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Essential Practices for Maintaining Funding

United States White House

United States White House

by Kelly Stallard | April 28, 2017

On March 16, President Trump revealed his fiscal 2018 Budget Blueprint. The Budget Blueprint eliminates numerous Federal agencies and calls for significant cuts to many others. The Administration cites a “lack of evidence” as the justification for many of these cuts and is emphasizing an “evidence-based approach to improving programs and services”.

While many Federal agencies have a long history of measuring impact and making data driven decisions, others need to consider the consequences of not having such metrics in place to serve as evidence that their programs are working efficiently and effectively to serve the American people.

Efforts to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of the Federal government are certainly not new. As early as the 1960’s initiatives have been put in place with the goal of improving how the Federal government operates and ensuring citizens are receiving a good value for the taxes they pay. Laws such as the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 signed during the Clinton Administration and Performance-Based Budgeting emphasized during the Bush Administration have been put into place to formalize the Federal government’s commitment.

Similarly, President Obama’s executive order for “Streamlining Service Delivery and Improving Customer Service” recognized the need for the Federal government to keep pace with increasing public expectations brought about by advances in technology and delivery service systems.

As we reach the first 100 days of the new Administration, President Trump’s Budget Blueprint suggests that important proof points and metrics are still missing from the strategic plans of some Federal agencies. Additionally, some federally funded programs still lack evidence of their effectiveness. Agencies concerned about maintaining funding levels under the new Administration will need to take the priorities of the Budget Blueprint seriously and use the goals spelled out in the President’s Management Agenda to guide their improvement efforts.

Below is a recap of these four goals along with recommendations for agencies that want to demonstrate to the Administration measurable value.

  1. EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT – The Administration will follow an “evidence-based approach” in the management of programs and services, and “use all tools available and create new ones as needed.” Agencies should use “real, hard data” and consider additional performance metrics to evaluate the success of programs.
  2. MISSION ACHIEVEMENT – Excessive policies and government-wide “guidance documents” have added unnecessary and burdensome managerial requirements. The Administration wants to “let managers manage,” but still hold them accountable for carrying out their mission. Agencies should therefore give more latitude to their staff while developing evaluation tools that direct attention to the goal of accomplishing the mission.
  3. EFFICIENT SUPPORT – To improve efficiency, the Administration will be focusing on “adopting leading practices from the private and public sectors,” such as how agencies make purchases, hire talent, use property, and use technology. Agencies should regularly seek out and share operational best practices for efficiently supporting their missions.
  4. IMPROVED PERFORMANCE – The Administration will make sure that “agencies will be responsible for reporting critical performance metrics and showing demonstrable improvement.” OMB will “actively review agency progress” to ensure that improvement continues. Agencies should have a clear performance measurement system and work to demonstrate improvement with the measures.

The professionals at CFI Group, in partnership with the Federal Consulting Group, recognize the hard work of the civil servants across the country. We have worked hand in hand with Federal agencies developing metrics that demonstrate the positive impact of their agencies and programs.

Using the science behind the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI), a methodology used by both private and public sector organizations, we have helped numerous agencies identify opportunities for improvement and prioritize their resources to maximize program satisfaction.

Agencies that require assistance in developing meaningful metrics to demonstrate their value proposition should consider a partnership with CFI Group. Together we can work to meet the goals set forth by the President’s Management Agenda.

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