Real Progress in Meeting Agency Performance Goals

Starting in 2009, the Administration established a common-sense approach to improving the performance of government. Following successful evidence-based practices used in the private and public sectors, the Administration began engaging senior Federal leaders in establishing two-year Agency Priority Goals in areas where agencies were focused on accelerated performance improvement. The Administration also established government-wide Cross-Agency Priority Goals in areas benefiting from collaboration across multiple agencies.

Today, the Administration is posting performance results on for the 4th Quarter of 2013, which represents the final quarterly update for the 2012-2013 Agency Priority Goals. The agency reports show significant progress across the government in delivering results and positive impact for the American people.

Below are some highlights:

  • As part of the cross agency efforts to support the President’s National Export Initiative, the Department of Commerce, as Chair of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee (TPCC), has taken actions to help achieve a record level of exports of $2.3 trillion in 2013, which supported an additional 1.3 million U.S. jobs.  For example, in 2013, the Department of Commerce’s International Trade Administration (ITA) met its goal of increasing the annual number of new markets that current U.S. exporters enter with ITA assistance to 6,100, a 7 percent increase.  The Department of Commerce and other TPCC agencies continue to advance the interests of U.S. exporters, especially small and medium sized, in markets beyond the United States.
  • The Department of the Treasury estimates that it has saved the American people hundreds of millions of dollars by creating an Agency Priority Goal around increasing electronic transactions with the public to improve service, prevent fraud, and reduce costs.  Included in this goal was an effort to modernize the Federal government’s payment and collection systems, which resulted in paper benefit payments dropping from 131 million in 2010 to 39 million in 2013, allowing us to get money to beneficiaries and back into the economy faster than ever.  At the same time, electronic collections jumped from 85 percent of total collections in 2010 to 97 percent in 2013, reducing costs to the Federal government. 
  •  After designating the improvement of business loan efficiency as an Agency Priority Goal, the Small Business Administration (SBA) has made considerable progress in making it more efficient for small businesses to get loans, while also reducing cost.  The SBA increased the use of paperless processing in their 7(a) loan program (which provides financing for various business uses, such as working capital and real estate) from 72 percent in 2011 to 90 percent in 2013, and from 55 percent to 76 percent in their 504 loan program (which provides financing for real estate and major equipment). The adoption of electronic loan processing also contributed to a 5.6 percent increase in loan volume from 2012 to 2013, growing the number of small businesses assisted.
  • The Department of State set an Agency Priority Goal of using its diplomatic mission overseas to increase the number of market-oriented economic and policy activities by 15 percent, helping to expand U.S. exports, create opportunities for U.S. businesses abroad, and increase economic growth and job creation.  State uses its more than 200 diplomatic missions to promote U.S. manufactured goods and services, analyze and address foreign trade and investment barriers, and provide counseling on exports to new firms.  State has exceeded its goal by 43 percent, achieving a total of 971 “success stories” – instances where an export deal is achieved, a dispute is favorably resolved, or a foreign policy is changed to help U.S. businesses expand opportunities abroad.
  • After establishing an Agency Priority Goal focused on preventing Americans at-risk of foreclosure from losing their homes, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) initiated a number of measures to improve agency operations and help borrowers at the very early stages of delinquency when interventions can prevent serious delinquency.  HUD increased the number of households assisted with early intervention by 31 percent between 2010 and 2013.  HUD also reduced six month re-default rates from 17 percent in 2011 to 8 percent in 2013 among those who were helped by the agency’s mitigation programs.

Bringing more robust performance management practices to Federal agencies is a priority for this Administration, and we are pleased to see these efforts gaining momentum. In the coming months, the Administration will set new performance strategic plans, establish new two-year Agency Priority Goals, and select new Cross-Agency Priority Goals that span the government.  

To learn more about the Administration’s performance improvement efforts, visit, our public portal for tracking and reporting performance progress.

Beth Cobert is the Deputy Director for Management of the Office of Management and Budget

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