City of Austin Performance Report 2014-15
Austin's Target Setting, Data Reliability, and Trend Analysis
How Austin Sets Targets
The City of Austin emphasizes that departments set realistic, yet challenging, targets for their measures. As performance has improved, many departments have also increased the difficulty of their targets to keep pace, reflecting our commitment to “raising the bar”. A few of the targets are extremely difficult to reach but have been set as such to reflect city or department ideals. For instance, in FY 2010-11, the Austin Fire Department lowered its goal for the measure “Number of fire deaths in the past 12 months” from 6, which was a reasonable goal based on statistical data, to zero, which is the ideal state for the Austin community. This updated goal will be difficult to reach but has been set according to the values of the organization. This zero target was again set for FY 2014-15, and like in previous years, the target was not met because, unfortunately, there were fire deaths. As such, reaching 100% of the targets set for these performance measures may never be realized. However, setting targets, tracking and analyzing data, and discussing and making decisions off of the outcomes are beneficial processes for the City organization and critical to improving City services and delivery
It is also important to not only compare performance against set targets, but to also assess improvement from year to year. This year, 50% of the key indicators maintained or improved in FY 2014-15 compared to the prior year of FY 2013-14. Also, 73% have a general trend of improved or maintained performance over a five-year timeframe. 
Data Reliability
City management, Council, and citizens depend on reliable and accurate data in order to make the best decisions possible from the performance information. City staff take several steps to ensure the accuracy of the data being reported. Each measure included in this report has a data collection plan that establishes methods to accurately capture the data. These measures go through several layers of review at multiple levels of the organization. In addition, the City has a formal measure assessment processes that departments and the Corporate Budget and Performance Management Offices use to determine the accuracy of data reporting. Although not all of the measures included in this report have received formal assessments, all of the data for the measures in this report have been reviewed for accuracy.
Determining Data Trends
New for the FY 2014-15 Annual Performance Report, the City of Austin Dashboard and the departmental summary charts include a general trend column, indicating overall trends of improving performance, declining performance, or maintained performance throughout the five-year history of FY 2010-11 through FY 2014-15. The criteria for determining the trends were as follows:
  • Four transitions in the same direction constitutes a trend.
  • Three transitions in the same direction constitutes a trend if the variance from year one to year five moves in the same direction as the three transitions. If the variance from FY 2010-11 to FY 2014-15 moves in the opposite direction as the three transitions, the trend will be recorded as maintained.
  • At least two transitions in the same direction are needed in constitute a trend. In the case of only two transitions moving in the same direction, a trend can only be established by a significant variance from FY 2010-11 to FY 2014-15. 
  • In cases where there are one or more ties in value between one year and the next, a trend can only be established by two or more of the remaining transitions going in the same direction and having significant variance in the same direction from FY 2010-11 to FY 2014-15.
  • When there are exceptions, the trend value is based on whether the FY 2014-15 value is higher or lower than average of the five data points.

Dataset for 2015 Annual Performance Report

Here's a few years' of data for the 120-plus key performance indicators in this annual report.
Filter, sort and play with this data and more on Austin's Open Data Portal.