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ROLE 1: Audit Performance or PM Systems:

Auditing or Assessing Performance or Performance Management Systems

Practice 1a. Audit performance: Measure or assess performance during an audit or other study based on authoritative auditing standards.

The auditor may use existing performance measures to assess performance.  However, when existing performance information is found inadequate during an audit, or when the auditor is examining issues not adequately covered by current measures, the auditor follows auditing standards issued by an appropriate authority to determine what performance information is needed, obtain the required data, and issue a performance audit report that reflects performance as measured by the auditor.  Standards used may be, for example, those issued by the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO “Yellow Book” Government Auditing Standards), the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA “Red Book” International Professional Practices Framework), or the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA Handbook).

Practice 1a is widespread among government audit organizations that do performance auditing, and there are well-established standards for performance audits.  So, rather than include many examples of this practice, we posted a sampling that represent different ways that auditors’ use of measurement in audits and studies relates to the status of performance measurement or performance management in their jurisdictions:

In Austin, Texas, from 1985–1992, some of the City Auditor’s most common performance audit findings included performance measurement weaknesses. That led to City Council action and, eventually, years of management efforts working with the City Auditor to improve performance management systems including measurement relevance and reliability.  With better data available, the City Auditor has been using performance information as part of its citywide risk assessment to pick higher-value targets for future performance audits. … Read more

In Florida, performance management is already well developed and the measures are largely reliable due to earlier testing.  So,  as in the audits described here, the Office of Program Policy Analysis and Government Accountability (OPPAGA) can use existing performance measures in audits, or will take a deeper look than existing measures provide to satisfy a policy evaluation request of the state legislature.  As of early 2007, 73% of OPPAGA’s recommendations in recent years were implemented by agencies or the legislature. … Read more

In Kansas City, Missouri, performance measurement in the Department of Parks and Recreation was not well developed, so the City Auditor designed and used its own trained observer measurement system, and the results led to the department establishing a similar measurement system which it is now using for both parks and community centers. … Read more

In Phoenix, Arizona, performance management is well developed, but the City Auditor was asked to develop measures and conduct a multi-year evaluation for a new program operated jointly by several departments and governments, helping the agencies learn from evaluation results and improve the program each year. … Read Example from 2004 Guide (PDF)