copyright: John R. Allen
Management Consulting
61 Gilmour Avenue
Toronto, Canada

(416) 769-2272


Government programs exist to produce results. That is the reason that taxpayers entrust government with resources. Therefore producing and improving results is the main management task in government.

Results are simply the flip side of resources. Historically in government there has been a focus on the management of human and financial resources, and we have developed formal procedures and systems to manage resources. But we all know that the management of resources is only part of the job. We use resources to achieve results. Results management means that we must devote equal and formal attention to results as well as resources. The concept of results management applies to every kind of program, at every organizational level, and for every jurisdiction.   

Performance measurement is a means of formally managing by results. Performance measurement refers to the use of non-financial numerical indicators by which results can be planned, monitored and evaluated. Performance measurement is not itself a management process, any more than financial information is an end in itself. Like financial information, performance measurement is a management tool which supports a wide variety of management processes, such as strategic and business planning, operational planning and budgeting, program evaluation, manager and staff performance appraisal, resource allocation and accountability reporting. It would be inconceivable to undertake any of these processes, indeed to operate a government program, without financial information. The same is true for performance information. The purpose of performance measurement is to help government to identify areas where results could be improved, and to identify areas where good results are already being achieved so that good performance can be maintained and copied elsewhere.

Performance measurement is primarily a management tool. Yet it is also very important as a means of communicating with decision makers at the political level, and indeed to the public who pay taxes and elect representatives. Performance measurement is needed to ensure informed decisions on priorities, funding levels and alternative service delivery methods.

Performance measurement and results management are very strongly supported in government today. In the United States, the Government Performance and Results Act requires federal agencies to submit performance plans and reports to Congress. More than thirty states have similar legislation. In Canada, performance measurement is a requirement in the federal government and in eight of the ten provinces, and two of the three territories. In both countries there are also many municipalities which have implemented performance measurement and results oriented management processes. Performance measurement and results management are also be practiced in many other nations, most notably New Zealand, Australia and Great Britain. In fact, every country in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has, at the national level at least, a policy mandating performance measurement.

 Let us be clear, though, about what good, meaningful performance measurement is. We do not want "bean counting". We need a performance information system that relates directly to the results government programs are trying to achieve. Therefore program performance information consists of three key features:

Examples of this framework are shown at the end of this paper.

This performance measurement framework is not new. It was conceptualized at least as early as the late 1960's. It is commonly known as the Program Logic Model, though it is also known as the Managing By Results or the Common Sense Approach model. In fact performance measurement in government is not new. Some jurisdictions had performance measurement initiatives in the 1970's and 1980's. However, performance measurement today is far stronger than ever before. There are three main reasons for this.

Many government programs find that implementing performance measurement is not nearly as costly as they thought it would be. This is not "rocket science"; managers are quite capable of developing meaningful and useful performance indicators. Besides, there is a great deal of data collected by governments that can be used for performance measurement purposes. Still, developing, implementing and using performance measurement does take time and effort. But there are many good reasons for investing in it.

First, performance measurement can help set effective priorities. Managers and elected representatives can prioritize work activities and allocate resources according to the contribution activities make to meeting public needs. One of the most important resources, of course, is the politician=s and the manager's time. Performance indicators will direct their attention to areas that need improvement, and to areas of excellent performance which could be copied by others.

Second, performance measurement changes the entire outlook of the government to one where the focus is on results, not just the activities conducted in the past and the resources used. What gets measured gets done. The measurement of client benefits and strategic outcomes ensures that the program not only does work, but also that it does good.

Third, performance measurement encourages innovation. The focus is not on process, but on results. HOW we do the job becomes less important compared to what we ACHIEVE. Managers and employees are willing to break with past practice and find new ways to accomplish program results.

Fourth, performance measurement helps to improve communication with the political level and the public. Most government programs already perform very well. Indicators help to demonstrate this, increasing confidence in program administration and making the accountability process much more informed and meaningful. Fourth, performance measurement helps to improve communication with the political level and the public. Most government programs already perform very well. Indicators help to demonstrate this, increasing confidence in program administration and making the accountability process much more informed and meaningful.

Fifth, performance measurement will improve the operation of other management processes. Strategic planning, operational planning and control, program evaluation and staff performance appraisal are all meant to be rational decision making processes. They are supposed to be based on performance information, yet they often lack indicators. Without performance measurement, how rational or useful can they be? Performance measurement is a tool that allows these management processes to work.

Finally, and most importantly, performance measurement helps to improve program performance by setting objectives and allowing progress in reaching them to be monitored. Managers are alerted to performance that needs improvement. They also discover exceptional performance that should be maintained or even copied.

Performance measurement, then, is far more than an accountability mechanism. It is an important management tool that supports many management processes and makes a clear contribution to improving program planning and performance.



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Copyright 2000:

John R. Allen
61 Gilmour Avenue
Toronto, Ontario

(416) 769-2272





MISSION:       To assist individuals, organizations and the government to resolve racial tensions and to improve access to services for racial minorities (in order to promote racial equality and to eliminate racial intolerance)



o Conflict Resolution Cases Conducted
    - # cases
    - % complainants
    - % respondents satisfied with officer's effort
    - average # cases per officer

o Organizational Development Projects Conducted with Public Sector Institutions
    - # projects


o Racial Tension / Conflict Reduced o
    - % complainants satisfied with result
    - % respondents satisfied with result
    - recurrences as a percent of total cases

o Positive Race Relations Promoted by Institutions
   - # organizations served in which the following was achieved:
          - race relations policy was established
          - staff trained or training program established
          - designation of staff responsible for race relations
          - affirmative action or outreach programs established



o Racial Intolerance Reduced
    - % reported racial incidents which are minor / medium / major problem level

o Racial Disadvantage Reduced
  - average income among major racial minorities
  - average education level among major racial minorities
  - average health status among major racial minorities



MISSION:       To fund programs which provide educationally disadvantaged adults with basic literacy and numeracy training ( in order to help them to gain access to education and labour market opportunities )



o Grant Applications Processed
   - # community colleges receiving grants
   - average time to complete grant application review
   - average grant per student

o Community Colleges Visited to Monitor Programs
    - % colleges visited at least 3 times per year


o Basic Academic Skills Improved
   - # students trained / # spaces provided
   - % students who meet individual training plan goals - literacy
                                                                                 - mathematics


o Access to Skills Training or Employment Improved
   - % students taking skills training within 4 months of completion
   - % students obtaining employment within 4 months of completion

o Decreased Social Costs
   - % students who leave social assistance programs within 12 months of completion
   - % students who had eyesight, hearing or other perceptual problems diagnosed and corrected 




MISSION:       To provide independent evaluation of operations, systems and practices for the Executive Office and Department managers  ( in order to assist in meeting the Department's program delivery objectives and to assure compliance with government and Department policies )



o Audits Conducted
   - # audits conducted
   - average number of days to complete audit
   - average cost per audit
   - ratio of "chargeable hours" to total hours
   - # auditable entities not audited in over 36 months



o Compliance and Value for Money Issues Identified
    - # issues identified:
                 - % ranked as either high risk or high impact 

o Program and Policy Improvements Recommended
   - % auditees surveyed who rated Internal Audit as good or excellent in: 
                   - value of recommendations
                   - feedback during audit
                   - timeliness of the audit report
                   - accuracy of the audit report
                   - overall usefulness of the audit



o Program Performance Improved
    - % recommendations accepted
    - % recommendations implemented within 12 months of audit

o Compliance to Government and Department Policies Encouraged 
  - # compliance issues raised by Legislative Audit which were not raised by Internal Audit during the preceding
     12 months