Glossary

Performance Measurement and Reporting Glossary

The following are definitions for key terms associated with performance measurement, management and reporting.

Accountability

The obligation of power holders to account for, or take responsibility for, their actions.

Benchmark/Benchmarking

A continuous systematic process whereby a comparison is made between productivity, quality and practices in a government or organization and a chosen similar government or organization.

Citizen-driven Performance Measurement

A performance measurement process that incorporates citizens' views and opinions. Citizen involvement in performance measurement helps to ensure that information being gathered and reported upon is what matters to citizens. Citizen perspectives may be drawn from a variety of sources including public deliberation forums, citizen surveys, or hands-on citizen activities.

Community Indicators Consortium

Community Indicators Consortium is an active learning network and community of practice among persons and organizations that utilize measurements for providing information about past and current trends and assist planners and community leaders in making decisions that affect future outcomes.

Effectiveness

Effectiveness measures show the degree to which objectives are achieved and targeted problems are resolved. Typical measures, such as the response rate to emergency calls, look at the speed with which a task is completed.

Efficiency

Efficiency measures are a comparison of what is actually produced or performed with what can be achieved with the same consumption of resources (time, money, labor, etc.). They are usually expressed as a cost per unit of output (cost per full-time equivalent employee, for example).

E-Governance

E-Governance is a set of technology-mediated processes affecting the delivery of public services and the broader interactions between citizens and governments.

Measures

Measures are the specific variables that represent a capacity, process, or outcome deemed relevant to the assessment of performance; measures are quantifiable and can be documented.

Performance Improvement

A goal-oriented process for achieving desired institutional and individual results, such as the provision of high quality, sustainable government services. The process typically considers the institutional context, describes desired performance, identifies gaps between desired and actual performance, identifies root causes, and selects interventions to close the gaps and measures changes in performance.

Performance Measurement

An ongoing process of data collection, tracking and analysis to determine if a program is implementing activities effectively and achieving objectives. It measures inputs, outputs, and outcomes over time. In general, pre-post comparisons are used to assess change.

Performance Reporting

Performance Reporting summarizes information on an organization's performance results in comparison to the organization's previously stated targets. This information may be provided in comparison to previous year's performance, specific standards, or may be benchmarked across other performance efforts. Performance reports should be accessible to the reader and include key information such as the function of the organization, accomplishment in reaching targets, input and output measures, and helpful explanatory information.

Productivity

Productivity is how efficiently a government or any other organization can turn its inputs, such as labor and capital, into outputs in the form of goods and services. Producing an equal or greater amount of goods and services with less input is an improvement in productivity.

Results-driven Government

A government that utilizes past and current departmental performance statistics and performance-based measures for constant assessment and reassessment in recognizing a problem, gathering all relevant information, and then finding the most effective way to combat the problem.

Results-oriented Management

A management practice that incorporates the use of outcomes or results into the administration, management, and operation of human services. Agencies must focus on the outcome, the result or the product in addition to the program and service.

Scorecard

A compilation of the few key performance metrics that best indicates a government's or organization's progress towards stated strategic goals. This tracking of key metrics typically runs throughout the government or organization to all supporting and contributing metrics, groups, and individuals.

Service Efforts and Accomplishments (SEA)

Service Efforts and Accomplishments is the communication of selected measures of a government's performance results; this includes the public reporting of key service performance indicators that provide decision-useful information about the government's actual accomplishments achieved in pursuit of its goals and objectives.

Transparency

Transparency in government is introduced as a means of holding public officials accountable and of fighting corruption. When government meetings are open to the press and the public, when budgets and financial statements may be reviewed by anyone, when laws, rules and decisions are open to discussion, they are seen as transparent and there is less opportunity for the authorities to abuse the system to meet their own interests.

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