Performance council to lead new program evaluation approach

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor

The White House will roll out a new way to measure agency performance, promises to retool the federal hiring process and reiterates its commitment to acquisition reform.

These are among the policy initiatives President Barack Obama details in the fiscal 2010 Budget analytical perspectives section. The White House released the section today.

“The Obama administration will work with the Performance Improvement Council to fundamentally reconfigure how the federal government assess program performance,” the White House states in the section on Building a High Performing Government.

“A reformed performance improvement and analysis framework will switch the focus from grading programs as successful or unsuccessful to requiring agency leaders to set priority goals, demonstrate progress in achieving goals and explain performance trends.”

Office of Management and Budget director Peter Orszag last week in a conference call with reporters said that the Bush administration’s Performance Assessment Ratings Tool (PART) program was flawed in terms of implementation and design.

Over the next few months, each agency will identify high priority goals, which will be supported by “meaningful measures and quantitative targets.”

The President will meet with cabinet secretaries to review their progress toward meeting the performance targets, the document states.

The administration also lays out five areas the Performance Improvement Council will work on, including:

  • Establishing a comprehensive program and performance measurement system that shows how federal programs link to agency and governmentwide goals;
  • Reforming program assessment and performance measurement processes to emphasize the reporting of performance trends, explanations for the trends, mitigation of implementation risks and plans for improvement with accountable leads;
  • Streamlining reporting requirements under the Government Performance and Results Act and PART to reduce the burden on agencies and OMB;
  • Improving the communication of performance results to Congress, the public, and other stakeholders through better data display in agency reports and the Web site; and
  • Launching a comprehensive research program to study the comparative effectiveness of different program strategies to ensure that programs achieve their ultimate desired outcomes.

As for the federal workforce, the White House says the Office of Personnel Management will lead the effort to retool the federal hiring process.

OPM and the General Services Administration are charged with improving work-life issues for agency employees, including making greater use of rotational assignments and the new “work-at-a-distance” or telework initiative.

GSA will act as a “service provider” for the work-at-a-distance initiative letting employees access data and applications from remote locations.

On the Web:

FederalNewsRadio — Congress joins OMB in effort to cut agency programs

OMB — Analytical Perspectives

OMB — Analytical Perspectives: Building a High-Performing Government

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