Results Act:

Observations on the General Services Administration's Annual Performance Plan

GGD-98-110: Published: May 11, 1998. Publicly Released: May 11, 1998.

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GAO reviewed the General Services Administration's (GSA) fiscal year (FY) 1999 annual performance plan, which was submitted to Congress as required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

GAO noted that: (1) GSA's performance plan has several performance goals for each of its strategic goals; (2) some of its performance goals and measures are objective and quantified and provide a way to compare actual to planned performance; (3) in addition, the plan contains some goals and measures that involve comparisons of GSA and the private sector; (4) however, for the most part, the plan falls short of meeting the criteria set forth in the Results Act and related guidance; (5) it does not adequately provide a clear picture of expected performance across the agency because: (a) like the goals in its strategic plan, many performance goals, and related measures, are not quantifiable or results oriented; (b) performance plan goals are not always linked to the specific program activities and funding in its budget; and (c) also like the strategic plan, the performance plan does not discuss GSA's coordination efforts for many crosscutting activities; (6) GAO also found that the performance plan generally does not have an explicit discussion of the strategies and resources that will be needed to achieve goals or the external factors that will affect accomplishment of the goals; and (7) although the plan includes a discussion of how GSA plans to verify performance data that provides partial confidence that performance information will be credible, it does not discuss the actions GSA has taken or will take to address known data limitations.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In assessing GSA's FY 2000 performance plan, GAO pointed out that the plan provided a more detailed discussion of strategies but did not sufficiently discuss budget resources to accomplish the goals.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should take steps to ensure that GSA's FY 2000 performance plan: (1) conforms with the criteria in the Results Act and related OMB guidance; and (2) gives decisionmakers a better framework for gauging GSA's performance. Specifically, in developing the next plan, the Administrator should take steps to discuss GSA's strategies to be used and resources needed to achieve its performance goals and their intended results, as well as external factors that could affect its overall performance.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In assessing GSA's FY 2000 performance plan, GAO pointed out that GSA had improved in this area.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should take steps to ensure that GSA's FY 2000 performance plan: (1) conforms with the criteria in the Results Act and related OMB guidance; and (2) gives decisionmakers a better framework for gauging GSA's performance. Specifically, in developing the next plan, the Administrator should take steps to explain how GSA has coordinated its crosscutting functions with the federal community.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA's FY 2000 plan did not do a good job of implementing this recommendation and this was pointed out in GAO's assessment of the plan.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should take steps to ensure that GSA's FY 2000 performance plan: (1) conforms with the criteria in the Results Act and related OMB guidance; and (2) gives decisionmakers a better framework for gauging GSA's performance. Specifically, in developing the next plan, the Administrator should take steps to clarify how GSA's performance goals link to specific program activities in GSA's budget.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GSA's FY 2000,plan was much improved and had more quantifiable and results oriented goals.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should take steps to ensure that GSA's FY 2000 performance plan: (1) conforms with the criteria in the Results Act and related Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance; and (2) gives decisionmakers a better framework for gauging GSA's performance. Specifically, in developing the next plan, the Administrator should take steps to refine GSA's performance goals to make them more quantifiable and results oriented.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: In assessing GSA's FY 2000 performance plan, GAO pointed out that the plan did not adequately describe GSA's efforts to verify and validate performance data.

    Recommendation: The Administrator, GSA, should take steps to ensure that GSA's FY 2000 performance plan: (1) conforms with the criteria in the Results Act and related OMB guidance; and (2) gives decisionmakers a better framework for gauging GSA's performance. Specifically, in developing the next plan, the Administrator should take steps to discuss specific controls for verifying and validating data used to measure performance, recognize existing data limitations, and explain GSA efforts to overcome those limitations.

    Agency Affected: General Services Administration

 

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