Management of Census Activities

GGD-95-53R: Published: Dec 28, 1994. Publicly Released: Dec 28, 1994.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Bureau of the Census' management of: (1) research activities aimed at improving the Bureau's programs; and (2) surveys conducted for other federal agencies on a reimbursable basis. GAO noted that: (1) the Bureau's management of its research activities does not comply with requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA); (2) Bureau officials have not developed a clear vision for census research or a plan to link research to operational goals; (3) the Bureau's directorates tend to operate independently with little interaction which leads to research duplication; (4) the Bureau does not have a management information system to track research projects or an evaluation process to measure the impact of research on Bureau programs; (5) the Bureau plans to implement a strategic management process as required by GPRA to better direct and control its research efforts and use available funds more effectively; (6) the Bureau's research planning should be improved by its recent reorganization and its efforts to develop research projects with agencywide benefits; (7) since 1990, the Bureau's reimbursable survey work for other federal agencies has increased 37 percent; (8) the Bureau's major survey customers are very satisfied with the Bureau's work on their behalf, but the Bureau does not have sufficient staff to meet all their survey needs; (9) the Bureau has increased its reimbursable workload to maintain staff levels in the face of congressionally mandated budget cuts; and (10) the Bureau needs to determine the proper balance between its core and reimbursable work so that its core programs do not suffer.

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