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The Council on Virginia's Future works in four areas -- strategic vision / roadmap development, assessment, service performance, and productivity improvement -- to enhance the state's effectiveness in making Virginia an even better place to live, work, and raise a family.


How Is Virginia Doing?  back to top

The Council's Roadmap for Virginia’s Future serves as a model for improving performance leadership and accountability in the Commonwealth.  The Virginia Performs website provides a window into this evolving performance leadership system and showcases the state's performance on specific goals and measures.

So how fares the Commonwealth?  A look at trend information from Virginia Performs shows the state doing quite well overall.  The Scorecard at a Glance outlines its high-level goals and performance, while the links below show our rankings compared with other states and how regions within the state are faring:

State Rankings
How Does Virginia Compare
With Other States?

Regional Performance

How Are Our Regions Doing?


A Model for Others

Virginia Performs' approach to performance leadership has made a telling impact on others in government.

Council staff have received numerous requests for information and technical assistance from local governments, other states, and Europe.  This interest is leading to the development of similar performance leadership and accountability projects. 

The Council is now working with a number of community and business leaders on ideas to expand the Virginia Performs model to other regions that are committed to objective assessment of long-term improvement targets.  The prototype of a regional view is now being developed in collaboration with the Hampton Roads Partnership. The site -- to be called Hampton Roads Performs -- will showcase a region-centric view of Virginia Performs data, as well as measures unique to the area.

Other states and nations have taken a similar path, including Florida and Scotland.     end of story


Recent presentations on Virginia Performs and Virginia's approach to performance leadership include:
  • National Governors Association

  • State of Alabama

  • Southern Consortium of University Public Service Organizations


  • INPUT's MarketView Conference

Visit the Council website for access to these and other presentations.

Virginia Ranks as Top Performing State  back to top

Virginia a Top Performing StateVirginia has again received the top score in the Government Performance Project’s (GPP) “Grading the States 2008” report, the nation’s only comprehensive, independent analysis of how well each state performs in serving the public. In the first such rating in three years, Virginia achieved an overall grade of A- for performance. The GPP report specifically cites Virginia Performs -- a signature initiative of the Council -- as one of the performance measurement systems key to keeping the Commonwealth a leader among states.

The Government Performance Project grades all 50 states in four main categories:  Money, People, Infrastructure, and Information.  They review each state’s relevant reports, websites, and management tools, and interview each government’s officials at length.  Virginia’s lowest score (B+) was in Infrastructure, but it had solid A’s in both People and Information, and an A- in Money; in fact, Virginia was the only state in the nation to earn a full A for its handling of human resources. 

What seemed to particularly impress the GPP is the state's integrated strategic planning and budgeting system:

“Virginia is reaping the management and budgeting benefits of a comprehensive information-gathering process.  For the policy areas that comprise the majority of Commonwealth spending, the state's strategic plan includes goals expressed in results.  Results are discussed in the context of current performance levels, historic performance levels, and facts that affect commonwealth-wide performance -- and all are linked to measures and agency programmatic and management performance.”

The report also noted other performance tools used in the Commonwealth, including the VDOT Dashboard and Commonwealth Datapoint.

For much more information on the 2008 Grading the States results, you may:

Service Performance

Agencies Enhance Performance Reporting  back to top

Governor Kaine has made performance management a top priority of his administration.  And it shows.

Key Measures
State performance reporting took a major step forward in 2007 when for the first time agencies developed and began reporting on a set of key objectives and measures focused on their core missions. These measures are proving increasingly valuable, not only as a means to increase accountability and transparency, but also as inputs to budget decision-making. 

Agencies are strengthening their use of performance data in budget decision-making.  Two examples, related to children and health care initiatives in the 2008–2010 budget, were presented at the January 2008 Council Meeting (see that presentation - pdf, 10.75 mb).

Performance data is updated regularly and is available via the Virginia Performs website.  In addition, a summary table has been developed that aligns agency key measures with societal indicators and assesses recent progress toward key objectives. Download the alignment table (pdf, 493 k).

Productivity Measures
The state’s performance leadership and accountability system will take yet another major step forward as agencies develop at least one measure to track the productivity of a significant business process.  Most agencies already use productivity measures, but this project will help make them more consistent -- and more visible to citizens when they become available through the Virginia Performs website.

To make these measures more meaningful to Virginia citizens, they will be developed, where possible, in terms of cost per unit of output (such as an issued license). Agencies received training in June, and the first set of agency productivity measures should be approved by October 2008.

Administrative Measures
Virginia continues to emphasize a set of measures that allow government leaders and citizens to track agency performance in critical administrative and management categories through the Virginia Performs website.  The current scorecard is being reviewed to streamline the process and sharpen its assessment capabilities.

Taken together, these three elements – performance, productivity, and administrative measures – represent the core elements of Governor Kaine’s vision for assessing performance leadership and accountability in Virginia agencies.

Next newsletter:   An update on the development of the Commonwealth’s new Performance Budgeting System, an important part of the Virginia Enterprise Applications Program.   end of story

Productivity Improvement

Better Tools for Tougher Times  back to top

No matter where you work, you've probably been asked to do more with less.  While that’s never been truer than in government today, now there’s a difference:  Two initiatives are underway in Virginia to strengthen the tools available to agencies:

  • A $3 million Productivity Investment Fund is now in its third round of grants to spur innovation and collaboration for better, faster, and less expensive services to Virginians.
  • Business process improvement methods used by many of America’s best public and private organizations will be pilot-tested in the coming months. 

Improving productivity in state agencies is a never-ending job, and lean times call for using the most effective improvement tools available.  That means learning from the private sector’s productivity improvement track record – where they’ve seen remarkable progress due to an innovative use of cost-effective technologies and best practices for process improvement. 

PIF logoInvesting in Creativity
The Productivity Investment Fund (PIF), introduced in early 2007, has proven a successful incentive for developing innovative uses for technology in state agency operations. Projects are underway to develop web-based systems to streamline Medicaid applications, as well as mine permitting processes at the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy; others will improve workforce management at the Department of Motor Vehicles and cash management at the Tax Department. 

A second round of awards in late 2007 generated even more interest from agencies, with 25 project applications submitted. One project from this round has already achieved significant cost savings (see ODU story at right). A third round of applications just ended and proposals are being evaluated.  For a summary of all the productivity improvement projects now underway, visit the Productivity Investment Fund site.

Developing a Performance Culture
Agency leaders know investing in new ideas is just one avenue to improve business processes and manage costs. 

A broader objective is to develop an organization whose culture is focused on continuous improvement. Too often, employees work in isolation with limited understanding of how their work affects constituents or colleagues. High-performing organizations promote collaboration and transparency to surface new opportunities for improvement.

Successful companies like Toyota and Proctor and Gamble are famous for their “Lean” and “Design Thinking” systems, respectively, which year after year deliver quality improvements that also deliver savings.

Now Virginia, in collaboration with the state’s leading universities, is contemplating a continuous improvement system of its own to assess the most appropriate model.  Look for an update in our next newsletter.   end of story

Roadmap Development

Five More Years:  Council Reauthorization  back to top

After a successful first five years, the Council on Virginia's Future was reauthorized by the 2008 General Assembly.  Since 2003, the Council has worked to develop:

  • a vision and long-term goals for Virginia's future;
  • a Roadmap process and a leadership agenda for state government that together support achievement of that vision;
  • an integrated strategic planning and performance-based budgeting system to strengthen government accountability and transparency; and
  • productivity initiatives to spur innovation and improved services for citizens.

Senate Bill 574 extends the Council's mandate through June 2013.  end of story