April 18, 2006

7th Annual Performance Report Scorecard: Which Federal Agencies Best Inform the Public?

  • Henry Wray

    Mercatus Center Visiting Fellow, Government Accountability Project
  • Jerry Ellig

    Research Professor, George Washington University Regulatory Studies Center
  • Maurice P. McTigue

    Vice President, Outreach
Key materials
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Summary

Scandals, embarrassing earmarks, and disaster relief disasters have recently  made the federal government appear unmanaged and out of control.  Notwithstanding these breakdowns, during the past dozen years, both Congress and the executive branch have taken significant steps to improve accountability for federal expenditures.

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires agencies to produce strategic plans, annual performance plans, and annual performance reports.  In fiscal 2001, the Office of Management and Budget began examining the design, management, and results of federal programs using its Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART). 

This Scorecard commenced in fiscal 1999 to foster continuous improvement in the quality of disclosure in agencies' annual performance reports.  This year, researchers at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University conducted our seventh annual evaluation of the performance and accountability reports produced by the  24 agencies covered under the Chief Financial Officers Act.  These agencies accounted for 98.8 percent of federal outlays in 2005.  We employed the same criteria as used in previous Scorecards.

Key findings in this year's Scorecard include:

  • Quality disclosure covers slightly higher fraction of expenditures.
  • Very good disclosure covers miniscule fraction of expenditures.
  • There remains substantial room for improvement.

If you would like to dowload only a section of the report, instead of the full document at the top of the page, please click on the following pdf links.

Part I: Executive Summary and Rankings
Part II: Introduction and Scoring Standards 
Part III: Scoring Summary 
Part IV: From GPRA to PART
Part V: Strongest and Weakest Scores 
Part VI: Agency by Agency Scoring Highlights
Part VII: Research Team and Project Design

Related Links:

Dr. Jerry Ellig's Presentation (Powerpoint from the release event)