Welcome to the world, Government Performance Index!

April 3, 2018

For years, Pact’s Organizational Performance Index, or OPI, has been helping local organizations to measure their capacity, understand their weaknesses and systematically improve them to become the best they can be. From Ukrainian nonprofits that serve people with HIV to peace and security institutions in Africa, organizations around the world have improved their performance using the OPI. More important have been the benefits for the people and communities those organizations serve. Since USAID’s endorsement of the OPI in 2016 as its official outcome-level tool, its use has only grown, both within and outside of Pact.

But in developing and testing the OPI, Pact discovered that its elements weren’t as applicable to the work of government partners. We – Pact and the international development field as a whole – needed a tool adapted specifically for measuring government performance. As systems-based approaches to capacity development have come to the fore, so too has the need for accurate and consistent measurement of government performance.

So Pact’s governance and capacity development teams set to work. Today, after testing it in several countries, completing a successful reliability study and creating an easy-to-understand handbook on its use, we are pleased to share Pact’s Government Performance Index, or GPI, for broader external use.

The tool

Pact developed the GPI to measure the performance of government entities with which it works, adapting it from the OPI. The GPI helps implementing organizations and their government partners regularly review, document and analyze government performance against a set of standard measurements. Results can then be used to adapt program approaches to improve performance at individual agency, project and program-wide levels.

The GPI consists of eight items – four domains, each with two sub-domains: Effectiveness (results and standards), Efficiency (service delivery and coordination), Relevance (constituents and learning), and Sustainability (financial and environmental stewardship).

Annually, Pact and its partners collaborate to measure partner performance because we are committed to going beyond measuring short-term capacity development gains. We aim to understand the extent to which capacity development outputs support positive changes in the way governments achieve results, meet high standards, deliver services to target populations, engage with constituents and react to changes in the external environment. Here, the GPI has been crucial for us.

The reliability study

Consistency in measurement is a key reason we created the GPI, so testing its reliability was critical. In each of the five countries where we tested the GPI – Cambodia, Nigeria, Tanzania, DRC and Ethiopia – two Pact staff scored the same government entity using the same evidence, but they did so independently of one other. We then performed three statistical tests on these data: Cohen’s Kappa statistic, Spearman’s Correlation coefficient and Cronbach’s Alpha coefficient. The tests confirmed the GPI can be considered a reliable tool to measure government performance. (The details of these statistical tests can be found in the full GPI reliability study document.)

Qualitative feedback from scorers also confirmed the GPI to be a reliable tool and provided feedback on using the tool. We learned that a few sub-domains needed clarification on what constitutes acceptable evidence. We also discovered we needed better guidance on how to conduct the GPI itself. The GPI handbook addresses these issues.

In the coming year, we hope to conduct a validity study of the GPI as well.

The handbook

The GPI handbook provides the practical information and skills needed to administer the tool and understand its background, domains and sub-domains. This handbook can be supplemented with the OPI handbook, which thoroughly explains the GPI’s precursor and sister tool. In collaboration with the Aga Khan Foundation and other partners, we’re also working on an Organizational Performance Measurement blended learning course, which will consist of a video-based course and face-to-face workshop to be released later this year.

We hope others in the development field will use the GPI and find it as useful as we have for strengthening the performance of government – an undeniably crucial partner in global development. We welcome questions, feedback and opportunities to collaborate. Reach us at @email.