Performance Reviews and Budget
Our performance reviews enable governments and agencies to find out what works, what doesn’t and how to make it all work better to uncover hidden savings and improve services. For every $1 spent on our work, our clients realize at least $1,000 in savings.
Public Works’ performance reviews offer top-to-bottom organizational analyses that identify ways to improve services and, ultimately, save our clients money. We go beyond helping existing systems, structures, and services to work better. We review whether those systems, structures, and services are efficient, should be eliminated or changed entirely. We evaluate fiscal management practices and the financial relationships among other agencies. We explore ways of increasing state or federal funding opportunities to increase revenue without raising taxes. We review products and performance, too—items that can’t always be quantified.
We conduct our performance reviews in five phases.
PHASE 1 – Background Research. Working with our clients, we lay everything on the table and focus on fully understanding all aspects of the organization. Our background research includes interviews with management and staff as well as reviewing policies, studies, and reports to learn about the historical, organizational, budgetary, and political context.
PHASE 2 – Issue Identification. Once we thoroughly understand the organization, its structure, and how it works with other key players, we develop a docket of potential issues derived from our background research, constituent information, issues in the media, or an understanding of what other jurisdiction may be doing. We use this step to refine the scope of the performance review.
PHASE 3 – Issue Development. We collect all our data and documentation and begin an in-depth analysis of the issues. We also develop a preliminary fiscal analysis, which helps identify financial implications of recommendations and describes the pros and cons of each.
PHASE 4 – Recommendations Development. Using our in-depth analysis, we conceptualize our recommendations and put them in a final format for presentation. We complete our fiscal analysis and conduct a cost/benefit examination of our recommendations. We also work with our clients to review our findings and recommendations, ensuring that the performance review objective is being met.
PHASE 5 – Report Production. Our performance reviews typically become public documents used to enhance public awareness of the issues and recommendations. We go to a great deal of effort to clearly articulate the issues uncovered and the recommendations made using plain language and in a style that can be easily followed by any reader. We then present the final performance review to our clients.
And at the end of our performance review, we don’t just propose good public policy, we help you implement it. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach. We tailor and design our projects to achieve concrete, measurable results for each client. And, we'll stay around to make sure your plans are implemented—and succeed.
Here is some of what we've done ...
Public Works Completes Organizational Review in Travis County, Texas
Public Works recently completed work on a multi-departmental organizational performance review for Travis County, Texas. Seated in Austin, Travis County is
the fifth most populous county in Texas, home to 1.2 million citizens, employs
over 5,000 people, and manages a budget of nearly $1 billion. Travis County is
demonstrating leadership among county governments in pursuing initiatives
designed to increase the effectiveness and efficiency with which county
departments function and provide services, through periodic self-assessment, and by adopting best-in-practice management tools and techniques. Our team welcomed the opportunity to work with this forward-thinking and results-oriented organization to develop productive findings and recommendations, and to leverage our unparalleled experience in government agency reviews in helping Travis County achieve its continuous improvement objectives. The final report to the Commissioners Court is available here.
Public Works Provides Budget Assistance to the Senate of Puerto Rico
Public Works began work with the Senate of Puerto Rico’s Office of Legislative Services in the spring of 2015 to assist the Senate in the development of budget process improvements for the Commonwealth. Our efforts included the development of a performance review process for Puerto Rico’s Fiscal Year 2015- 2016 budget. Public Works developed recommendations to help the Senate develop a project management plan regarding the budget process that included public hearings and public education; a plan to achieve savings and efficiencies; and a a plan to achieve the Senate’s objectives for improving the legislative and executive
budget process in future years.
Final recommendations are available here.
Public Works completes Louisiana Government Efficiency and Management Study (GEMS)
Public Works recently completed an efficiency review across eight major departments in Louisiana state government including the Departments of Children and Family Services, Health and Hospitals, Corrections, and Public Safety, and the Office of Juvenile Justice. Our team of experts reviewed and analyzed not only policy, program and organizational structures, but also cross-departmental and functional areas that may not appear as a line item in a budget but are typically significant expenditures.
In response to the needs of the State, which required results within an aggressive time frame, our approach was designed to identify rapidly potential areas for real savings and efficiencies in participating departments. Within the first 30 days of the project, we were able to identify nearly 200 initial recommendations, several of which were immediately incorporated into the current year’s budget recommendations to balance he state budget. Public Works ultimately produced approximately 30 recommendations providing nearly $70 million in savings in the first full year of phase-in.
Chicago Federation of Labor Efficiency Study
In 2010, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel asked the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL), the
Chicago and Cook County Building Trades Council (CCBT), and their affiliate unions
(collectively referred to as “labor”) that represent the City’s workforce, to become a
partner in working with his Administration to save taxpayers money and to save Chicago
city workers’ jobs. Labor brought on Public Works as ongoing consultant to help develop money-saving ideas in a way that would be useful to the Mayor, the City, and its taxpayers. When the Mayor approached the CFL and CCBT leadership and asked for their immediate help in meeting the financial challenges that the City faced in its 2011 budget, the CFL engaged Public Works to expedite its report on efficiencies. The recommendations laid out in the report offered savings to the City and its taxpayers of $242 million.
Read the full report here: Chicago Efficiency Ideas Final Report
State of West Virginia Performance Review
Public Works completed a two-phase West Virginia Performance Review, having reviewed
agencies and functions in seven areas: Transportation, Health and Human Resources, Motor
Vehicles, Purchasing, Corrections, Alcohol and Beverage Commission, and special
cross-cutting issues. Over 100 recommendations for reorganization, cost-savings, new
revenues and improved customer service were accepted by the governor. Some of the
recommended changes were incorporated in the state’s operating budget immediately
following the completion of the review. Others were implemented by the departments,
with some follow-up from Public Works after completion of the final phase of the review.
