The Role of Outcome Monitoring in Evidence Based Policymaking
Date:  08-20-2018

How states can use performance management systems to achieve results
From The Pew Charitable Trusts:


As states continue to face budgetary constraints, policymakers are looking for ways to make government more efficient and effective. Over the past three decades, many governments have developed systems to measure the performance of programs that aim to improve key outcomes in areas such as job creation, child safety, and health. These performance management systems—also called outcome monitoring systems—can help policymakers ensure publicly funded programs are achieving the results that constituents expect.

Effective performance management systems regularly track and report statewide or agency-level progress on key indicators to help determine whether government programs are working as intended.1 These systems provide useful performance information to staff and managers to help direct resources or attention to areas needing improvement. They can also help policymakers make informed policy and budget decisions, mitigate risk by identifying underperforming programs, and strengthen accountability by providing constituents with clear information on the effectiveness of services and by tracking progress on important measures of community health and well-being.

Although nearly every state has some type of outcome monitoring system in place, many face challenges in using them to inform decision-making. State agencies frequently spend significant resources to collect and report performance data that may not always be useful to decision-makers. At the same time, policymakers may lack information they need to make important policy and funding decisions. States also face challenges in coordinating these systems with other performance-related capacities. For example, many states have staff dedicated to research and evaluation, policy analysis, and other initiatives aimed at streamlining government processes that could be used together to make better decisions but are often fragmented. Continue reading >>>