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Performance Indicator Definitions Not Consistently Applied - ADS 203.3 - GAO Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government

USAID’s results-oriented approach to management calls for its managers to consider performance information when making decisions. Sound decisions require accurate, current, and reliable information, and the benefits of USAID’s results-oriented approach depend on the quality of performance information available (USAID’s “Guidelines for Indicator and Data Quality” - TIPS No. 12).

To be valid, an indicator must accurately reflect the performance element that it purports to measure. This requirement is recognized by both USAID’s Automated Directives System (ADS) and the Guidelines for Indicator and Data Quality. ADS 203.3.4.2. states that indicators selected for inclusion in the performance management plan should measure changes that are clearly and reasonably attributable, at least in part, to USAID.

The Guidelines for Indicator and Data Quality states that one of the critical requirements for an indicator is the degree to which it and the related data accurately reflect the process the indicator is being used to measure. The guidelines further explain that “validity” refers to data that clearly and directly measure the result they are intended to measure; “reliability” refers to data that have a stable or consistent measuring process; and “timeliness” refers to data that are sufficiently up-to-date to be useful in decision making.

In addition to the above, it is important that performance information be recorded and documented. The GAO Standards for Internal Control in the Federal Government requires accurate and timely recording of all transactions and significant events. These standards also require that transactions and significant events be clearly documented, with the documentation readily available.

General Recommendations

  • Apply performance indicator definitions when collecting, summarizing, and reporting program results.

Source: AUDIT REPORT NO. 4-674-10-005-P MAY 12, 2010

The recommendations are derived from audit reports of the Office of the Inspector General. The source refers to the audit report, which is available on this site as part of the Audit Database Project: an educational tool for compliance with USAID regulations.  Please see the disclaimer of this site before using recommendations.

Tags: Monitoring and Evaluation

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