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9/16/2010
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White House To Track Agency Performance Online

In another move toward transparency, Performance.gov will publish the results of how agencies meet key goals set by the Obama administration.




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The White House will be tracking federal-agency performance against goals the Obama administration has set for them and post the results on a new website, according to an Office of Management and Budget (OMB) memo.

In the memo (PDF), Federal Chief Performance Officer Jeffrey Zients unveiled Performance.gov, a new website that will make agency performance information on objectives, targets, progress and action plans available online. The site is expected to be available in the fall, said Zients, who also is deputy director for the Office of Management and Budget.

Each agency will be tracked for performance in the following areas: driving agency top priorities; cutting waste; reforming contracting; closing the IT gap; promoting accountability and innovation through open government; and attracting and motivating top talent.

Zients said the site will be a "one-stop shop" for federal performance information, and will provide access to management dashboards related to each performance strategy. Additionally, the site will provide information on priority goals each agency has set, as well as key performance indicators, measures and milestones.

"Performance.gov will provide unmatched transparency on government performance and will help create the clarity and the culture of accountability required to achieve meaningful improvements," Zients wrote in the memo.

The move is similar to several the Obama administration already has done to provide more government data and information about government activities online.

For example, the USAspending.gov provides information on where the government is spending money, while Data.gov provides various data sets from government agencies. However, at least one open-government advocate has criticized these efforts for inaccuracy and lack of user-friendliness.

Still, the Obama administration has ambitious goals for Performance.gov, according to the memo. It plans to use the site to provide reviews of agency performance that will be taken into consideration as the White House makes budgetary plans.

If an agency is seen lagging on performance, the administration will work with it to get back on track. It also plans to "celebrate" success to set an example to other agencies through best practices and collaboration, according to the memo.

"Where progress toward a goal shared by multiple agencies requires inter-agency coordination or where agencies face similar problems that could benefit from cross-agency attention, we will facilitate those efforts," Zients wrote.

The memo outlined several subcategories under each agency performance goal. For example, to meet the "closing the IT gap" goal, agencies will be tracked against several objectives the Obama administration has actively and publicly been pursuing, such as enhancing federal cybersecurity and the adoption of more efficient technologies.

Under "cutting waste," agency progress will be monitored for how effectively each one cuts inefficient or ineffective programs or stops or reduces improper payments, according to the memo.

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