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ROLE 5: Assist Elected Officials or Citizens

External Reporting, Capacity Building, or Advocacy for the Use of Performance Information

Below, “external stakeholders” include, for example, non-executive elected officials, the general citizenry, interest groups, grantees and contractors (non-profit & for profit), and the media.

Practice 5b. Report performance: Produce and issue external periodic performance reports.

On a regular, periodic basis (e.g., annually, biennially), the auditor prepares and issues public performance reports for use by elected officials, citizens, or other external stakeholders.  These reports would be reasonably comparable and consistent from period to period in how they report on the same programs and services.  In externally reporting and communicating performance information, the auditor may attempt to meet internally- or externally-set criteria for performance reporting, such as the GASB’s “Suggested Criteria” for communicating performance information or the CICA Public Sector Accounting Board (PSAB) of Canada’s “Statement of Recommended Practice SORP-2: Public Performance Reporting.”

Since 2002, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Auditor has issued annual City Services Performance Reports.  These reports present a summary of citizen survey results followed by performance information.  The City Auditor also provides benchmarking data comparing Kansas City citizen satisfaction and perception ratings with those of citizens in other communities. … Read more

The Multnomah County, Oregon, Auditor's Office published several SEA reports. The SEA Reports followed a two-year cycle: One year the Auditors Office prepared a report on social and health services and the next year the Auditor's Office prepared a report on public safety services.  Comparative information from other counties and citizen survey results were included. … Read Example from 2004 Guide (PDF)

In 2006 the Palo Alto, California, City Auditor published the City's fifth annual performance report, including comparisons with nearby California cities for some measures.  Since 2004, a national survey has been used allowing comparisons of citizen perceptions and satisfaction ratings with localities across the country.  Citizens have begun using data in the performance report to influence decisions. … Read more

The Portland, Oregon, City Auditor's Office has published annual SEA performance reports since 1991.   These reports typically include data from six comparator cities, an annual citizen survey, and maps comparing results across citizen involvement districts in the City.  In 2007, the City Auditor’s Office worked with the Association of Government Accountants (AGA) to serve as a pilot city in the AGA’s Citizen-Centric Government Reporting initiative. … Read more  

Prince William County, Virginia, Internal Audit has prepared annual SEA reports since 1995 following a two-year cycle, reporting on a different set of services every other year.  Measures are selected by Internal Audit and agencies based on how representative they are of each service and their availability in information systems.  Comparative data from other local governments are included as are citizen survey highlights.  A separate full report on the citizen survey is also issued annually. … Read more

The San Francisco City Services Auditor recently conducted both a user survey of park conditions and made their own study of park conditions based on observations. The observation-based study is used for an annual public report on parks, streets, and sidewalk maintenance. The public report on the 2007 user survey is notable for its comparisons of user perceptions and trained observer ratings of park conditions ... Read more

In January 2009, the San Jose City Auditor released the first annual Services and Accomplishments (SEA) Report, a public report on San Jose city government performance. The purpose of the report is to improve transparency and accountability, provide consolidated performance information to the public, and allow informed decision making by City officials, staff, and the public.… Read more