The Performance Review team identified over $300 million in efficiencies, new non-tax revenue and other savings in the West Virginia Performance Review.
Read the complete Phase 1 report here: WV Performance Review Phase 1 Report
Read the complete Phase 2 report here: WV Performance Review Phase 2 Report
State of New Mexico Performance Review
In 2003, then-Governor of New Mexico Bill Richardson brought in Public Works to
conduct a Performance Review of the State Government. Phase 1 looked primarily at
the areas of health and human services and transportation, and the ensuing report,
“Moving New Mexico Forward: New Ways to Save Money and Improve Customer Service
in State Government,” featured 92 specific recommendations that would not only
enhance New Mexico’s longterm development but also save taxpayers $379 million
over five years — including $74 million during the FY05 budget period. Eleven months later, we released the second phase report, “Moving New Mexico Forward: Further Along,” which featured an additional 56 recommendations totaling more than $90 million over following five years. In Phase 2, the focus was on more long-term recommendations for increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of New Mexico State Government.
Read the full Phase 1 report here: NM Performance Review Part 1.
Read the full Phase 2 report here: NM Performance Review Part 2
Illinois Department of Central Management Services: Review of Two Bureaus
The Illinois Department of Central Management Services (CMS) engaged
Public Works to conduct a one-month, preliminary review of two bureaus:
the Bureau of Strategic Sourcing (BOSS) and the Bureau of Communication
and Computer Systems (BCCS) –with a quick turnaround so that both short
and long-term recommendations could be considered in the current budget
The ensuing report outlines several major areas that could yield significant savings for the state if implemented. Using conservative estimates based on data available in CMS, as well as best practice examples applied to
Illinois, we identify 31 recommendations that total one-year savings of $16.2 mand five-year savings of as much as $364.5 million.
Read the full report here: Illinois CMS Performance Review Report Final
Louisville Mayor’s Office Technical Assistance Report
Immediately upon taking office in January 2011, Mayor Greg Fischer signed
Executive Order No. 3, creating the Merger 2.0 Task Force. The 23-member task
force was charged with reviewing the wide range of services provided by Louisville
Metro and making recommendations to improve services. As this was a formidable
task, the Mayor applied for and received a technical assistance grant from the
Mayors Innovation Project. The resulting grant made it possible for Public Works to
provide consulting services to the Task Force.
Read our full report of recommendations here: Louisville Merger 2.0 Final Report.
Chicago Federation of Labor City Budget Analysis
In June 2011, the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) engaged Public Works to provide an
analysis of the 2011 City budget, and to help it identify and quantify potential efficiencies
in government operations. The resulting documents helped to inform the discussion
between labor and the Mayor’s Office as to how the 2011 budget – and future budgets –
should be balanced in the face of revenue shortfalls with minimal impact on the jobs of
working Chicagoans. When Mayor Rahm Emanuel released the City’s proposed budget for
2012, the CFL again asked Public Works to provide an analysis.
Read the full analysis of the 2012 budget here: Chicago FY 2012 Budget Analysis Final
Glendale, California Performance Management Report
In conjunction with a grant awarded by the Mayors Innovation Project (MIP), Public Works
assisted Glendale in reviewing its current performance management structure.
The goal of the review was to help the City identify ways to: connect agency Key Performance
Indicators (KPIs) to City Strategic Objectives; develop KPIs that are meaningful and useful;
incorporate the performance management system into employee evaluations; utilize the
performance management system and KPIs to inform City Council budgeting decisions; use
the performance management system to improve departments’ customer service; and create
a “Glendale City Report Card” which will better describe the quality of services provided to Glendale residents by City government. Read the full report here: Glendale Performance Measures Report.
Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Efficiency Review
The Chicago Fraternal Order of Police retained Public Works to explore ways the City could
generate efficiencies in the Chicago Police Department (CPD) without unnecessarily sacrificing
jobs, or compromising our paramount duty to protect the city, its neighborhoods, and its
people. The resulting report suggests a number of avenues the City or CPD should pursue, in
personnel policies, contracting, operational efficiencies and revenue generation, to make
public safety services not only less costly, but also more effective.
Read the full report here: Chicago FOP.
Colorado Government Efficiency Management Report
In May 2007, then-Gov. Bill Ritter launched the Colorado Government Efficiency and
Management (GEM) Performance Review, designed to increase the efficiency and
effectiveness of state government. The Governor’s office commissioned a top-to-bottom
audit of state government and created a twenty member team, with representatives from
every department of state government, to collaborate with Public Works throughout the
process. Our final report contains nearly 100 specific, actionable recommendations for
improving Colorado state government operations. The net impact of all the recommendations
is a first year benefit of nearly $1 million and a five year benefit of $205.4 million. Once most of the recommendations are implemented, there will be an ongoing annual benefit of over $50 million.
Read the full report here: Colorado Government Efficiency Management Report June 2008.
Iowa Efficiency Review
As part of our statewide Iowa Efficiency Review, the Public Works team looked at cross‐cutting
functions such as information technology, fleet management, and purchasing, as well as
individual departments, services, programs and management structures. Our final report,
presented to then-Governor Chet Culver and Lieutenant Governor Patty Judge, identified 90 recommendations, producing $340.9 million in savings/revenue in the first year of
implementation and $1.693 billion over five years.
Read the full report here: Iowa Efficiency Review Report