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A Manual For Conducting Performance Reviews 


Is ther life after a performance review?

What can be done to follow up on or "top" a successful performance review? TPR has found that subsequent reviews can yield useful results, even if it proves difficult to develop new recommendations as bold and promising as your previous ones.

Generally, follow-up opportunities will arise in four areas:

  • Assessments of the ongoing implementation of previous recommendations. Often these will require mid-course adjustments to help guarantee their success.

  • Further development of previous recommendation areas.

  • Revival of ideas previously rejected that now seem feasible due to new legislation or changes in political or administrative positions.

  • Brand-new ideas.

TPR continues to develop new ideas and new review approaches, even after three major statewide reviews and literally dozens of agency and school district reviews. Among other initiatives, TPR has begun developing and conducting special limited-purpose reviews, such as one recently conducted at the request of the Texas Senate Interim Committee on Domestic Violence; this review focused exclusively on Texas criminal justice education programs. Moreover, in 1994 TPR provided a staff member to the Texas Department of Insurance to direct a agencywide internal review.

The National Performance Review (NPR) provides another example of the usefulness of a continuing review function. Since the September 1993 conclusion of its initial review, NPR staff members have worked with federal agencies' "reinvention" teams in implementing NPR recommendations that could be accomplished internally by these agencies. NPR also is working to identify new issues and opportunities for a planned second round of reviews.

After the initial review, "post-mortem" meetings of review team members can be extremely helpful in planning future review activities. An assessment of TPR's first statewide performance review by its participants concluded that greater efforts were needed to ensure that estimated savings from TPR recommendations were actually achieved. To address this concern, TPR's subsequent reports have recommended that the Legislature reduce agencies' appropriations by the estimated savings amount, which helps to encourage timely and effective implementation.

Finally, TPR urges all parties considering an ongoing performance review function to remember that "radical" new ideas often become less controversial with the passage of time and further discussion. TPR often revisits past recommendations that failed to receive an appropriate hearing, in the belief that their time eventually will come.

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