Senate committee forms task force on performance management

The Obama administration seeks rigorous evaluations as part of its overall performance management strategy

The Senate Budget Committee today announced that it has started a task force on government performance that will consider new ways for agencies to work more efficiently.

The task force of senators will examine the federal government’s management framework and how to make federal programs and services better and more efficient, the budget committee said in an announcement.

“I strongly believe in the mantra ‘what gets measured gets done,’ ” said Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who will lead the task force.

The committee drafts the annual budget plan for Congress, monitors action on the budget, and recommends changes in the government's budget process. The task force will assist the committee in its oversight, the announcement states.

Meanwhile, evaluations of agencies programs are part of the Obama administration’s overall performance management strategy and administration officials want agencies to volunteer to put their highest priority programs under tougher evaluations. Office of Management and Budget officials have given agencies until Nov. 4 to submit plans for which programs they would consider having reviewed. OMB may decide to give some agencies extra funds in their fiscal 2011 budget proposals so they could do the tougher reviews, according to an Oct. 7 memo from OMB Director Peter Orszag.

“Our governmentwide performance measurement framework will be focused on outcomes, allow comparisons across programs and agencies, and show trends over time,” Jeffrey Zients, deputy director for management at OMB, said Sept. 24 at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee hearing on performance management.

Zients will testify before the budget committee’s task force Oct. 29 on performance management.

To help OMB with its evaluations and management, Zients announced at the September hearing that Shelley Metzenbaum is OMB’s associate director for performance and personnel management. She will be on his leadership team for managing agencies' programs.

Metzenbaum has written several articles for the IBM Center for The Business of Government.

In this year’s spring budget guidance, OMB told agencies to identify several high-priority performance goals. The list of goals should imitate what senior manager’s see as their near-term priorities, Zients said in September.

These goals communicate the priority targets that each agency’s leadership wants to achieve over the next 12 to 24 months,” he said.

Zients said he expects agencies to reach beyond their own boundaries in order to get feedback about priorities and strategies. He also wants them to get expertise so they can reach their goals.


About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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