Critical Read

Rating the performance of Performance.gov

measurement tool

What: "Managing for Results: Leading Practices Should Guide the Continued Development of Performance.gov" from the Government Accountability Office.

Why: Performance.gov is intended to be a clearinghouse for information on governmental priorities and goals across agencies in areas ranging from human resources to procurement to technology. Maintained by the Office of Management and Budget, the content and structure of Performance.gov are designed to comply with the GPRA Modernization Act, which requires government agencies to publish strategic goals and performance plans. According to GAO, Performance.gov could be improved by making it clear how audiences can use the information, and it could do a better job of understanding how the general public could benefit from changes to the kind of information that is highlighted on the site and how it is presented.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee's bipartisan Government Performance Task Force, said in an emailed statement that the usefulness to the general public could be improved with "more dashboards and summary data like [what] state governments provide to citizens, especially for the cross-agency priority goals." According to the General Services Administration, traffic at Performance.gov peaked at its launch in August 2011, and averages between 10,000 and 20,000 visits per month.

Verbatim: "According to agency officials, agencies have information sources tailored to meet their needs, and Performance.gov does not contain critical indicators or the ability to display some visualizations used for internal agency performance reviews. Agency officials stressed instead that they view Performance.gov primarily as an external reporting tool so that the public and other external stakeholders can get a sense for how agencies are performing on key priorities."

Full report: GAO.gov/products/GAO-13-517

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the About.com online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.


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