Grants performance accountability and the PART

GovExec has a nice piece about GAO-06–1046, the report I blogged about a while ago. GovExec’s article has a nice summary of why the report was requested:

The study was requested by Rep. Todd Platts, R‑Pa., chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Finance and Accountability. Tabetha Mueller, a spokeswoman for the subcommittee, said the GAO’s recommendation that agencies work collaboratively with grantees could address some of the problems that members of Congress have had with the PART process.

Some members of Congress have said PART scores fail to reflect the real value of programs by using the wrong performance measures. Others have rejected use of the scores for budget decisions because they say the grades do not take into account legislators’ goals in creating the programs.

Mueller said agencies should look at congressional intent when working with grantees to set metrics. “The PART has been very OMB-driven, so an agency feels like they’re being asked to do two different things,” she said. GAO’s strategies could improve the PART process by ensuring that agencies and grantees are on the same page about what success means. The integration of grant performance and funding could be a next logical step, Mueller said, but only after the parties could agree that the performance assessment system was fair and accurate.