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Contracting and the Performance Assessment Tool: Politicization or Sound Management?

PAQ, Vol. 34 No. 3, (2010)

Government is challenged by the simultaneous use of contracting out and performance measurement. The coexistence of these two phenomena brings up issues of accountability and performance transparency in government. The performance measurement tool used by the Bush administration, the performance assessment rating tool (PART), includes specific performance measurements regarding the use of third parties and contractors. Yet PART has been viewed as a politicized performance measurement tool. We attempt to look at the way that agency PART scores are affected by the prevalence of private contracting and procurement, contractor competition and the use of performance-based contracts. Through the lens of contracting and governance, our analysis supports the observation that the PART scores are politicized. Lessons are drawn for performance measurement in general.

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