The Government Performance Lab is providing technical assistance to states seeking to improve the core operations of government agencies so that they can achieve better results with their core human services spending. From our Pay for Success and results-driven contracting work, we have learned that governments can achieve better outcomes for the communities they serve if they:
- Employ a whole-population approach to identifying need (identifying and tracking outcomes of interest for the entire target population);
- View procurements as strategic opportunities to improve outcomes through better collaboration between government agencies and service providers;
- Re-engineer referral, enrollment, and data systems to purposefully match the right individuals with the right services;
- Actively manage contracts by meeting regularly with service providers to review performance data, troubleshoot, and course correct in real-time;
- Implement rigorous evaluations to determine which interventions are working, to what degree, and for which populations;
- Use evaluation and other outcomes to inform future budget and programmatic decisions.
To support governments making these performance improvement and systems re-engineering changes, we deploy teams of fellows to work intensively with an executive office or set of agencies. Our fellows help agency staff identify key outcomes and metrics for measuring them, design procurements that reorient contracts toward a focus on outcomes, use data to match the right individuals to the right services, set up active contract management meetings to allow real-time response to performance metrics, draft contracts to align government-provider incentives, and design rigorous evaluation of program impacts.
Rhode Island: The GPL has been helping several state agencies in Rhode Island —including the Department of Children, Youth, and Families, the Department of Labor and Transportation, and the Department of Corrections—with a range of results-driven contracting and other performance improvement projects. Our team has worked with the child welfare agency to develop a more robust contract provider performance management strategy as part of a broader agency turnaround effort, helped the workforce agency build the capacity to monitor employment and earnings impacts of its job training initiatives, and built cross-agency data matching capabilities to provide real-time tracking of program enrollment and efficacy.