This page provides resources for local government elected officials, managers, and staff within Washington State who are developing and implementing performance measurement systems, including examples of local performance reports and online dashboards.
Performance measurement is the process of collecting, analyzing and reporting data regarding the performance of an organization. It is a tool to help local government evaluate the quality and effectiveness of government services. Performance measures include inputs (resources used), outputs (program activities), efficiency measures (ratio of inputs to outputs), and outcomes (the actual results of programs and services). Many performance measurement systems are limited to measuring program inputs and outputs. Ideally, however, performance measurement efforts will also generate information about program results and outcomes.
The use of performance measures in local government is driven by increased citizen demands for government accountability, greater interest on the part of local legislators in performance related information to assist in program evaluation and resource allocation decisions, and the efforts of various organizations and professional associations to make governments more results-oriented.
Below are selected examples of performance reports from local governments in Washington and elsewhere.
- Kirkland Performance Measures – Annual performance report demonstrates what city is doing to achieve goals in 10 service areas identified as priorities by city council.
- Spokane County Priority Spokane – Includes information on nine community goals and specific indicators within each one. The report combines indicators included in the county’s community indicator project and those selected by Priority Spokane, a collaboration between Eastern Washington University and the City of Spokane.
- Austin, TX Performance Measures Database – Performance measures database gives citizens an opportunity to search for performance information by department area or by keyword for the five most recent fiscal years.
- Denver, CO Peak Performance – Overview of Denver's Peak Performance initiative with links to performance metrics, strategic plans, agency and department performance reviews and other resources.
- Maricopa County, AZ Strategic Planning – Includes strategic plans and performance reports
A performance dashboard provides an at a glance view of key organizational performance indicators. Dashboards usually include highly readable visual displays of key data. This could include interactive graphs, tables with color-coded indicators, etc.
- Bellevue Performance Reports – Displays data in seven key areas, each with a series of metrics that track annual changes in each area. Uses Covalent Software.
- Bellingham Performance Measures – Interactive tool to view metrics in nine areas. Provides good overview information with an opportunity to see individual trends over time. Uses Insight Vision software.
- Kitsap County PEAK Program – Interactive data split into six different categories. Includes timelines, graphs, tables and links to find more data. Uses Microsoft Power BI software.
- Seattle Performance Seattle – Highly interactive performance system that tracks metrics in six key areas. Begins with a high level but allows users to dig into the data as deep as they want. Data is updated monthly, semi-annually, or annually depending on the data. Uses Socrata Software.
- Spokane Spokane Performs – Series of performance graphs for various city departments (22 different areas). While the underlying data is not accessible, users can download the graphs in various formats. Uses HighCharts software.
- Chicago, IL Performance Metrics – Tracks information in eight areas. Easily scannable views with lots of customization options. Uses Socrata software.
- San Mateo County, CA SMC Performance – Provides dashboards in three broad areas: progress towards the county's broad 2025 vision goals, departmental goals, and progress on a specific voter-passed initiative. Uses Socrata software.
- Virginia Department of Transportation Dashboard – Although not a local municipality, this DOT dashboard takes the name fairly literally creating a visually interesting and easily readable dashboard for citizens. Developed in-house with Microsoft development products and Dundas for the data visuals.
- Washington State Office of Financial Management Performance Measurement Guide (2009) – Written in Q&A format; includes overview of performance measures while connecting the topic to Washington State requirements. Provides helpful charts and graphics to visualize measures.
- Washington State Auditor's Office Center for Government Innovation Resources Database – Tools, templates, best practices, and resources.
- ICMA Performance Management – Disseminates research and effective management practices; offers training and certificates; and provides a list of key indicators and data points to benchmark performance.
- Government Finance Officers Association Performance Measurement Best Practices (2018) – Comprehensive list of best practices for identifying and defining performance measures.
- Government Finance Officers Association Lessons from Performance Management Leaders: A Sample of Larger Local Governments in North America (2013) – Describes a number of factors that were critical to the success of performance measurement efforts in a number of larger North American cities as well as some surprising findings on what has not proved important to their success with performance measurement.
- Governmental Accounting Standards Board State of Oregon Case Study: A Performance System Based on Benchmarks (2002) – Case study of the State of Oregon implementing a performance measurement program across state departments. Includes lists of barriers identified in cross-department implementation and how to overcome them.
- IBM Center for the Business of Government Four Actions to Integrate Performance Information with Budget Information (2014) – Gives concrete advice on how to integrate performance measurement tools into the budget process to make more informed decisions.