National Performance Management Advisory Commission Releases Framework for State and Local Governments

Article excerpt

The following excerpt is from the National Performance Management Advisory Commission's final report, A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving. It is a message from the elected and appointed government leaders who served as members on the commission.

At no time in modern history have state, local, and provincial governments been under greater pressure to provide results that matter to the public, often within severe resource constraints. At the same time, government officials and managers are challenged to overcome the public's lack of trust in government at all levels.

We have developed this Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government to help public-sector organizations address these challenges.

The primary motive driving the commission and public-sector performance management in general is the conviction that governments must improve their focus on producing results that benefit the public, and also give the public confidence that government has produced those results. The emphasis on process and compliance that has typified traditional public-sector management has not been sufficient to make this happen. Therefore, governments must change their approach. Publicsector management must become synonymous with performance management.

Now is the time for governmental leaders to ensure that the organizations they lead are taking responsibility for achieving results that matter to the public - by practicing performance management.

Accomplishing this will require more than a conceptual framework. It will require public-sector leaders at all levels, both elected and appointed, not only to set high expectations for performance but also to make a commitment to improving performance. Leaders must instill a sense of urgency about improving performance in their governments, build performance-based organizational cultures and management structures, continuously communicate the necessity of listening to the public, and provide resources to assure that a performance-based culture and related practices are initiated and sustained. We believe that seeking out, understanding, and applying performance management principles and practices is not only a critical responsibility of public officials and managers, but that it is an ethical obligation.

To practice performance management, officials and managers must have accurate, timely, and relevant information for decision making, along with the skills and knowledge to analyze results and design improvements when needed. These are the learning and improving aspects of performance management.

Democratic governments are also obligated to be accountable to their owners - the citizenry. Performance management principles and practices give governments the ability to provide easily understood and timely information to the public so citizens can assess the results their government is producing and fulfill their role as collective owners of their governments.

The feedback we have received during the process of creating this framework has reinforced our view that governments want better information and practices that will help them improve results. This means providing better ways to:

* understand public needs;

* identify and implement programs and services that will meet those needs;

* assure that policies, strategies, and services are in alignment;

* collect and analyze performance information;

* apply information to continuously improve results and become more efficient;

* use data more effectively to inform policy decisions;

* support accountability, both within the organization and to the public;

* provide understandable information on performance to the public; and

* encourage citizens to provide feedback and get involved in the government's decision-making processes. …

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