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GASB project – Suggested criteria

Reporting Performance Information: Suggested Criteria for Effective Communication

"The special report presents a set of suggested criteria for use in developing external reports of SEA performance information. The purpose of the SEA reporting project is to encourage the external reporting of SEA performance information, to provide nonauthoritative guidance for the communication of SEA performance information, and to assess how successful the guidance has been in assisting state and local government organizations to effectively communicate the results of their operations. This report describes a set of suggested criteria that state and local governments can use in preparing an effective report on SEA performance information.

In the past, the GASB issued research reports that emphasized current practice in SEA reporting and, to some degree, how governments could begin experimenting with reporting SEA performance information based on examples from current practices. This special report takes a normative approach—describing what governments can do to produce effective reports on SEA performance. That is, the sixteen suggested criteria described in Chapter 6 provide guidance that is intended to result in external reports on SEA performance information that communicates relevant, reliable information about the results of government programs and services to elected officials, citizens, and other users."

For a brief synopsis of the Special Report refer to the summary report. This report gives a brief overview of the report and lists the each criterion with their purpose.

"Chapter 6 divides the suggested criteria into three broad topical areas: (a) the external report on SEA performance information, (b) what SEA performance information to report, and (c) communication of SEA performance information. The chapter also provides a description of each criterion, the purpose of each, and the rationale behind its selection."

Chapters 2 through 5 (and Appendix A) should provide the context for understanding that development and provide a logical transition to the suggested criteria (in Chapter 6). Chapters 6 through 8 provide the "what to do to produce effective SEA reports for citizens and other users" and yet still provide some rationale for the choice of each individual criterion.

To encourage use and participation the National Center for Civic Innovations, with support from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, launched The Performance Reporting Demonstration Project. This project funded approximately 30 grants of $30,000 each to state and local governments to assist them in preparing and communicating to their constituents' reports on SEA performance using the GASB's suggested criteria and in assessing the effectiveness of these reports.

The Association of Government Accountants (AGA) has established a program to help state and local governments strengthen their SEA reports and recognize, through a Certificate of Excellence program, the truly outstanding reports. SEA reports will be reviewed and evaluated on how well the government or other organization informs the public about its SEA performance, consistent with the suggested criteria issued by the GASB. Reviewers will then provide recommendations for improving report content and structure and award a Certificate of Excellence in Performance Reporting to a select group of reporters.

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