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February 11, 2003


FROM: Thomas M. Reilly
Designated Federal Officer
SUBJECT: Preparing for March 3, 2003 PMAC meeting

We look forward to your participation in the third and final meeting of the Performance Measurement Advisory Council. The meeting will be held Monday March 3rd in the Truman room of the White House Conference Center from 1:00 to 4:00. Your input from the first two meetings of the PMAC was helpful in developing both the assessment tool and the budget presentation. Last week’s release of the President’s Budget provides the public with an unprecedented amount of information revealing what the government achieves with its public resources. We intend to build on these efforts in the coming year and seek your guidance. The integration of budget and performance information remains a centerpiece of the President’s Management Agenda.

In preparation of the March 3rd meeting, enclosed for your review is a set of budget materials relevant to the discussion of program performance. They include the Budget Volume, the Performance and Management Assessments Volume, and a memo to the agencies from the Budget Director. Complete PART worksheets are also available for your review on the web at /omb/budget/fy2004/pma.html.

This year we found the PART to be an effective means of capturing some of the most salient features of program performance. We believe we have made significant strides in using this information internally and promoting a more performance-based budgeting process. At this point, OMB intends to use the PART again as a central element of the 2005 budget process, rating an additional 20% of federal programs. We also anticipate communicating the findings of these analyses in a similar presentation. Although we believe we are on the right path and do not expect to make wholesale changes to the PART, we are interested in strengthening the process, the instrument, and the budget presentation.

Therefore, we are soliciting your feedback as we pursue refinements. To facilitate our digesting of your views, we ask that you provide written comments to the questions below:

  • What do you see as the strengths and weaknesses of the presentation of performance information in the PART summaries?

  • How can the PART be improved or revised? Page 52 of the Budget described a series of issues for the PART and invited public comments. These issues included increasing consistency, defining “adequate” measures, minimizing subjectivity, and measuring progress towards results.

  • Given that the PART provides an incentive for agencies to improve performance information, how should the PART treat programs that have acceptable measures but bad targets?

  • Many programs lack outcome measures either because they cannot pinpoint the contribution of the program to achievement of the overall outcome or because the nature of their work is process-oriented. Are there acceptable alternative measures when there are no outcome goals?

  • To get credit for results, the PART required that a program have acceptable measures, either long-term or annual. Should the PART continue to enforce a linkage between strategic planning and results?

At the meeting, each member will be asked to present a summary of their written comments to the Council. We would like the Council to discuss each member’s feedback and develop a Council statement by the meeting’s close. Thank you for your time and input on these matters. I look forward to seeing you on the 3rd.

Materials Attached:

Budget Volume
Performance and management Assessments Volume
Memo from the Director
Proposed Agenda for March 3rd Meeting

Performance Measurement Advisory Council (PMAC):
Proposed Agenda for March 3, 2003 Meeting
Truman Room, White House Conference Center

The PMAC will assist OMB on matters related to improving the measurement of program performance and integrating such information in making management and budget decisions.

  • Welcome and Housekeeping (1:00 – 1:15)

  • Presentation by Individual Members (1:15 – 2:15)

    Mortimer Downey
    William Eggers
    Harry Hatry
    Patricia Ingraham
    Donald Kettl
    Joseph Wright

  • Discussion of Member Feedback (2:15 – 3:15)

    Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)
    Presentation of performance information in PART summaries

  • Development of Council Statement (3:15 – 4:00)

  • Adjourn by 4:00