Four Agencies Get to Green
Four new agencies - The Departments of Labor and Transportation and the Small Business and Social Security Administrations -- have achieved green status for the Budget and Performance Integration Initiative this quarter. The question many are asking me is what it takes to be green. The bottom line: a green agency knows what goals it is supposed to be achieving and is constantly making decisions to enhance their chances of achieving them.
The Department of Transportation can tell you what reduction in rail-related accidents and incidents it expects to achieve with the increase in funds it requests for Federal Railroad Administration Safety and Operations and Railroad Research and Development. This improvement in performance ties directly to the Department's Safety strategic objective and to the Department's performance goal to reduce rail-related accidents and incidents.
Everyone at the Department of Labor knows what they are supposed to achieve because individual performance goals link to program performance goals which link to agency strategic goals. Individuals are evaluated based on their contribution to the achievement of the Department's goals.
After careful assessment of its programs, the Small Business Administration decided they could more effectively and efficiently serve their customers by merging approximately 80 Business Information Centers with their community and resource partners operations. SBA's resource partners include Small Business Development Centers with over 1100 locations and over 12,000 counselors from the Service Corps of Retired Executives throughout the country.
The Social Security Administration's Disability Insurance program knew it needed to improve the claims process. So it invested in technology to eliminate the need to store, locate, and mail millions of paper files. SSA is rolling out an electronic claims process, which is likely to improve the efficiency of the program and to reduce the time it takes for an applicant to find out if they are considered "disabled" and will therefore receive benefits.
Perhaps the best way to find out how the agencies that got to green did it is to ask them. But we will continue to identify best practices in using performance information to manage programs and share them widely. Clay Johnson wrote the President's Management Council describing ways to use the Program Assessment Rating Tool - the PART - to make programs work better. The things Clay pointed to are not secrets:
- Leadership committed to using the PART to get better results.
- Identify individuals responsible for implementing PART recommendations and ensure they view the PART as an opportunity to find ways to make programs work better.
- Foster a strong working relationship with OMB examiners working on the assessments.
- Integrate PARTs into the organization's overall performance management systems.
Congratulations to those agencies that improved their status in Budget and Performance Integration this quarter. We'll soon be providing more detailed information about how each agency met the criteria for the Budget and Performance Integration Initiative. I look forward to working with you to keep up the pace of improvement in this area.