NEWS RELEASE 07/31/08

GASB Issues a Request for Response on Proposed Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information

Norwalk, CT, July 31, 2008—The Governmental Accounting Standards Board (GASB) today issued a Request for Response on Suggested Guidelines for Voluntary Reporting of SEA Performance Information. The Request for Response was unanimously approved by the seven Board members.

The purpose of this document is to obtain feedback from constituents at an early stage of the Board's project to develop guidelines to assist state and local governments that voluntarily choose to report on their service efforts and accomplishments (SEA). The document can be downloaded free from www.gasb.org.

While it is beyond the scope of the GASB to establish the goals and objectives of state and local government services, to develop specific nonfinancial measures or indicators of service performance, or to set benchmarks for service performance, research has shown that many constituents consider it appropriate for the GASB to issue at this time conceptually based suggested guidelines for voluntary reporting of SEA performance information.

The reporting of SEA performance information provides more information about a government's efficiency and effectiveness in providing services to its citizens than can be provided by traditional financial statements, and is therefore an important method of demonstrating accountability and stewardship.

The Request for Response provides proposed suggested guidelines that can help state and local governments more effectively communicate SEA performance information to citizens, elected officials, and other interested parties. Constituents are invited to provide feedback on the suggested guidelines, which include what the GASB has identified as the four essential components of an effective SEA report and the six qualitative characteristics of SEA performance information.

The four components identified are: purpose and scope, major goals and objectives, key measures of SEA performance, and discussion and analysis of results and challenges. The six qualitative characteristics, as set forth in Concepts Statement No. 2, Service Efforts and Accomplishments Reporting, are relevance, understandability, comparability, timeliness, consistency, and reliability.

Constituents are encouraged to review the proposed guidelines and provide feedback to the GASB. The GASB is providing several methods of offering input:

  • Written comments can be submitted until October 31, 2008, through the mail or through filling out the Internet-based form at www.gasb.org/survey/cgi-bin/searptguide.html.
     
  • Alternatively, written comments can be emailed to director@gasb.org or mailed to the Director of Research and Technical Activities, Project No. 20-2, Governmental Accounting Standards Board, 401 Merritt 7, PO Box 5116, Norwalk, CT 06856-5116.
     
  • A public hearing will be held in conjunction with the National League of Cities' annual Congress of Cities & Exposition in Orlando, Florida, on November 14, 2008, beginning at 8:00 a.m. Individuals and organizations can participate in person or by telephone. The deadline for notifying the GASB of an intention to participate is October 31.
     
  • A user forum will be held on November 7, 2008, beginning at 2:00 p.m., in New York City. Participation in this forum is open to users of SEA performance information such as elected officials, legislative staff, citizen or citizen organizations, taxpayer associations, media representatives, and municipal analysts. Participation in the forum can either be in person or by telephone. The deadline for notifying the GASB of an intention to participate is October 31.  

About the Governmental Accounting Standards Board

The GASB is the independent, not-for-profit organization formed in 1984 that establishes and improves financial accounting and reporting standards for state and local governments. Its seven members are drawn from the Board's diverse constituency, including preparers and auditors of government financial statements, users of those statements, and members of the academic community. More information about the GASB can be found at its website.