From the Expert
The Power of Performance
By Jennifer Burnett, CSG Senior Research Analyst
Would you like to know how the condition of your state’s bridges compare to those of neighboring states? Or how affordable the housing is in your state compared to states with similar characteristics?
States Perform—a new Web site (www.statesperform.org) from The Council of State Governments—will help you do just that. States Perform provides access to interactive information on how states are performing across six key policy areas: education, public safety and justice, energy and environment, economic and fiscal policy, health and human services and transportation.
To use this new informational tool, visit www.statesperform.org.
These days, we are seemingly overrun with information. Finding exactly what you need, when you need it is sometimes a daunting task, especially when it comes to performance data. Data about how your state is performing compared to other states on key education measures may be on one Web site or in one report, while transportation data or public safety data is somewhere else. States Perform brings together more than 90 measures of state performance across 50 states and puts it at your fingertips in an easy-to-use, interactive format.
Measuring each state’s performance and using that data to strategically place resources is key to implementing the accountable, transparent and results-focused governance policies citizens expect—especially as states are expected to do more with less.
In Washington, for example, a survey revealed that residents were concerned about the safety of children. So, Gov. Christine Gregoire set a goal for local social service offices to respond to a call of child abuse within 24 hours in at least 90 percent of the cases.
Using performance data collected by the state’s Government Management Accountability Program, officials learned that some regions weren’t meeting the target. So they talked to frontline social workers to understand why the goals weren’t met and developed a strategy to improve. The outcome: officials now respond to reports of child abuse within 24 hours more than 96 percent of the time, up from 65 percent in 2004. As a result, repeat instances of child abuse declined by a third.
The States Perform Web site provides the essential information you need to create informed, outcome-driven strategies like the one implemented in Washington, giving you access to interactive, customizable and up-to-date comparative performance measurement data from 50 states and across six key policy areas. In addition, States Perform gives you access to videos and other interactive features to learn more about how you can implement a comprehensive, statewide performance measurement program in your state.
Features of States Perform include:
Compare: create a customized spreadsheet containing up to 10 outcome measures across all 50 states or just your region.
Customize: choose a performance measure, compare across a few states, your region or the nation, and quickly create maps and charts to visualize your comparison.
Profile: See how your state is performing across all 90 measures, compared to the national and regional average.