use data insights, focusing on outcomes and measurement, and supporting evidence-based policy. (H/T to Results for America).

Two Online Tools in Minnesota Help Assess Effectiveness of Social Programs

Pew Charitable Trusts, Results First Project

Minnesota has created two public, innovative, and interactive online tools to help policymakers determine how best to appropriate public funds: the Minnesota Inventory and the Evidence Base Demographics website. (H/T to Results for America).

A Government Practitioner’s Guide to Better Success Metrics

Centre for Public Impact (Marc Hebert)

Success metrics (key performance indicators, data dashboards, audits, evaluations, etc.) are frequently used to manage and control what we do and how we do it. As a result, we can fixate our attention on meeting the metric (e.g., # of people served) rather than its intended result (e.g., # of lives saved).

Resource of the Week: List of U.S. Government Accountability Office Reports on Performance Management

Center for Accountability & Performance

This link provides a curated list of about 100 U.S. Government Accountability Office reports between 1992 and 2021 on the topic of performance management.

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