OMB to release performance evaluations

The Office of Management and Budget will release evaluations of the performance of agencies’ major programs by early September,  and it expects agencies to use more effective measures to gauge their strengths and weaknesses compared with previous results, Robert Shea, OMB's associate director for management, said recently.

Last December, OMB sought to improve program performance by focusing on whether agencies had clear program goals, plans to achieve them, measures by which to hold managers accountable for results and support from senior leaders. As part of the effort, agencies selected performance improvement officers and participated in a performance improvement council to discuss challenges and share best practices.

“Programs now have a much better measurement of program success,” Shea said at the Excellence in Governance conference on July 15.

When OMB launched the performance improvement initiative, more than half of the agencies did not have an adequate measure of success, he said. Today that level is at about 15 percent, he said.

The requirement for a performance improvement officer was one of the provisions of an executive order that President Bush signed in November to require agencies to get better results from their programs. The program performance results are also to be used in agency budget formulations, OMB said.

Agencies use the Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) to measure their programs’ performance results. OMB has said PART provides a consistent and transparent approach to evaluate programs. OMB posts the program assessments on its ExpectMore.gov Web site, and agencies must complete their submissions of PART assessments by Aug. 1, OMB said in previous guidance.

PART ratings are designed to identify a program’s strengths and weaknesses, and managers should use the results to help make decisions to further improve programs, Shea said. The results also can influence OMB and Congress on funding, authorization and oversight decisions for the programs, OMB has said.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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