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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.
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:
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.
AROUND & ABOUT
Recent presentations on Virginia Performs and Virginia's approach to performance leadership include:
Virginia 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.”
For much more information on the 2008 Grading the States results, you may:
SPOTLIGHT ON . . .
In an effort to highlight the best government policies and practices from across the nation, the Pew Center on the States has been researching and grading U.S. states on their performance since 1997. For more information, see the Pew Center for the States.
Governor Kaine has made performance management a top priority of his administration. And it shows.
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).
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.
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.
DID YOU KNOW?
Virginia's per capita income has increased steadily over the past decade.
In 2007, Virginia ranked ninth nationally in per capita personal income, with a statewide average of $41,347. Regionally, however, there are some stark differences in income.
Also of interest was the rate of income growth: Between 2000 and 2006 Virginia's per capita income grew at a rate of 1.4 percent, compared to the national average of 0.8 percent over the same period.
For more information, see Personal Income on Virginia Performs.
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:
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.
Investing in Creativity
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
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.
Talk about productivity improvement! Old Dominion University (ODU) won a Productivity Investment Fund grant in late 2007 to improve its distance learning capabilities. By January 2008 they had already set up a video streaming network to deliver 600 courses directly over the Internet, rather than through satellite broadcasting.
Now, distance-learning students -- whose enrollments jumped by 500 just in the first semester -- save significant time and money by attending classes via computer, rather than having to travel to satellite broadcast centers scattered across the state. Web courses also allow for more interaction between students and professors.
Perhaps best of all, ODU is saving a bundle on its costs for providing distance-learning classes. The university saw savings of $106,000 in FY 2008; that is expected to jump to $709,000 in FY 2009. Because the video courses will also provide major content for ODU's YouTube channel, continued savings for the school are expected to be about $1 million annually.
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:
Senate Bill 574 extends the Council's mandate through June 2013.
Patrons of SB 574
From the Senate
Richard L. Saslaw
Timothy M. Kaine | Vice
Chair: John O. “Dubby”
Executive Director: Jane
Full Council Membership
The Council on Virginia's Future produces this newsletter to keep you informed about
performance management in Virginia government -- its goals, methods, results and challenges.
© Council on Virginia's Future
1001 E. Broad Street, Suite 430
Richmond, VA 23219