Since the 2010 passage of the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act, federal agencies have enhanced how they measure performance to improve program results. Many have taken concrete steps to designate agency and cross-agency priority goals, create strategic plans, meet quarterly for performance reviews, and appoint chief operating officers and performance improvement officers.
All of these initiatives have resulted in better outcomes—but evidence shows that there’s still room to improve. According to surveys conducted for our reports of agency performance staff, most graded their agencies’ performance culture as a “C,” and 13.3% of respondents gave failing marks. In addition, only 48.3% of respondents claimed their departments’ top leadership uses performance data to drive decision-making to a “great” or “very great” extent.
There’s a strong perception that department-level leaders are making decisions without considering the analytical work. To truly enhance performance, it’s not enough to pay lip service to the importance of accountability—agencies need to do more to embed these data-driven measures into the organizational culture.
We’re committed to helping agencies further the progress they’ve already made in enhancing performance and accountability. We regularly convene the COOs and PIOs responsible for overseeing these initiatives and survey the federal employees who have a hand in implementing them. We track best practices and disseminate those findings across government, helping agency leaders learn from the successful efforts of their peers.