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Performance Partnership Agreements

Performance Partnership Agreements

One of the main ways that EPA and individual states implement the principles of performance partnerships on the ground is by negotiating Performance Partnership Agreements (PPAs).

Joint strategic planning is fundamental to building effective partnerships. In 2003, a work group of state and EPA senior leaders agreed to reforms designed to give all states and EPA earlier and more meaningful opportunities to plan and set priorities together.

Plans should have a strong underpinning of strategic thinking based on:

PPAs should reflect the jointly developed goals and priorities and translate them into plans at the operational level.

Joint planning opportunities exist for all states, even states that do not negotiate formal PPAs with their EPA regions. In these cases, the results are articulated in grant work plans or other agreements.

Elements of Effective PPAs

The work group also defined the elements of effective PPAs. They are:

Incorporating these key elements still allows for a wide range of PPAs.

A fundamental concept underlying performance partnerships is that each state is different. Each EPA-state partnership negotiation takes into account the particular capacities, needs, and interests of that state.

However, the longer-term goal is to improve the quality and value of PPAs over time so they become the most effective mechanism through which EPA and states can explain jointly-developed goals and priorities and how they will work together to achieve environmental results.

The planning reforms and PPA improvements are explained in more detail in national performance partnership guidance and described as part of EPA's national planning process.

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Scope and Content of PPAs

The scope and contents of PPAs varies. Individual PPAs can range from general statement about how the state and EPA will work together as partners (perhaps identifying joint priorities that will be addressed) to comprehensive, multi-program documents that detail each party's roles and responsibilities.

Some PPAs meet relevant statutory and regulatory requirements and also serve as the work plans for Performance Partnership Grants (PPGs) or other EPA grants. In a few cases, the PPA contains a more general discussion of the working relationship between EPA and the state rather than a discussion of priorities and programs.

EPA regions reported on the topics and program areas covered in the 31 state environmental agency PPAs that were in place in 2004. Of these PPAs, 23 also serve as the work plan for PPGs or other grants.

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