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DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program

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Performance Measures

Performance Reporting at BJA

The Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) is required to set clear program goals and collect performance measures data to demonstrate achievement of those goals. All recipients of BJA funding are required to collect and report performance data that demonstrate the results of funded activities. For more information regarding BJA’s performance measures, including performance management and reporting, visit BJA's Performance Measures webpage.

CEBR Performance Reporting

Program-specific information regarding performance reporting, as well as program fact sheets, frequently asked questions, and a complete list of the performance measures collected for the DNA Capacity Enhancement for Backlog Reduction (CEBR) Program, can be found in the CEBR section of the Performance Measures webpage.

CEBR performance measures capture the outcomes and impact of the grant activities and are collected on a semi-annual basis from each CEBR program grantee. While performance measures are not the only way to evaluate a laboratory, these measures allow BJA to assess the performance of a grantee, in terms of turnaround time and backlog, by comparing their performance over time and in comparison with other grantees in the CEBR program. For example, by collecting the baseline turnaround time and backlog measures for each grantee at the beginning of their award period, BJA can assess where each grantee falls with respect to other grantees in the program. Furthermore, BJA can estimate the amount of time it will take the grantee to address their backlogs if their current conditions remain the same.

Below is a summary table of performance measure data obtained in 2023 from active grantees of the FY21 CEBR program. This “snapshot” of data can help BJA, grantee laboratories, and the public better understand how accredited DNA laboratories are currently functioning in the United States. Many factors may impact the reported performance measures in a given reporting period, including, but not limited to, staffing, precautions taken due to COVID-19, supply-chain delays, number of testing requests received by the laboratory, implementation of new DNA technology, financial resources available to the agency, and accreditation standards. As such, performance measures reported by a single laboratory are likely to change from reporting period to reporting period. Therefore, the primary value in reviewing the measures is to better understand how CEBR grantees, as a whole, are performing at this time.

FY21 CEBR Grantee Turnaround Time (TAT) Range (days)

% of FY21 CEBR Grantees TAT at that Range or Faster

FY21 CEBR Grantee Ratio of Backlog to Cases Completed per Month

% of FY21 CEBR Grantees Ratio at that Range or Smaller













































NOTE: In an effort to normalize the reported backlogs of grantees in the CEBR program, a ratio is calculated using the total backlog divided by the average number of cases completed per month. This ratio can help better compare the operation of laboratories of different sizes (e.g., larger laboratories likely have larger backlogs simply due to their service area, but are also more likely to be able to complete more cases per month than a smaller laboratory). Larger ratios generally indicate laboratories that face more challenges in reducing their backlogs.

Performance Metrics Guidance

Frequently Asked Questions

While many agencies have their own definitions of backlog, for the purposes of this solicitation, any forensic biology/DNA case that has not been completed within 30 days of receipt in the laboratory is considered backlogged. Similarly, a DNA database sample that has not been uploaded to the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS) within 30 days of receipt in the laboratory is considered backlogged.

Yes, the number of casework forensic biology/DNA cases is referring to ALL cases that are currently backlogged at the laboratory. This does not include database samples.

Casework samples are forensic samples collected from crime scenes to be tested, analyzed, and included in CODIS, if eligible. Database samples are those collected under applicable legal authority to be included in CODIS, such as samples collected from a person who has been arrested for or convicted of a crime.

If there is no grant activity during the reporting period, an explanation of why there was no grant activity IS required. If there is no grant activity, supporting documentation is NOT required. Supporting documentation is only required when you are using grant funds and reporting the respective performance metrics.

Narrative questions are to be submitted on a semi-annual reporting period—the first in January and the second in July. These questions should summarize the activities completed under the award and progress made in achieving the goals and objectives of the project proposal.

Total cases completed refers to the total number of forensic biology/DNA cases completed by the laboratory, independent of funding source. CEBR cases completed refers to the total number of forensic biology/DNA cases completed using CEBR funds for overtime, personnel (e.g., salaries), supplies, and outsourcing.

PMT Reports alone are not considered adequate supporting documentation. In addition to the PDF version of the PMT report, grantees are expected to upload the following documents to JustGrants:

  1. A Summary Document that maps a metric question to a file within which a BJA reviewer may find the supporting documentation for that metric. Summary narratives should include a description of how supporting documentation is used to arrive at the numbers provided in the BJA PMT.
  2. Object evidence (e.g., Laboratory Information Management System [LIMS] report, Excel file) that was used to obtain the data for how each performance metric was reported. Title files according to the metric question number:
    • In the image example below, they are labeled by CW or DB and by metric number.
    • Alternatively, some grantees provide a separate tab for casework and databasing metrics.
    • When verifying a performance metric (when using LIMS especially) for CODIS hits where “QTY” shows, have an additional source verify the number of hits received for that reporting period.
    • Aggregate the numeric value in the data source submitted when a screenshot is provided of cases analyzed, CODIS uploads, or CODIS hits.

Within supporting documentation, make sure the total numbers (i.e., the number you reported for metrics in BJA PMT) are clearly labeled according to the metric in question.

Remember that anything submitted to BJA can be released in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request.

Example of CEBR performance report submissions
Date Modified: February 8, 2024
Date Created: January 27, 2023