The purpose of this paper is to address the following questions: Who should be responsible for guiding the federal government’s performance in the next Administration? How can the next President achieve real improvements in federal policy outcomes?
Since enactment of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) in 1993, the efforts of successive Administrations have built a legacy of assets useful to the next Administration: an armature of strategic plans and performance measures supported by an infrastructure of staff and processes in the agencies built incrementally and now quite sophisticated. These have provided the executive branch with enhanced capacity to drive improved results at a time when there will be a growing premium on making better use of budget resources.
Despite these advances, our review of the experiences of those involved in managing program assessment and performance improvement at various levels across government suggests that these efforts have led, to date, to only limited improvement in government programs. This has raised questions about their cost-effectiveness, that is, about whether the time and energy devoted to assessing performance is justified by the returns to date in improving performance.
The advice provided here reflects lessons captured during the authors’ discussions with diverse staff and officers both in OMB and in the agencies. Synthesizing these views and our own, we offer a set of goals and recommended strategies to improve government performance in the next Administration.
The advice provided in this report reflects lessons captured during the authors’ discussions with diverse staff and officers both in the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and in various agencies. Synthesizing these views and our own, we offer a set of goals and recommended strategies to improve government performance in the next Administration, including: