Performance Reporting on United States Digital Government

Performance Reporting on United States Digital Government

P. R. Mullen (University of Illinois at Springfield, USA)
Copyright: © 2007 |Pages: 6
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-789-8.ch202
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Abstract

Starting in the 1980s, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom faced serious economic problems, such as economies dominated by government spending and high budget deficits. Further, government studies in the four countries found that government organizations lacked accountability for achieving program results and that there were many constraints to increasing such accountability. In response to these problems, each of the countries embarked on comprehensive reforms intended to increase the accountability of the civil service for the effective and efficient management of government programs. In exchange for increased accountability for results, the countries provided program managers with more flexibility in their use of resources. The studies and subsequent reforms in these four countries proposed results-oriented management reforms that were subsequently adopted in the United States (U.S.). The approaches these countries took to implement results-oriented management reforms included departments and agencies establishing and communicating a clear direction by defining their missions and goals through strategic planning, establishing annual objectives that were directly linked to missions and goals, measuring performance to assess how well objectives were being met, and reporting on progress. The countries derived a number of key lessons from their experiences in developing performance measurement systems. These lessons focused on enhancing the usefulness of performance information to management for improving program results. The countries sought to reinforce this focus on results by holding agency management accountable for the results that agencies were trying to achieve. For example, the countries used performance agreements between different levels of management to ensure accountability for achieving agreed-upon performance goals. Cunningham and Harris (2005) discuss how performance reporting has been implemented in Canada, the United Kingdom, and three states in the United States. This article discusses how performance-reporting requirements in the U.S. are intended to promote a results-oriented management and decision-making process within Congress and the executive branch, as well as accountability to the American public, specifically for digital government programs.

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