Accountability for Managing Agency Performance

Accountability for Managing Agency Performance

Another critical process for leaders is holding staff at all levels accountable for using information as the key to making the strategy work and to achieving real improvements in agency performance. A performance-driven culture means that the leader has committed to:

  • Clearly defining good performance and a means to measure this. Staff being held accountable for how they perform their duties.
  • Securing necessary resources for staff to conduct their day-to-day jobs.
  • Rewards are given for good performance and an improvement plan is set for poor performance.

Accountability refers to the continual assessment of practice, organizational and financial outcomes to determine a standard of program effectiveness aligned with the agency mission in meeting the needs of all children, youth and families served.

Accountability for managing agency performance falls into the following categories:


Compliance with State and Federal Requirements

Public agencies are responsible for managing and monitoring a private provider’s compliance with various state and federal regulations and with the terms of the contract and for ensuring that service delivery complies with contract provisions.


Fiscal Performance

Managing fiscal performance focuses on whether program cost information, including administrative costs, is reasonable and necessary to achieve program objectives.


Case Decision-making

Frontline staff should understand that data are used to improve interventions they make with children, youth and families. For supervisors, information should serve as a “familiar” supportive tool in the decision-making process and used to improve performance.


Staff Performance

Agency leaders are responsible for building a competent workforce to deliver the service array outlined in the practice model and must therefore manage the performance of staff at every level. Both public agencies and providers need good data for operational decisions and for managing performance in the capacities listed above. To achieve this, the information management systems must be able to track performance from a variety of different perspectives — child and family status and demographics, service utilization, service/episode costs linked with case plan goals, treatment and outcomes.


Contextual factors to consider when forging ahead with this process include the following:

  • Expect opposition when you begin to discuss the possibility of linking dollars to objective performance measures. Many people chafe at the thought of being ‘graded’ on their performance.
  • Be crystal clear about the goals you want to achieve.
  • Explain the methodology so that all parties can understand it. Keep it as simple as possible. And remember, your data system will have to produce information on each indicator, so choose those for which you have credible data.
  • Be transparent about the source of the data and any data manipulation or analysis that is required.
  • Choose performance expectations that are challenging but realistic and demonstrate how performance at the expected level will result in improved outcomes for all of the children, youth and families served.

Performance based contracting is increasingly being used by public agencies to monitor and evaluate performance to improve

outcomes for all children, youth and families served.

Change & Innovation Agency
FEi Systems
PCG Human Services
Governing Magazine