Virginia Performs

Active Project? Yes
Year Project Began: 2003
Year of Last Input: 2012
Last Updated: Nov 28 2012
Project Location:
State / Province:
United States
Lead Organization:
Council on Virginia's Future
Type of Organization:

Geographic Scope


Issue Areas

Arts and Culture, Children & Youth, Civic Engagement, Economy, Education, Employment, Environment, Governance, Health & Wellbeing, Infrastructure, Land Use, Poverty, Public Safety, Recreation, Transportation


Virginia Performs establishes a vision-driven, disciplined approach for encouraging collaboration, facilitating change, setting policies, making decisions, and ensuring accountability for producing positive results for citizens. It starts with a shared vision for Virginia – one of responsible economic growth, an enviable quality of life, good government, and a well-educated citizenry prepared to lead successful lives and to be engaged in shaping the future of the Commonwealth.
Prior to 2006, performance management in Virginia had multiple moving and unconnected parts. For instance, agency reporting was inconsistent and fragmented, and plans and metrics were unconnected to long-term statewide goals and indicators. In addition, many measures were focused on processes rather than outcomes and often were unrelated to the agency’s mission. Enterprise views to support decision-making were difficult to obtain. Just as importantly, the system lacked transparency for policy-makers and citizens.
In response, Virginia was among the first states to develop and sustain a comprehensive approach to the integration of societal level indicators and state agency performance measures. Agency measures, connected to long-term goals and indicators, now focus on mission-critical outcomes. Outcome data is integrated into policy and budget decision-making. Administrative measures have been streamlined and simplified and productivity measures are producing more efficient operations.
The Virginia Performs website is the public face of the performance leadership and accountability system. Since the launch in 2007, the website has grown in scope, function and capability. Today, it is a vital component of executive management, significantly enhancing transparency to citizens while serving as a catalyst for better strategic thinking and policy, enterprise solutions, performance-driven decision-making, and improved outcomes.
The Virginia Performs website aggregates data from multiple national and state sources and displays the data in easy-to-use text, graph and map formats. Approximately 84 state agencies enter data directly into the website to report progress on standardized performance measures. Now citizens and elected leaders can go to one source to see how Virginia – on state, regional and local levels – is doing on a variety of indicators from high school graduation to crime and land preservation. They can also see how state agencies are making progress on performance measures directly linked to the indicators.

Has Perfomance Measures?

At the "middle" level of the Virginia Performs architecture, enterprise and agency key objectives and measures help us understand whether we are achieving high-priority performance targets and improving the factors that influence the targets. At the foundation or agency detail level, service area, productivity, and administrative measures are used to provide budget transparency and monitor whether state government programs and services are producing desired results. Combined, the goals and performance measures ensure that results accountability exists throughout all levels of state government. The integration of indicators and performance can be seen in two ways. Agency performance measures are linked to key long-term goals and societal-level indicators. These agency performance measures are also associated directly with the state budget through "service area" plans, which allow citizens and state leaders to better assess state agency performance. Service area plans outline the agency budget, objectives, measures, and performance targets for each service area. Thus, it is possible to start at the agency performance management level and relate that performance to higher level indicators. Citizens can also see this integration from the top-down. The Virginia Performs indicator pages include direct links to agency performance measures linked to specific indicators. The indicator pages include a brief description of the state's role in improving outcomes related to the indicator and direct access to agency plans and performance measures.

Project URL

Project Contact:

Gerard Ward
Council on Virginia's Future - Educational Organization
Richmond VA