Practice 2a.Test relevance or reliability: Test or certify performance measurement relevance, reliability, or both.
The Texas State Auditor’s Office (SAO) has been conducting audits of performance data since 1994, and devotes an average of 3,000 to 5,000 staff-hours per year to this practice. The SAO assesses the accuracy of reported performance measures to ensure that the governor and legislature have accurate information when making decisions or evaluating state agencies. The SAO’s process for auditing performance measures has become a model used by local and state governments throughout the country including the City of Austin, Texas; Maricopa County, Arizona; and the State of Nevada. To determine if agency performance information is accurate as reported and is managed in a reliable system with adequate internal controls, the SAO follows a ten step process (see “tools” below) to determine a certification category for each measure. The four categories are: “Certified,” “Certified with Qualifications,” “Factors Prevented Certification,” and “Inaccurate.” The certification audit reports include recommendations for improvement and the agency response.
- The chapter “Auditing Performance Measures” in the SAO’s Guide to Performance Measures Management (PDF) details the 10-step process further, including examples for many steps and explanations of the certification categories.