Administration sees key role for PIOs

Performance improvement officers will play a key part in steering agencies toward program performance goals in the coming years, according to administration budget officials.

Officials touted the role of the newly created PIO in improving agency performance in the Bush administration’s “Analytical Perspectives” on its fiscal 2009 budget request. In November, President Bush issued Executive Order 13450 mandating that agencies appoint PIOs. Their task is to coordinate performance plans and reports, make sure that program goals are aggressive, realistic and accurately measured, and meet regularly with managers to assess performance.

The executive order also called for the establishment of a Performance Improvement Council, composed of PIOs and headed by the deputy director for management of the Office of Management and Budget. The council is charged with setting performance standards and evaluation criteria and facilitating the exchange of information among agencies.

Outlining other next steps for the President’s Performance Improvement Initiative, formerly the Budget and Performance Integration Initiative, officials said the administration also plans to put the hard work done through the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) to good use in the next year.

To this end, PART assessments will be leveraged to accelerate improvements in program performance, including a thorough review of completed PARTs and rigorous follow-up on recommendations. The use of PART will be expanded to include cross-cutting analysis of performance across agencies and help set common goals at the federal, state and local levels.

In addition, the administration wants to ramp up accountability to the public for program performance by the maximizing the impact of, a Web tool that provides PART-based data on how programs are faring and what agencies are doing to improve them.

Budget officials said the President’s Performance Initiative is “showing great progress toward helping programs become more efficient and more effective.” They cited several examples, including a 15 percent increase in productivity at the Social Security Administration through the use of information technology and enhanced business processes. These efforts resulted in savings of $980 million in fiscal 2007 at SSA, officials said.

On the other hand, the administration has terminated or reduced 13 low-performing programs, saving more than $1.2 billion, officials said.


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