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An Introduction to From Data to Impact


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If there is one theme that is likely to dominate Washington over the next decade, it is that budgets are tight. As agencies increasingly face budget constraints, the natural assumption will be that to cope with smaller budgets the federal government has to scale back what it does and, as a result, deliver less for the American people.

Government touches almost every aspect of our lives, and so the impact could be wide-ranging. Lower investment in housing programs could increase homelessness. Decreasing energy budgets could slow down progress towards new forms of clean energy. Tighter education budgets could hamper improvements in student achievement. Reducing spending on law enforcement could result in fewer police on the streets. And less money for defense could mean that our national security is put at risk as military capabilities are reduced.

It need not be that way. What if government were able to increase the efficiency of spending?

Deloitte has designed a five-step approach that can enable agencies to increase program impact in tight budgetary times:

  • Define a clear vision focuses on establishing clarity about an agency’s key priorities. Agencies should set goals focused on real-world outcomes rather than activities, or inputs.
  • Create a strategy that makes genuine choices about what approaches to follow in order to achieve goals.
  • Build foundations for implementation — so that agencies collect the right data and have a clear accountability framework for decision-making during the implementation phase.
  • Dynamically implement — a repeated cycle where agencies collect and review performance data to better understand what works and why, and use those insights to course correct.
  • Step back and reflect — looking at whether the goals were the right ones, and understanding the relative effectiveness of different programs to devise a new strategy.

Meet the author

Jitinder Kohli is a globally recognized specialist on government reform. He is a Director in Deloitte Consulting’s public sector practice where he leads work on government performance. Prior to joining Deloitte in summer 2012, he led  the Doing What Works project at the Center for American Progress focused on ways to improve the efficiency and  effectiveness of the federal government.

He has written widely on ways that government agencies can use data to better establish the effectiveness of programs, and regularly speaks at public events in the U.S. and abroad on the subject. His recommendations form the basis of the new GPRA Modernization Act and his work on Social Impact Bonds helped the concept to take root in the United States.

He has advised numerous agencies in the U.S. and internationally on government performance and budgeting reform. Prior to arriving in the U.S. in 2009, Jitinder worked as a senior official in a range of agencies in the British government including serving as the Chief Executive of the Better Regulation Executive and Head of the Productivity and Structural Reform Team in the British Treasury as well as roles in the Home Office and Cabinet Office.

Jitinder is a Fellow of National Academy of Public Administration and the Young Foundation and a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress.

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As used in this document, “Deloitte” means Deloitte & Touche LLP, a subsidiary of Deloitte LLP. Please see www.deloitte.com/us/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of Deloitte LLP and its subsidiaries. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting.

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