I Could Do My Job Better If I Knew [____]

Eric Holder, [Former] Supervision Program Director

As the Program Director of PSA’s largest operations component – defendant supervision – I rely on data to help me in planning, quality control and measuring performance. I am fortunate to work in an agency where lots of good data is literally at my fingertips. As a senior manager, it is reasonable that I should expect this, but it may not be as common that line supervisors have this same data available to them as well. 

This year marks the 10th anniversary of PSA's Performance Improvement Center (PIC), a repository of real-time user-friendly data that is readily accessible by PSA management to help us with monitoring operations, making decisions and improving PSA’s performance. The PIC is a joint effort between PSA’s Office of Strategic Development (OSD) and Office of Information Technology (OIT). The goal of the PIC is to improve the decision-making process among managers by enabling us to access the data and information PSA has available in a way that is organized for our specific purposes. In developing the PIC, OSD helps managers to fill in the blank for “I could do my job better if I knew [_______]”; and then works with OIT to create the reports for managers to access this information as needed. With the PIC, we can pull, view, and track data from PRISM (PSA’s management information system) on how well we are doing on our three outcome measures – appearance rate, safety rate and continued release.

This means at any given time, I can generate reports where I can see how the Supervision Program is doing in relation to meeting performance measure goals, and then determine specifically what needs to happen if we are missing the mark anywhere. Our outcomes are impacted by various factors including defendant check-ins, rearrests, failure to appear in court, drug tests, criminal history, treatment session attendance, among many others. For example, I can view a report listing cases for which defendants have completed pretrial supervision, but for which we have not yet completed close out assessments. Close out assessment data are factored into calculating our performance measures, so incomplete closeout assessments negatively impact how we fare. With the PIC report, I can notify supervisors who can follow-up among their staff to get the close out assessments completed. This also helps my staff to see how their work relates to PSA’s performance measures and reaching our agency goals.

The PIC is equally as useful for PSA’s first line supervisors. For example, supervisors run reports to find out how many defendants have stay-away orders from location only, which enables them to move cases and balance caseloads; and our quality assurance officers use the PIC to complete audits. 

The PIC even can be used at the line staff level. A pretrial services officer can request a caseload report to determine the need for upcoming compliance and warrant checks to assist in getting work done in advance so that overdue alerts will not appear while on leave.

The PIC is just one example of how PSA demonstrates its commitment to data-driven management decision-making.