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Government Operations


Public policy issues often garner the most attention in times of crisis, when the president issues sweeping executive orders or foreign policy directives or Congress passes significant legislation. Long after the media spotlight has passed, however, governments must confront the more mundane details of how to make these policies work.

How can government be made more effective and efficient? How do we make it more responsive and accountable? This section is devoted to such issues of program administration and reform. It focuses on issues related to the distribition of power -- like campaign finance reform, term limits, and devolution of decision making authority from the federal to the state and local levels. It also focuses on efforts to make government simply work better -- including both controversial issues, like privatization of public services, and less controversial ones like the measuring the performance of public agencies to ascertain whether they are accomplishing their intended objectives.

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  • Public and Private Agencies Need to Manage for Results, Not Just Measure Them: Harry P. Hatry, a national expert on performance measurement, provides examples of nonprofit and government agencies that have installed and used systematic processes to regularly monitor and improve the quality of their services to the public. Service improvement, not merely measurement, is the central theme. The author also introduces a recently released series of six guides on how nonprofits and government agencies can develop key outcome measures and manage for results. (Urban Institute: 08/31/04)

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