Performance Management in the U.S. Department of Justice
In 2010, the United States government passed the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, which sought to bring great improvements to their justice department. In line with this act “quarterly performance assessments of government programs for purposes of assessing agency performance and improvement, and to establish agency performance improvement officers and the Performance Improvement Council” are required.
The agency performance updates will be made available on the public website of each of the 23 agencies, as well as on the Office of Management and Budget website, comparing actual performance results with the established goals. In addition, the agency is obligated to update its strategic plan every four years and cover a period of no less than four years ahead.
For practical reasons, the focus here will be on the performance report of the Department of Justice. A set of three FY 2014-2015 strategic goals were developed in alignment with the FY 2014-2018 strategic plan. The strategic goals stated in the annual performance report are as follows:
- “Strategic Goal 1, National security: Protect the Americans from terrorism and other threats to national security, including cyber security threats”
- “Strategic Goal 2, Violent Crime: Protect our communities by reducing gun violence using smart prevention and investigative strategies in order to prevent violent acts from occurring”
- “Strategic Goal 3, Financial and Healthcare Fraud: Reduce financial and healthcare fraud”
The net costs for achieving the measures in FY 2014 were $12.629.456, a decrease of 0.54% in comparison to FY 2013. However, in the figures below we can see that the achievement percentage also dropped, in FY 2014 the department managing to achieve only 80% of its key performance measures, in comparison to 85% in FY 2013.
Status of strategic goals
Looking at the first goal’s performance results, it is visible from the start that the targets of objectives 1.1 and 1.4 are greatly surpassed, but the department did not succeed in reducing terrorism disruption and the number of computer intrusions. After seeing these findings, the FBI has taken the initiative to prioritize specialized training sessions for their agents to ensure a skilled workforce. Moreover, the FBI has also taken steps to streamline the information chain between themselves, their partners and stakeholders, through their information sharing platform – Guardian.
In addition, for the achievement of objective 1.4, the department will collaborate together with private sector companies, to gather and share threat-related information. For FY 2015 and 2016, the targets have been adjusted to 500 instead of 100, by taking into account the actual results of FY 2014.
Contrary to the first goal’s results, the performance of their second goal paints a better picture, as all targets are reached. Furthermore, as a result of the increased number of records submitted to the National Criminal Background Chick System (NICS) Index, 87.160 individuals were denied firearms.
Progress was made in FY2014 to reduce the number of financial and healthcare frauds, some of which were pending for 2 years. Pending investigations were reduced by 7% from 5.075 to 4.753.
This is due to the fact that the United States Attorneys’ Office paid more attention to cases of fraud which were up and waiting for more than 2 years. Additionally, in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries, the department invested more than $ 2.2 billion to resolve civil or criminal involvement in cases of unapproved use of prescription drugs and healthcare bribery.