Office of Personnel Management:

Better Performance Information Needed

GGD-90-44: Published: Feb 7, 1990. Publicly Released: Feb 7, 1990.

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GAO assessed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) use of performance measures and standards to manage its service delivery to individuals seeking federal employment and federal employees, retirees, and dependents.

GAO found that OPM: (1) used both qualitative and quantitative performance measures and standards; (2) had not identified all performance measures suggested by the Federal Productivity and Quality Improvement Program; (3) had not established a full range of performance measures and standards for efficiency or customer satisfaction; (4) had no measure or standards for health benefits claims processing; (5) did not routinely and systematically track performance in key areas; (6) did not ensure that adequate performance information reached top management; and (7) did not hold Senior Executive Service managers accountable for meeting performance goals.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: An examination of the OPM new planning and budgeting system showed that, for the large part, measures and standards have been developed for key services. The system is dynamic and will change as key services change, thus it is expected that some measures will be in development at all times.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should establish a more comprehensive and strategic approach to the development and use of performance measures and standards. Such an approach would require determining who OPM customers are, deciding which services provided to those customers should be routinely tracked at the directorate level, and developing the measures and standards needed to assess performance in those services. In following this approach, OPM needs to consider the cost of developing measures and whether precise, quantitative measures are needed in all areas. Further, consideration should be given to the need to have information on various services and outputs, not just the 24 identified in this report.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM, in response to the GAO report, established and implemented a quarterly performance standards report requirement for each program area.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should establish a more comprehensive and strategic approach to the development and use of performance measures and standards. Such an approach would require developing a flexible performance reporting system for the directorate level that will highlight areas needing attention. Such a reporting system should ensure that the director is routinely made aware of performance in all areas of importance to good management of operations and customer service. Further, the reporting system need not report all performance dimensions of all key services on a frequent basis, but should be tailored to the current needs of top management at any point in time.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM, in response to the GAO report, established a new Planning and Budgeting System. The system requires establishing organizational performance goals (quality, timeliness, efficiency, and customer satisfaction), identifying certain goals as priority, and including these in SES managers' workplans.

    Recommendation: The Director, OPM, should establish a more comprehensive and strategic approach to the development and use of performance measure and standards. Such an approach would require making greater use of organizational performance information in holding Senior Executive Service (SES) and general managements accountable by specifying, in their annual workplans, specific key services and their performance expectations.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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