The Short Answer
1. The best work is a partnership between the executive and legislative branches. A results framework which starts with the well-being of children and families can provide common ground for political players and make executive and legislative partnerships easier to create.
2. Executive branch roles can include: Creation of a children’s cabinet, creation of a children’s report card or budget, sponsorship of a “turn the curve” table and use of client results (performance measures) in budgeting.
3. Legislative branch roles can include: Authorization of state and local children’s collaboratives, children’s report cards and children’s budgets, holding results hearings, and using results for all children and client results for programs in budget hearings.
(1) The best work on Results-Based Accountability is in fact a cooperative effort between the executive and legislative branches of government. It is normal for there to be an adversarial relationship between the executive and legislative branches. Even where that is a deeply entrenched part of the culture, it is possible for the two branches to create the infrastructure necessary to establish state and local partnerships, to establish children’s report cards and children’s budgets, and to cooperate on developing strategies to measurably improve the well-being of children and families. (In one state, the work on results was seen as an exclusively executive branch enterprise. The legislature decided to undertake its own version of results. The two efforts diverged. Neither took hold and lasted.)
2) In states and counties where issues of child and family well-being are addressed in a non-partisan or bi-partisan manner, executive and legislative branch partnerships are easier to create and sustain. Results for children and families (like “all children ready for school,” “all children succeeding in school,” “stable and self sufficient families”) are statements of ends, not means. And using a results framework allows political players to find common ground in a set of results statements, even where they continue to disagree about means.
(3) The relative roles and power relationships between the executive and legislative branches vary from state to state, county to county and city to city. So a simple summary is not possible. Following are some examples of executive and legislative branch roles:
(4) The executive branch role is usually one of convenor, sponsor and co-producer of the work. Executive Branch functions might include:
– Children’s cabinet
– Children’s Report Card
– Children’s Budget
– Production of state and local indicator data for use in planning
– “Turn the curve” teams for a given result or indicator
– Development and use of performance measures for management and budgeting
(5) The legislative branch most often plays the role of authorizing and reviewing the work. Legislative branch functions might include:
– Authorize the creation of state and local children’s collaboratives
– Hold results budget hearings
– Authorize/require the creation of a children’s report card, children’s budget and cost of bad results analysis
– Independent analysis of the Executive branch children’s budget
– Use performance measures in budget review