Is It Time for Posting Agency Performance?

I have noticed the postings in restaurant windows about sanitation ratings, generally on an A through F platform.

This raises the question of why don’t we rate government program performance similarly with a very public notice good until the next rating? Of course, some will say that agency performance is more complex than a letter grade, and who will do the rating, appeal rights and more.

I asked myself what happens after agency and program audits and realized in most cases there are typical explanatory and defensive memorandums exchanged between the auditor and the director.

But do we ever hear what really happens after an audit? Does the auditing or control agency really have effective enforcement powers? Do the elected officials ever do more than take notice? Do the managers still get annual bonuses after a negative as we recently noted with the Veterans Affairs program audit reports?

Back to the restaurant grading model. If we can hold the small businessperson to a grade, then why not post a grade in the director’s office? With all the many millions of dollars spent on mandatory or voluntary performance and oversight audits, we should disclose the audit findings to the public.

I say the time has come to make audit reports more public and significant. Executive level staff and appointees ought to display the leadership to improve performance where needed and carry that grade for better or worse.

Ask any restaurant owner.

Submitted by Geoff McLennan


2 thoughts on “Is It Time for Posting Agency Performance?

  1. Few programs are fully effective when they begin, but they must begin somewhere. Converting audit results into a report grade and posting the grade on all communications would be a new method of communicating accountability and tool for promoting understanding. Just as organizations are required to post the anti – discrimination act information, the recent economic recovery regarding use of designated funds, etc; this communication could be displayed, along with a complaint – whistle blower contact method. This would be another device in communicating whether an organization is meeting the objectives for which it is held accountable, and bridging the gap between public expectations and governing objectives.


  2. Great point. At the federal level, wasn’t this one of the “results” to be obtained from the Government Performance and Results Acts? What’s happening there? And, if successes are being made, why aren’t they being heard by the American people.A similar efforts needs to be addressed at State and Local governmental levels.

    Restaurants compete for business, government does not, which raises an interesting question: What if they had to compete? Schools would be at the top of the list. But, you have to make sure the playing field is level when such a competition occurs. I know that some school districts have these programs. Have there been studies to see the effectiveness and results? While schools might seem a natural opportunity, how would one foster competition in the Social Security Administration? At the local level, how would one foster competition for permitting of structures, etc.?

    The private sector may be an option, but that doesn’t always guarantee success either. As recent Gallop Poll engagement surveys show, on 35% of managers and employees in the private sector are engaged, thus costing the country billions dollars a year in efficiencies, solutions, and good customer service.

    Great post.


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