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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Using Performance to Achieve Results


Bureau of Resource Management
Report
December 16, 2009

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Photo showing the Program Evaluation Conference, with Stephen Kester, Director of Evaluation at the Office of the Inspector General for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada, speaking at the podium as panelists and Treasury Board of Canada staffers Anne Routhier and Brian Moo Sang listening at right.

At the Program Evaluation Conference, Stephen Kester, Director of Evaluation at the Office of the Inspector General for Foreign Affairs and International Trade of Canada, speaks at the podium as panelists and Treasury Board of Canada staffers Anne Routhier and Brian Moo Sang listen at right. State Magazine July/August 2009

At the Department we manage for results. We collect performance data and use this data to strategically focus the organization’s efforts and improve governance. We monitor incremental progress and measure effectiveness through the collection and analysis of various performance indicators that link our activities to broader agency strategic goals and performance targets.

The Department uses performance management best practices to mitigate management challenges, benchmark program results, develop better data collection tools, comply with legislative requirements, and learn where to adjust course reflecting performance successes and short-comings. Applying smart power solutions will continue to improve the Department’s ability to support resource requests with reliable data, proven efficiency, and program results.

The use of performance management is influential in many areas throughout the Department. The Department’s senior leadership recognizes the importance of performance transparency and effective agency management. Our approach towards managing for results values the inclusion of other government entities, yielding a holistic, interagency scope of performance management. Additionally, performance information at the Department has advanced communication between and among other federal agencies invested in foreign affairs. Policy discussions, program collaborations, and resource management have been improved because of performance management and the Department’s concentration on sound outcome measures.

Budgetary effects from performance management at the Department are most evident in building budget justifications; making decisions about the allocation, management, and monitoring of resources; reducing duplicative services; and increasing program cost-savings. The Department strives to make specific performance linkages between costs, activities, and results. In FY 2009, the Department increased analytical rigor in performance planning by focusing on outcome-oriented performance measures and resources at the strategic priority level, rather than at the broader strategic goal level, in order to better align performance with resource trends and strategic priorities. At the same time, the agency shifted to more quantitative measures of performance to increase validity and reliability of results. Finally, we increased focus on evidence-based policy decisions, linking investments in program evaluation with the Department’s planning and performance management framework. We use performance information to clarify the effect of changes in funding distributions, understanding that the case for resources is more compelling when performance implications are transparent.

The Department has a visible organizational and leadership commitment to performance management. Performance management is one avenue the Department uses to build consensus around organizational vision and direction, to support prioritizing investments, to facilitate interagency planning and coordination, and to institutionalize a culture of accountability and transparency.

 




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