Monitoring Growth Management Efforts in King County: 1994 - 2009
This year’s series of Benchmark Reports comes after eleven years under the Washington State Growth Management Act (GMA). First published in 1996, the King County Benchmark Program is in its tenth year of publishing annual reports on progress in meeting the goals outlined in the Countywide Planning Policies (CPPs). In 2003 – 2009, the format of the annual reporting was changed from a single yearly publication to five bi-monthly bulletins covering the main areas of growth management policy:
Benchmarking as a Strategy for Change
As one of the first and most durable efforts at monitoring outcomes in the public sector, the King County Benchmark Program demonstrates how measurement of broad quality-of-life outcomes can help determine if public policy and programs are making a difference. The purpose of King County’s Benchmark Program is to provide the King County Growth Management Council and other users with a method for:
Public outcome monitoring is a strategy for a change: it alerts us to what we are doing well, and to where we need to do better. It is closely connected to both the policy goals that it monitors, and to the strategic planning, programs, and services that are intended to implement those goals. The diagram below is one way of envisioning the interplay of policy, program implementation and outcome monitoring.
High-level indicators such as the 45 Benchmark Indicators, selected in 1995 for monitoring by the GMPC, are often affected by external factors outside the control of government agencies. Some, such as the economic indicators, are less responsive to local government strategies than others, such as land use indicators. But although the degree of government impact may vary, good public policy implies effective implementation. The intention of both the policy and the implementation is to create real, long-term improvement in the quality of our lives in King County. Tracking these indicators lets policy-makers know if that improvement is happening.
In the last several years, as public reporting on government performance has become widely mandated, the King County Benchmark Program has been recognized as a prototype of public performance monitoring. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the Dept. of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Association of Governmental Accountants (AGA) and various other groups have recognized it as a model for the development of outcome-oriented public performance reports. It has been cited as an example of excellence in its analysis of outcomes by the Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB). It has also served as a U.S. case study at several international conferences.
Printed copies of the Benchmark Reports or information about the Benchmark Program are available from:
Lisa Voight, Performance Management Coordinator
Updated: June 16, 2009
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