Results Act:

Observations on the Office of Personnel Management's Annual Performance Plan

GGD-98-130: Published: Jul 28, 1998. Publicly Released: Jul 28, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) annual performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 1999, focusing on whether OPM's plan complies with the statutory requirements and congressional intent as contained in the Government Performance and Results Act and related guidance.

GAO noted that: (1) OPM's annual performance plan addresses the six program components required by the Results Act; (2) the plan has several performance goals and measures listed under each of its five strategic goals as identified in OPM's September 1997 strategic plan; (3) some of these goals and measures are objective and quantifiable, providing a way to judge whether the goal has been achieved; (4) the plan also lays out, very well, a clear linkage between the FY 1999 performance goals and OPM's mission and strategic goals and also between its goals and its specific program activities and related funding as presented in its 1999 budget; (5) the principal area in which the performance plan could be improved to better meet the purposes of the Results Act is in the statement of its goals; (6) OPM's annual performance plan goals, like those in its strategic plan, tend to be process or activity goals; (7) the Results Act, in contrast, envisions a much greater emphasis on outcome goals that state what overall end result the agency will achieve, such as increasing the effectiveness of the federal civilian workforce; (8) Congress sought this emphasis to help ensure that processes and activities that agencies undertake actually add up to a meaningful result that is commensurate with the resources expended; and (9) OPM's annual performance plan could also be improved by including more discussion on how its resources will be used to achieve its goals and adding a discussion of known data limitations that may affect the validity of various performance measures that OPM plans to use.

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