If in-country USAID managers are to make evidence-based choices that guide the implementation of a strategy for achieving DOs, performance data will be needed on a frequency that is well matched to decision-making opportunities. Assigning responsibility in a PMP for the collection, analysis and reporting of performance data helps ensure that the data are acquired by USAID in time; are analyzed and effectively communicated, and feed into decision-making and preparation of annual performance reports.
The central purpose of performance management is to achieve the best possible development outcomes. The highest priority client for periodic information about progress towards the performance targets for each of the indicators included in a CDCS is thus the USAID Mission team that can use that data in making decisions about how to guide and improve performance.
Reporting on performance to distant audiences is also an important responsibility. In ADS 201, USAID stresses the importance of collecting and reporting performance data that will be delivered to USAID Washington, combined with data from other Missions and reported externally on a U.S. Fiscal-year basis. This requirement, which can be incorporated into implementing partner agreements, reflects the needs of performance information users at a distance. The ADS does not say how frequently in-country managers need performance data. Those decisions must be made locally and should be articulated in a PMP's description of the frequency and schedule or data collection and analysis for each performance indictor in a CDCS.
A simple table can be a useful aid for determining the frequency with which performance data need to be collected, analyzed and reported to in-country managers.
When “annual” is the most frequent answer for describing when distant users need performance information for accountability purposes, options for daily, weekly or even monthly performance monitoring may seem surprising – but some of the most effective results-driven programs succeeded precisely because program managers received and used performance data frequently. A prime illustration of how high frequency performance reporting has solved big problems comes from an innovative crime reduction program in New York City that is featured on this page and has been copied in Johannesburg and other capital cities.
With in-country USAID staff taking on greater and more direct responsibility under USAID Forward for the design and management of programs and projects under a CDCS, it is important that the frequency and schedule for performance data are collection and reporting meet their needs and facilitate their ability to make evidence-based decisions.
To ensure that these responsibilities are understood by USAID staff and partners, PMP tables and Performance Indicator Reference Sheets include spaces for identifying who on a USAID DO team and which implementing partners will ensure that data are collected and analyzed on a timely basis and incorporated into broader USAID performance reports.