Government Performance Project Proceeds

While government measures its own performance via GPRA, Government Executive is involved in a project rating agencies from the outside. The Government Performance Project is a four-year effort by this magazine, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs of Syracuse University, and Governing magazine, to create a long-term rating system to spur public interest in government performance. The project will rate agencies in six areas:
  • Financial management
  • Human resource management
  • Managing for results
  • Information technology
  • Capital management
  • Executive capacity

The first phase of the project is under way, with five federal agencies-NASA, the Coast Guard, Defense Logistics Agency, Veterans Health Administration, and the Food and Drug Administration-five states, and five city and local governments, serving as pilots. These test labs were trying out the project's surveys and rating system, so their ratings won't be published. "We're trying to make sure we're asking the right questions and that we're getting good information about those questions in the most painless way possible," says Patricia Ingraham, professor of public administration and director of the Alan K. Campbell Public Affairs Institute at Maxwell.

A survey of 30 middle managers in each pilot agency went out in May to gather yet another perspective on how the agencies operate. "We asked how well the information technology, financial management, human resources and performance measurement systems are working for managers," says Philip Joyce, assistant professor of public administration at Maxwell. The Government performance Project goes live this fall, when surveys go out to at least 15 federal agencies and 50 states. The first-year results are due in late spring 1998, to be published in special issues of the magazines later that year. Over the four years, at least 30 federal agencies will receive ratings.

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