Big policy announcements tend to dominate election campaigns. Details on how they are to be implemented do not. Recent polling by the Institute for Government shows this undermines public confidence.

In the US, one politician who has gained a reputation for taking delivery seriously even on the campaign trail is Governor Martin O’Malley of Maryland. He has staked his reputation on his ability to pursue relentlessly his policy priorities in office by making government more effective. His use of the CitiStat initiative when Mayor of Baltimore and the StateStat initiative as Governor has put Maryland at the forefront of a growing move towards more open government and data-driven performance management.

This report – based on our observations during a recent visit to Maryland – looks at the evolution of the ‘Stat’ model in Maryland, how and why it works, and the challenges involved. As O’Malley’s administration comes to an end, we also offer a reflection on how governments can approach the task of inheriting an existing performance management system.