Program Assessment Rating Tool

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The Program Assessment Rating Tool, or PART, was a program run through the United States Office of Management and Budget instituted by President George W. Bush in 2002 to rate all federal programs on their effectiveness. By the conclusion of the Bush administration, PART was applied to just over 1,000 federal programs, representing 98% of the federal budget. The Obama administration discontinued the use of PART assessments. Actual PART assessments can still be viewed among George W. Bush online presidential archives: http://georgewbush-whitehouse.archives.gov/omb/expectmore/part.html

History[edit]

The PART was introduced in the 2004 Fiscal Year Federal budget, and explained by the Bush Administration as a program that built upon previous efforts of American Presidents to make sure federal programs were accountable and achieved results.[1] The tool grew out of an early Bush administration blueprint for administration called the President's Management Agenda, which set a goal of integrating performance data with the federal budgeting process.

Implementation[edit]

PART was spearheaded by the Director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Mitch Daniels, and OMB staff had primary responsibility for designing the tool, and setting the final evaluation assigned to a program. PART itself was a survey instrument, developed by OMB staff with outside advice. The instrument asked 25-30 questions divided into four categories: program purpose and design, strategic planning, program management, and program results. Based on the responses to those questions, programs were given a numerical score that aligned with a categorical scale of performance ranging from effective, moderately effective, adequate or ineffective. In cases where evaluators felt they could not make a judgment, programs were assigned a “results not demonstrated” judgment, which was generally believed to be a negative assessment on a par with an ineffective grade. To complete the tool, OMB budget examiners conducted extensive consultation with agency staff, though the final judgment rested with the OMB.[2]

Utilization[edit]

President Bush used the rating tool to partially justify cuts or elimination of 150 programs in his 2006 FY budget.[3] One study found that PART scores had a modest correlation with budget changes proposed by the President.[4]

Result 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008
Effective 6% 11% 15% 15% 17% 19%
Moderately Effective 24% 26% 26% 29% 30% 32%
Adequate 15% 20% 26% 28% 28% 29%
Ineffective 5% 5% 4% 4% 3% 3%
Results Not Demonstrated 50% 38% 29% 24% 22% 17%
Total Programs Reviewed 234 407 607 793 977 1017

Reception[edit]

Reaction from the United States Congress has been mixed.[5] However, Congress paid little attention to the PART scores.[6][7][8] Scholars at the Heritage Foundation support the program and its potential to reduce the size of government.[9] The program won the 2005 Government Innovators Network Award, noting that the programs reception has led to similar program evaluation systems in Scotland and Thailand.[10]

Efforts to institutionalize the PART into a permanent process failed in Congress, and PART was viewed with suspicion by Democratic lawmakers in particular.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "FY 2004 Budget Chapter Introducing the PART: Rating the Performance of Federal Programs". whitehouse.gov. February 7, 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-06-16. Retrieved 2008-09-17. 
  2. ^ Moynihan, Donald P. 2013. “Advancing the Empirical Study of Performance Management: What we learned from the Program Assessment Rating Tool.” American Review of Public Administration 43(5):497-515. url=http://www.lafollette.wisc.edu/images/publications/workingpapers/moynihan2013-003.pdf
  3. ^ Amelia Gruber (February 7, 2005). "Program assessments factor into Bush plan to trim deficit". govexec.com. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  4. ^ Gilmour, J.B., & Lewis, D.E. (2006). Assessing performance budgeting at OMB: The influence of politics, performance, and program size. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 16:169-86.
  5. ^ Amelia Gruber (March 4, 2004). "OMB seeks agency outreach on linking performance to budgets". govexec.com. Retrieved 2006-12-14. 
  6. ^ Moynihan, D.P. (2008). The Dynamics of Performance Management: Constructing Information and Reform. Washington D.C.: Georgetown University Press.
  7. ^ Redburn, F.S. & Newcomer, K. (2008). Achieving Real Improvement in Program performance and Policy Outcomes: The Next Frontier. Washington D.C.: National Academy of Public Administration.
  8. ^ Frisco, V. & Stalebrink, O.J. (2008). Congressional Use of the Program Assessment Rating Tool. Public Budgeting and Finance 28, 1-19.
  9. ^ Keith Miller and Alison Acosta Fraser (January 9, 2004). ""PART" of the Solution: The Performance Assessment Ratings Tool". Heritage Foundation. Retrieved 2006-12-19. 
  10. ^ "Program Assessment Rating Tool". Government Innovators Network. January 1, 2006. Retrieved 2006-12-15. 

External links[edit]