Today, it’s becoming more and more apparent that state and local government administrators must focus on far more than compliance and output when it comes to results. Leaders must take responsibility for achieving success on issues that matter to residents. Local and state governments need to change their old strategies and approaches in order to truly evolve over time. Public managers and public officers must initiate and sustain performance management in order to support governmental planning, funding, and operations. Performance management is key for governments to counter the public’s eroding trust, and gain their confidence.
These are certainly the founding beliefs of the National Performance Management Advisory Commission’s final report, A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving. Based on the demand from governments for more information on performance management practices, this report outlines performance management frameworks for state and local government to achieve results that matter to constituents.
As the report outlines, “While there is no single authoritative source of information on how performance information has benefited governments, or on best practices in performance management, the framework does provide many examples of successful implementations of performance management, and how performance management has helped governments to perform better.”
The Seven Common Principles of Performance Management Systems
How do your public agency’s day-to-day operations fulfill your strategic plan? How do you know your efforts are effective? That your programs are being delivered efficiently? Qualities of performance management can and should be incorporated within each of the standard governmental processes of planning, budgeting, management, and evaluation. The National Performance Management Advisory Commission’s framework identifies seven common principles of performance management systems:
- A results focus permeates strategies, processes, the organizational culture, and decisions.
- Information, measures, goals, priorities, and activities are relevant to the priorities and well-being of the government and the community.
- Information related to performance, decisions, regulations, and processes is transparent — easy to access, use, and understand.
- Goals, programs, activities, and resources are aligned with priorities and desired results.
- Decisions and processes are driven by timely, accurate, and meaningful data.
- Practices are sustainable over time and across organizational changes.
- Performance management transforms the organization, its management, and the policymaking process.
The Stages of Performance Management
For performance measurement to become a regular part of a public agency’s operations, it must become part of the organizational culture. It’s important to keep in mind that this requires both buy-in and time (and that there is never any guarantee of success). Before performance management systems are implemented, the three driving forces typically include:
- Public officials’ desires to improve services, respond to community needs, address citizen preferences, or enhance the government’s reputation.
- Increased demands and expectations by stakeholders.
- Responses to fiscal stress.
During the implementation process, most governments will need to identify and establish key purposes and objectives for implementing these processes. They also need to define the performance management process itself. According to A Performance Management Framework, there are several performance management systems that governments are using, including:
In order to sustain the changes after a performance management process is adopted, the report makes recommendations for analyzing the extent to which you have supportive leaders, internal champions, sufficient financial resources, performance management expertise, external champions, professional organizations and other education and research groups, and the ability to demonstrate improvement. It is best to do this during the initiation and implementation stages.
It’s important that public organizations measure what matters and build performance indicators aligned with important strategic goals. Furthermore, they should not only have ways to track performance, but also have the ability to make improvements and apply their experience to better serve the public.
OpenGov’s Software Supports Performance Management
The OpenGov Cloud helps local and state governments in their efforts to successfully initiate, implement, and sustain performance management. As you implement the seven principles of performance management systems set forth by The National Performance Management Advisory Commission, OpenGov’s software can integrate with your existing ERP system, saving you time and improving outcomes by:
- simplifying data management
- allowing stakeholders on-demand access to data
- offering advanced financial and performance reporting and sharing capabilities
- helping you visualize and analyze progress
National Performance Management Advisory Commission: “A Performance Management Framework for State and Local Government: From Measurement and Reporting to Management and Improving.” Government Finance Officers Association. 2010.