The Council's work plan changes as elements of the Roadmap and Virginia's performance leadership and accountability system also evolve. The Council regularly publishes updates of its work. The most recent is the 2010 Annual Update [pdf, 1.5 mb], a summary of accomplishments submitted annually to the General Assembly of Virginia.
The Council's scope of work is comprised of four main elements:
- Assessment: Effective measurement and analysis of outcomes and productivity improvements
- Performance: Outcome-driven, performance-based planning and budgeting process leading to improved outcomes for all Virginians
- Productivity Improvement: Innovative methods for improving efficiency and effectiveness
- Special Issues Development: Ongoing focus on long-term, high-priority issues that are important for Virginia's prosperity and quality of life
Virginia's performance leadership and accountability system – more broadly known as Virginia Performs – aligns agency-level outcomes with broader statewide goals in economy, education, health, public safety, transportation, government, and natural resources.
The Virginia Performs website tracks the state's performance on nearly 50 quality-of-life indicators in these goal areas. Performance measures at the agency level monitor the services and programs state agencies provide that relate to those same goals; other agency measures help us gauge whether state programs are producing the desired results and whether agency operations are well-managed.
Recent assessment enhancements include the creation of new indicators in Energy, Civic Engagement, and Government Operations, as well as new and improved indicator measures for Land Use, Internet Access, and Adoption.
A related initiative is the Hampton Roads Performs website, developed with the Hampton Roads Partnership; the site is modeled on Virginia Performs, but has several indicators and projects unique to the region.
The Performance component has focused on the development of a new planning and budgeting system. This process began more than five years ago with the integration of planning processes, development of a new budget structure, and the creation of a comprehensive set of performance metrics. A key Council partner, the Department of Planning and Budget, is responsible for the detailed design and implementation of the Commonwealth's planning and budgeting systems and processes.
The development of the new Performance Budgeting (PB) system will replace outdated and vulnerable technology, significantly enhancing the state's analysis and assessment capabilities.
The first phase of the the PB system went live in September 2010 and included modules in operating budget development, capital budget, budget execution, six-year planning, budget bill narrative, and administration and reporting. The second phase of the project, now underway, includes agency spending plan and strategic planning modules.
The new PB system is a significant enhancement and will:
- substantially improve the links between state investments and outcomes;
- enhance data analysis in support of better decision-making;
- mprove agency performance analysis by providing direct access to valuable data; and
- increase transparency.
Measuring and improving productivity in state government are important goals for the Council, which championed the creation of the Productivity Investment Fund (PIF) in 2007. Through relatively small grants and loans to qualifying agencies, the PIF helps foster innovative solutions for simpler, more effective state government. These projects have been diverse, ranging from UVa's use of telemedicine in rural areas to streamlining agency processes through IT and Web improvements at the Departments of Taxation and Business Assistance. So far, agencies estimate that PIF-sponsored projects will generate a return-on-investment (ROI) ratio of about 5 to 1.
Plans for 2012 include funding additional projects for similar high-payback and well-defined savings.
An important role of the Council is to help assess the progress being made towards long-term goals important to Virginia's future prosperity and well-being. Three of its key, high-level goals are to maintain and enhance a vibrant economy, to increase the educational attainment of Virginia's citizens, and to remain the best managed state in the nation.
The Council's approach is to focus on the primary drivers of key outcomes related to these broad goals by conducting research and dialogue with state and national thought leaders. The Council's mission is not to develop specific policy or strategy, but to strengthen the framework for decision-making and to provide an evolving and accessible framework for assessment. Recent examples include:
Although Virginia's education system and the educational attainment of its working-age adults are the envy of many, the picture for the future is somewhat uncertain. The rapid emergence of new economic powers, along with continued improvements in developed countries, has significantly increased the level of competition faced by Virginia and the United States. Many analysts and industry leaders believe that the quality and educational attainment of the workforce are key to ensuring future competitiveness and prosperity. As a result, the state and its executive leadership have adopted the goal of producing an additional 100,000 college degrees in Virginia by 2025 to help the Commonwealth keep up with international benchmarks.
A new report by the Council, Critical Outcomes in Virginia Education [pdf, 1.8 mb], presents an overview of the state's performance from pre-kindergarten to college attainment, which shows that progress is leveling off or even declining in important areas such as 3rd- and 4th-grade reading, high school dropout, and college graduation. Of equal concern is the disparity in educational success among Virginia's regions.
Intergovernmental Relationships: Government, by its very nature, is complex and multi-faceted. Many key outcomes -- and their drivers -- are influenced by a host of factors, including personal choice, private enterprise, nonprofit organizations, and layers of government. For instance, many health services are delivered in a system that involves federal regulation, state oversight, and local governmental and non-governmental service providers. How are government relationships -- through rules, regulations, funding flows among federal, state and locality levels, etc. -- affecting outcomes and progress? Recently, Council staff produced a report, Government Funding and Service Relationships [pdf, 2.3 mb], to provide a high-level summary of funding and service delivery relationships between levels of government. It includes a series of charts that aim to disentangle the complicated financial and service delivery relationships for core service areas that exist among the federal government, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and its local governments.
Economic Growth and Per Capita Personal Income: Perhaps no other overarching goal is as important as economic prosperity. While Virginia currently enjoys the seventh highest level of per capita personal income in the nation, progress has been far from uniform across Virginia's diverse regions. Global competition is increasing, and our future prosperity cannot be taken for granted. The Council will continue to research the key drivers of economic growth, review international best practices, and dialogue with state and national experts to ensure that the Commonwealth remains focused on the factors most important to long-term growth and rising real incomes.
Council staff recently produced the following reports:
- Issue Insight 6: Virginia Performs: A Regional Perspective (pdf, 2.9 mb)
- Issue Insight 7: Government Funding and Service Relationships (pdf, 2.3 mb)
- Critical Outcomes in Virginia Education (pdf, 1.8 mb)