Performance Benchmark Reporting

The Mayor's Office believes that high quality City services are the building blocks for healthy neighborhoods and a successful city. Therefore, the City of Boston is continually developing new strategies that evaluate program performance, reduce costs, and deliver better services to the City’s residents, businesses, and visitors.


Boston About Results (BAR)

Driving these efforts is Boston About Results (BAR), the City’s award winning performance management program. This systematic approach to performance improvement combines measurement, goal setting, and strategic planning. At the most basic level, the BAR program begins with creating and tracking performance measures that describe the services departments are providing. By tying these measures to strategic goals City departments can evaluate how well they are carrying out their overall missions. Comparing performance data against targets allows senior leadership to drive top priorities and empowers the public to better understand the results the City is delivering. 

Additionally, earlier this year the City launched a new enterprise-wide performance management application which includes a public online platform for evaluating performance measures. Using the online tools the public can explore the strategic goals of each of the City’s largest departments and drill down into specific performance measures. Ultimately, this allows citizens to identify the results they receiving in return for the tax dollars they invest in our City. 

The BAR program is centered on improving results for the people of Boston. The fundamentals of BAR are woven into three tightly-integrated strategies:

  • Measuring Progress:  The cornerstone of BAR is a web-based system for collecting and tracking administrative and opertional data for all City departments. The information collected in the BAR  database is tied to both programmatic and strategic goals – allowing City leaders to better identify how departments are working toward their overall mission. Measures are consistently refined in order to help managers focus their time and attention on those areas that will best serve the people of Boston.

  • Finding Solutions:  Analysts, policy-makers and senior officials use BAR data to identify trends, raise questions, and devise new management strategies. Departmental performance review meetings provide an opportunity for senior City leaders to collaborate and follow up on ideas to produce lasting improvements in City services. Lastly, analysis of BAR data is used during the annual budget cycle to make performance-based policy and funding decisions.  

  • Sharing Results:  Above all, BAR represents a citywide effort to increase accountability and transparency both within government and with citizens. Performance data is published quarterly on the Boston About Results website through an interactive tool that enables the public to explore how well City departments are achieving their strategic goals.

This commitment to results-driven management is paying off; examples include:

  • Dramatically increasing the percentage of service requested filled on time by our public works, transportation, inspectional services, and parks departments,
  • Identifying and working to eliminate the small number problem properties which are City’s most egregious epicenters of crime and blight,
  • Controlling personnel overtime and lost time by benchmarking departments against each other, identifying drivers, and negotiating policy changes with our unions, and
  • Streamlining the permit application process so that business can open faster and foster job creation and economic growth in Boston.

Public Platform

This innovative dashboard allows the public to track City performance by drilling into key departmental performance measures such as crime rates in the police department, graduation rates in schools, or the percent of operational parking meters in the transportation department. It also allows citizens to track administrative measures of government efficiency such as overtime rates and employee absences and see how these effect departmental budgets.

The public interactive BAR scorecards also allow users to:
  • View high level highlights for each department,
  • Graph the historical trend on any key performance measure,
  • Compare up-to-date results against the performance strategies of each department,
  • Track administrative measures of government efficiency, and
  • Ensure that departments are achieving their goals.

These new tools are part of the BAR program’s overall performance strategy which ultimately seeks to find ways to deliver better city services to the people of Boston.

Public Works Scorecard June 2012
Public Works Scorecard