Guide to Interpreting Performance Reports

We publish the performance of 16 of the City’s largest departments. We also publish scorecards on cross-departmental efforts, such as Basic City Services as well as the current year’s priority measures, which align with the Mayor’s strategic vision for that year. Results are updated quarterly.

Reading the Scorecard

Each Boston About Results scorecard contains a wealth of information about the activities and performance of the department, program, or initiative that is being tracked. There are three tabs that users can navigate through to view information:

  • Strategies

    This tab displays the strategies of a department. Each strategy has a list of associated performance measures that users can scroll through. A strategy’s performance score is based on the performance of all its associated measures.

  • Measures

    This tab displays the full list of all published measures. Each measure contains a status and trend icon to illustrate performance, along with a description and a graph that charts actual versus target performance for the past three years.

  • Links

    Where applicable, the Links tab contains a link to the department’s financial data. Powered by the City’s open data portal, expenditure data is displayed through an interactive web-based dashboard.

Additionally, each scorecard has a list of highlights and a menu that contains historical scorecards.

Chart of Symbols


Green (37)Performance is better than or equal to the target.
Yellow (37)Performance does not meet the targeted level, but is within ten percent (10%) of the target.
Red (37)Performance deviates more than ten percent (10%) from the target.
Up (15)Performance is trending up when compared to the previous three reporting periods.
Circle (17)Performance is level when compared to the previous three reporting periods.
Down (13)Performance is trending down when compared to the previous three reporting periods.


Please Note:

Due to the varying nature of performance measures collected by departments, not all measures are collected quarterly. Some measures are collected annually, semi-annually, or quarterly, leading to a lack of data for some measures on a quarterly basis. Where possible, differences in measure frequency are noted in the measure definition.

It is also important to note that a red symbol alone does not indicate insufficient performance. Instead, it helps prompt investigation so that we can better understand what factors may be causing lower than expected results and work efficiently to improve services for all Bostonians.