GAO Mission and Operations:
Summary of GAO's Performance and Accountability Report Fiscal Year 2013
GAO-14-3SP: Published: Feb 21, 2014. Publicly Released: Feb 21, 2014.
This is GAO's summary of the Performance and Accountability Report for fiscal year 2013.
Mission: The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the Congress, exists to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We examine the use of public funds; evaluate federal programs and policies; and provide analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions.
Organization and Strategic Focus: To fulfill our mission, we organize and manage our resources to support four broad strategic goals. These include helping to address challenges to the well-being and financial security of the American people, responding to changing security threats and global interdependence, and transforming the federal government to address national challenges. Our fourth strategic goal is an internal goal focused on enhancing our value through improving efficiency, effectiveness, and quality, and institutional stewardship and resource management.
Human Capital: We maintain a workforce of highly trained professionals across a breadth of disciplines. In fiscal year 2013, about 71 percent of our 2,869 employees were based at our headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the rest were deployed in 11 field offices across the country.
Accomplishments: In fiscal year 2013, we met or exceeded 11 of our 16 annual performance targets by, for example, identifying $51.5 billion in financial benefits for the federal government--a return of about $100 for every dollar we spent--and 1,314 improvements in broad program and operational areas across the government. The rate at which our recommendations were implemented by federal agencies or the Congress was 79 percent, and nearly two-thirds (63 percent) of the products we issued contained recommendations. We did not meet our testimony target but testified at 114 hearings before the Congress on topics across our body of work, nearly a third of which were on areas considered at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. For people measures, we met or exceeded all but our new hire rate due in part to budget uncertainties.
Challenges: In fiscal year 2013, we continued to address two management challenges--human capital and engagement efficiency. In the area of human capital, we recruited for and filled critical positions, implemented a new performance management system, expanded our enhanced telework program, and negotiated a grievance/arbitration procedure for the administrative professional and support staff--a new bargaining unit added in fiscal year 2012. In the area of engagement efficiency, we continued to make significant progress to improve how we manage and conduct engagements, use our resources, and communicate the message of our work.
To help determine how well we are meeting the needs of the Congress and the nation and maximizing our value as a leading practices agency, we assess our performance annually using a balanced set of quantitative measures. Below are 9 of the 16 annual performance measures that highlight our performance in significant areas related to the implementation of our mission.
To establish targets for all of our performance measures, we examine our past performance and the external factors that could influence our work and discuss with our senior executives what could be accomplished in the upcoming fiscal year. We may adjust these targets after we publish our annual performance plan based on changes in planned work or level of funding.