Measuring Performance: The Corporation for National and Community Service Faces Challenges Demonstrating Outcomes

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A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "CNCS officials expect that most grantees from its main programs will adopt at least 1 of the agency’s 16 agency-wide performance measures. Specifically, officials told us that AmeriCorps State and National and VISTA grantees will adopt at least 1 of CNCS’s performance measures by fiscal year 2012, and Senior Corps grantees will adopt at least 1 measure by fiscal year 2013. However, officials also said that they plan to fund some activities that do not fall under the performance measures, particularly activities that meet local needs ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. February 17, 2012.

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Description

A letter report issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "CNCS officials expect that most grantees from its main programs will adopt at least 1 of the agency’s 16 agency-wide performance measures. Specifically, officials told us that AmeriCorps State and National and VISTA grantees will adopt at least 1 of CNCS’s performance measures by fiscal year 2012, and Senior Corps grantees will adopt at least 1 measure by fiscal year 2013. However, officials also said that they plan to fund some activities that do not fall under the performance measures, particularly activities that meet local needs and/or are innovative. For example, CNCS has funded grantees in the state of Washington to carry out gang violence prevention activities to address this community challenge. This could present challenges for CNCS as it balances accountability, using its performance measures to assess the impact of grantees’ service activities, with flexibility, allowing grantees to take on projects that meet local needs. CNCS may find it difficult to demonstrate the effectiveness of its service activities that fall outside its performance measures. Additionally, CNCS faces challenges using its performance measures to promote accountability among its Senior Corps grantees, as legal restrictions make it difficult for CNCS to remove funding from grantees that consistently fail to meet their performance targets, and these restrictions include some requirements for Senior Corps programs that do not apply to CNCS’s other programs. These restrictions can make it more difficult to hold these grantees accountable for performance. Specifically, officials told us that failure to meet performance targets is not a sufficient reason to re-compete a Senior Corps grant, and that it is very difficult to terminate a grant for poor performance. At the time of our review, CNCS officials told us that they have not yet sought statutory changes to address these legal constraints."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • February 17, 2012

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Measuring Performance: The Corporation for National and Community Service Faces Challenges Demonstrating Outcomes, report, February 17, 2012; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302989/: accessed September 20, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.