City Council committee advances performance guidelines

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Council Budget Committee Chair Tim Burgess

City Council committee advances performance guidelines
Measure outlines framework to ensure City programs improve quality of life

Seattle – The Seattle City Council’s Government Performance and Finance Committee today unanimously approved performance guidelines (Resolution 31404) to ensure that new or modified City programs are able to demonstrate their value through measurable results. The Full Council will vote on the guidelines on Monday, September 10.

"As the Council’s budget committee chair, I will lead in making sure our investments of the public’s money produce results that improve the quality of life for the people of Seattle," said Councilmember Tim Burgess. "We must ensure the City government wisely and efficiently invests tax dollars on the services that matter most and that we achieve the results we desire."

The budget resolution increases accountability by requiring that new programs or funding increases be justified by identifying the program’s desired results and outcome measurements. When reviewing any new or significantly changed programs proposed by the Mayor, the Council will ask four simple questions:

  1. What are the long-term and measurable goals (outcomes) of the proposed program?
  2. What is the gap between the current situation (status quo) and the goals?
  3. How effective will the program be in making progress toward the goals?
  4. How will the program’s progress be measured to prove whether it achieved actual results?

"Instead of just counting inputs and outputs, such as employee hours or the number of program participants, we want to move toward the measurement of specific outcomes," Burgess said. "How many students graduated from high school prepared for college or their career? How many homeless individuals or families transitioned to permanent housing? By how much did we reduce street crime in a specific neighborhood? These are examples of the kind of outcome questions we want answered so we can invest more in those programs that are effective. We have a responsibility to maximize the impact of the people’s money."

The Mayor will present his budget proposal for the 2013-2014 biennium to the City Council on Monday, September 24 at 2 p.m. Washington State law requires the Council to adopt a balanced budget no later than December 3.

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