The Budget Experts provide an array of budget policy and performance evaluation services, including assistance with setting community priorities. The best method to identify the services that a local government can benefit from is through the Local Government Performance Rating (LGPR) process. The LGPR is a tool that assists a local government in evaluating their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT); however, it is unique in that it improves upon the typical SWOT analysis by identifying how a local government compares to best management practices in five general service areas.
The LGPR process enables elected officials and the manager or administrator to identify best management practices in performance management excellence that are present in their city, county or town as well as opportunities for improvement. Local governments that have been dedicated to the performance management movement, which began within in the past 15 years or so, will utilizes many of the practices that the Local Government Performance Rating is looking for during the assessment process. Their budget policy allocation process will be tightly aligned with a Strategic Plan and/or Business Plan. Staff performance will be measured based on achievement of defined goals and objectives. Quality and performance initiatives, such as the Governor’s Sterling Award or Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award, are being pursued or achieved. Unfortunately, only about 40% of local governments even have a defined strategic direction or plan. Those that have plans sometimes miss the boat on cost effectiveness.
The Local Government Performance Rating (LGPR) process is performed by using several, commonly available data resources that include the jurisdiction’s current budget document, latest Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR), and the latest actuarial valuation reports for any defined benefit pension plans. These documents are reviewed off site. On site data collection involves a comprehensive, one-day site visit providing a questionnaire-based structured evaluation of five major performance areas that represent the indices used for scoring. These indices provide a total composite score based on a 100-point scale. Once the raw score is established, a weighting process is used to adjust the score based upon a sliding scale that takes into account local service and cost considerations. The following index scores are developed through the data collection process:
A. Governance and Performance Management Index
B. Fiscal Responsibility Index
C. Public Facilities Index
D. Public Safety Index
E. Quality of Life Index