Federal Web site introduces new analysis tools

Government watch groups can begin to expect more from ExpectMore.gov, the government-run Web site which reports on the performance and progress of federal programs.

The Web site, launched a year ago by the Office of Management and Budget, is introducing several new online tools beginning this week. The new features will make it easier to analyze the performance of nearly 1,000 federal programs, representing over $2.5 trillion in government spending, said Robert Shea, associate director for management for the Office of Management and Budget.

The Web site raised eyebrows when it debuted last February by making public the OMB's ratings of federal programs using its program assessment rating tool, or PART, scores. The ratings assess how effectively federal programs are, and in some cases, are not performing relative to their missions and what steps programs are taking to improve.

Among the site's new features is the ability to download CSV (comma space delimited) zip files of data, which can be readily imported into database or spreadsheet programs. The new feature includes a diagram showing the relationships between the data and the CSV file, making it easier for analysts to map the federal data into spreadsheets.

Programs have also been more thoroughly tagged with up to three identification tags, said Shea, so researchers are likely to get more useful search results.

And later this month, Shea said, federal programs will be including hyperlinks to congressional budget justifications and to the Web addresses of the Performance and Accountability Reports. The new links should enable analysts as well as congressional staffers to tie federal programs more easily to federal appropriations for better analysis.

The new features come on the heels of enhancements introduced last week to another OMB-run Web site, results.gov. The site is aimed at helping federal workers run programs more effectively by offering examples of successful programs, said Clay Johnson, OMB's deputy director for management, who announced the enhancements at a press conference last week.

About the Author

Wyatt Kash served as chief editor of GCN (October 2004 to August 2010) and also of Defense Systems (January 2009 to August 2010). He currently serves as Content Director and Editor at Large of 1105 Media.

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