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Monday, September 28, 2009

OMB will create new performance management framework for agencies

The Office of Management and Budget is developing a new federal performance management framework, the government's chief performance officer told lawmakers on Thursday.

The approach will incorporate elements from other initiatives, including the Bush administration's Performance Assessment Rating Tool and the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act, OMB's Jeff Zients told a Senate subcommittee.

Zients has recruited Shelley Metzenbaum to help lead the effort to design the plan. Metzenbaum founded the Collins Center for Public Management at the McCormack Graduate School of Policy Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Boston. She also has served as executive director of the Executive Session on Public Sector Performance Management at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.

After three months as chief performance officer and deputy director for management, Zients said his "initial sense" is Congress and previous administrations have laid a strong foundation for the improvement of government performance. He named GPRA and PART in particular as important starting points. The programs, however, place too much emphasis on producing performance information for the purpose of compliance, and pay too little attention to analyzing and acting on the information collected, he said.

Despite the advances made by the Clinton and Bush administrations, agencies now need to focus on using performance information as a tool to facilitate long-term strategic decisions and support employees, contractors and other stakeholders, he said. The administration will rely heavily on information technologies to accomplish those goals, he added.

Bernice Steinhardt, GAO director of strategic issues, said the commitment of agency leaders and the communication of that commitment to managers were crucial to ensuring performance information drives decision-making. GAO studies have demonstrated that a lack of commitment from agency leadership often leads to inconsistent use of performance data across the agency.

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