Mercatus Study Finds Performance Reports Inadequate

Posted: June 27, 2002 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Emily Moscato

The Mercatus Center’s third analysis of annual performance reports required of federal agencies, “Performance Report Scorecard: Which Federal Agencies Inform the Public?,” denotes little improvement across the board.

This year’s scorecard was coauthored by Maurice McTigue, distinguished visiting scholar and director of the Government Accountability Project; Jay Cochran III, research fellow; and Steve Richardson, associate director of the Government Accountability Project. The analysis includes the 24 most significant federal agencies’ Fiscal Year 2001 performance reports, which are judged on their ability to transparently report successes and failures, document public benefits, and use performance information for future agency improvement.

According to McTigue, “The American people are entitled to know what benefits they have received from their government’s activities, and annual performance reports are an important avenue for agencies to communicate this information to citizens and policymakers.” He expects that next year’s reports will show great improvement since the Bush Administration plans to link budgets to agency performance.

According to the study, this year’s best reports were written by the Department of Transportation, the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, and the Department of Labor. The three lowest-ranking reports were from the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Personnel Management, and the Department of State. Mercatus researchers were especially impressed by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, whose report jumped from 21st to 4th place in the overall rankings.

For more information or a complete copy of the report, visit the Mercatus Center web site.

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