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GASB project – suggested criteria

Certificate Program

The Association of Government Accountants (AGA), the professional association for 16,000 government financial managers and other accountability officials at all levels of government, has established a program to help state and local governments strengthen their performance reports and recognize, through a Certificate of Excellence program, the truly outstanding reports. It will be similar to AGA’s program to review, provide recommendations for improvement, and award a Certificate of Excellence in Accountability Reporting to outstanding Performance and Accountability Reports issued by the Federal agencies.

The pilot year runs from October 2003 to March 2004. AGA will identify 15-20 reports from a variety of state, local, county and special interest governments, assign three reviewers per report, evaluate the reports and develop recommendations for improving their contents and structure, and solicit feedback from the reviewers for strengthening all facets of the SEA Pilot Year. Participating governments will receive the recommendations from improving their reports and will be recognized as charter participants. The Implementation Year will run from August 2004 to July 2005 and at that point the AGA will assess the feasibility of administering a full scale program.

The purpose of the reviews will be to evaluate how well the government or other organization informs the public about its performance, consistent with the suggested criteria issued by the GASB. The review is not intended to evaluate the quality of the government or its performance. Rather, the focus is entirely on the report’s usefulness to the public and other decision-makers who have a stake in the effectiveness of the government’s services.

Only comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the report, recommendations for improvement, and a “score” for the report will be provided during the first or pilot year of the program. The awarding of a Certificate of Excellence in Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting will begin in the second year of the program and continue in subsequent years.

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