Council to assess agency performance

Federal Register notice

The Office of Management and Budget May 29 announced the establishment of the Performance Measurement Advisory Council that will help OMB assess the effectiveness of agencies' programs and initiatives and use that information in developing the federal budget.

The new council will be composed of about six members who are experts in performance measurement from all professional fields, according to a Federal Register notice.

Council members will advise OMB on creating, implementing and evaluating performance measurement standards, and they also will recommend any metrics or benchmarking systems that agencies can use to track program performance.

OMB also will call on the council for help in using the recommended performance measures to make management and budget decisions at all levels.

"The council's proposed functions are essential to OMB's successful implementation of an effective system of program evaluation," the notice states.

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires all agencies to develop and report on performance measures for every program. But agencies are struggling to set appropriate goals and determine appropriate metrics, and implementation of the law has been slow.

Many experts expect agencies' capabilities to grow in the coming years because of increased experience with GPRA, but also because performance management is a key part of the President's Management Agenda. The management agenda focuses on five areas: strategic workforce management, expanded use of e-government, increased competitive bidding of government services, improved financial performance and linking performance to budgets.

In addition to measuring agencywide performance through the management scorecard that is now a part of the president's budget, the White House chose several specific programs for particular attention in the fiscal 2003 budget. In April, the administration expanded that list of programs for the fiscal 2004 budget and started developing common performance measures.

The council will provide independent expert advice on how to address the performance measurement challenge and will be in place for at least nine months, according to the notice.

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