Thanks to Collins Center, Massachusetts Government Leads the Nation in Performance Management
February 19, 2013
McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies
Since 2010, the Edward J. Collins, Jr. Center for Public Management at the John W. McCormack Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies has been working with the Massachusetts Executive Office of Administration and Finance on a sweeping initiative called MassResults. This initiative – a centerpiece of Governor Deval Patrick’s reform agenda - is designed to implement a new way of managing across all levels of Massachusetts government.
Performance management is widely acknowledged as the most powerful tool available today to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of government. Without objective data on results, it is hard for government managers to know when things are going wrong or where problems exist. This often leaves the public seeing public agencies inefficiently delivering services and unable to identify and address pressing problems in a timely manner.
According to Collins Center Senior Associate Monica Lamboy, “The MassResults initiative addresses this deficiency. It provides information about whether and to what extent managers are achieving specific goals. It spotlights exactly where the problems are, so managers can address them. It provides real time information, so prompt decisions and corrections can be undertaken.”
The Collins Center’s efforts on the MassResults initiative first focused on developing strategic plans for the Governor’s top priorities: increasing jobs and improving the economy; containing health care costs; closing the achievement gap in education; and reducing youth violence. Computerized summaries – or “dashboards” – provide performance data on each of the goals identified in the strategic plans. The dashboards are reviewed quarterly at the Governor’s cabinet meetings and used by the responsible agencies to assess progress against goals and make informed, evidence-based decisions to keep efforts on track.
The MassResults initiative reached a milestone with the January 2013 publication of eight secretariat strategic plans alongside the Governor’s FY14 budget recommendation. Lamboy notes, “These plans identified goals, sub-goals, and actions needed to achieve them. They also provided performance measures that show the extent to which goals are being achieved. The next steps will be for the leaders and managers to begin using the performance data to manage secretariat and agency operations.”
Lamboy explains the transformative nature of this management approach. “The publication of strategies for the Governor’s four priorities, the implementation of performance management across all secretariats and agencies and the linking of performance information to program-based budgets provide a strong foundation for transforming Massachusetts’ government operations.”
Ira A. Jackson, dean of the McCormack Graduate School is proud of the recognition that the center gets. “Massachusetts has taken the most comprehensive approach to performance management in the nation. The Collins Center's work on the MassResults initiative is driving this transformation, helping Massachusetts build a more effective, efficient, accountable, and transparent state government. The result will be improved, evidence-based decision making, a much greater ability to monitor and fix problems, improved delivery of services, and lasting efficiencies and cost savings. And what consumer and taxpayer doesn’t want that?”