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 2014 Certificate of Excellence Award Winner: ICMA Center for Performance Measurement (tm)  2013 Certificate of Excellence Award Winner: ICMA Center for Performance Measurement (tm)


Initiative Overview

Montgomery County Priority Objectives

Priority ObjectiveFollowing his election, County Executive Isiah Leggett asked a group of 150 residents, representing diverse interests and cultures, to identify the qualities of life in Montgomery County that matter most.  They identified the following Montgomery County Results (Priority Objectives):

These eight Montgomery County results are the foundation for establishing the County Results-based Accountability System.

For More Information:  The County Executive's Transition Report (pdf)

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Initiative Overview

As a component of the County’s results-based accountability system, CountyStat requires decisions, actions, and policies that are driven by the extensive use of data, qualitative and quantitative analysis, and outcome-focused performance management. CountyStat relies on the strategic use of data and analytics to monitor and improve the performance, effectiveness, and efficiency of County services. This effort creates greater accountability; provides better transparency into County challenges and successes; and ultimately will help ensure the implementation of a culture of “managing for results” in Montgomery County. 
Held on a weekly basis, CountyStat meetings serve as a tool to both examine governmental activities and continually improve the efficiency and responsiveness of government. During these meetings, the County Executive and the Chief Administrative Officer use real-time data to analyze past, present, and future performance strategies. These meetings facilitate the development of targeted action plans that promote a culture of continuous improvement and timely delivery of customer results.
Although building upon previous “stat” programs, CountyStat represents a further evolution of this model by focusing on customer results, performance, and long-term strategies that emphasize increasing effectiveness and efficiency. This program is changing the culture of accountability in Montgomery County government by creating, for all Executive Branch departments, a set of outcome-based and mission-focused performance measures. These measures set the framework for regular discussions of policy and operational challenges that lead to the development of strategies, which address challenges and improve performance.
The principles of Montgomery County’s CountyStat program are:
  • Require Data-Driven Performance 
  • Promote Strategic Governance 
  • Increase Government Transparency
  • Foster a Culture of Accountability

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CountyStat manages the following results-based accountability tools:

Montgomery County Indicators (County Performance): Through a collaborative process, CountyStat developed a set of indicators that represent a high-level barometer of County performance and reflect the quality-of-life in Montgomery County. This allows the County to compare its performance against itself over time, and to also compare performance to other like-counties, both regionally and nationally. Indicators, while influenced by multiple departments and subject to external factors often beyond the control of County government, allow leadership to gauge the effectiveness of County strategies over time. 
Performance Plans and Headline Performance Measures (Departmental Performance): All executive branch departments have developed performance plans, containing data-supported “headline performance measures” that reflect each department’s core mission and strategies for how to improve and optimize performance. On behalf of the County Executive and Chief Administrative Officer, CountyStat manages performance plans and headline performance measures through its weekly CountyStat meetings. 
Montgomery County Performance Measurement Dashboard: This is an online-accessible performance reporting system that provides greater transparency into government performance and increases government accountability. The performance measurement dashboard tracks and reports departments' progress on each of their headline measures. 

CountyStat Weekly Meetings: Held on a regular basis to review and examine the County departments’ various issues, CountyStat meetings provide a systematic method for discussing activities and challenges that affect the efficiency and responsiveness of government. During these meetings, the County Executive and the Chief Administrative Officer use real-time data to analyze past, present, and future performance strategies that enforce a culture of “results-based accountability”.

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Since CountyStat’s inception, its activities have evolved around several key themes:

Capacity Building
CountyStat works with departments to increase their internal capacity to continually monitor and assess operational performance, in order to construct more self-sufficient and outcome-focused departments. With the proper training, tools, awareness, and enforcement mechanisms, departments become more self-sufficient in managing their data and are able to effectively identify strategies for improvement. To promote these efforts, CountyStat developed the Rotational Fellowship Program, which provides an opportunity for selected County employees to develop and improve their data analysis and presentation skills, develop a better understanding of data-driven performance measurement, and interact with County leadership.
Policy Translation
CountyStat assists policymakers by ensuring that their message is accurately interpreted and set into action by departments. Through ongoing facilitation and rigorous follow-up, CountyStat provides a forum for the continual monitoring of performance as it relates to County policies. 
Data Analytics and Integration
CountyStat identifies opportunities for incorporating departmental performance data in the analysis of key operational issues by working closely with departments to build their data analytics and integration abilities. With this ongoing support, CountyStat will increase the uniformity of data collection, the validity of collected data, and increase inter-departmental program analysis. 
Internal Consulting
CountyStat provides an array of facilitation and analytic support services, not necessary realized through the creation of a formal CountyStat meeting, which allow the County government to make informed decisions based on rigorous analysis. These services often focus on strategic-level decision-making processes that lead to systemic change. Past internal consulting activities have included consultation on departmental strategic planning, and extensive survey analysis.