Government Operations:

Observations on the Department of Justice's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

GGD-99-111R: Published: Jul 20, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Justice's (DOJ) fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, which was submitted to Congress in response to the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on: (1) assessing the usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) identifying the degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) DOJ's FY 2000 performance plan provides a general picture of intended performance across DOJ, a general discussion of strategies and resources DOJ will use to achieve its goals, and general confidence that DOJ's performance information will be credible; (2) however, the plan did not identify mutually reinforcing goals and measures; (3) an illustration of intended performance is the Tax Division's use of the Internal Revenue Service's compliance rate measure of its success in reaching its goal to maximize deterrence and foster voluntary taxpayer compliance; (4) also, to ensure credible performance information, DOJ will be assessing data quality, consistency, and reliability, and collecting, verifying, and analyzing performance data; (5) however, a summary performance plan goal related to reducing white-collar crime is to confront the increase in health care fraud by successfully prosecuting and obtaining judgments against individuals and organizations that defraud federal health care programs; (6) the summary performance plan identifies three components--Federal Bureau of Investigation, Criminal Division, and the U.S. Attorney--that are responsible for achieving this goal; (7) the plan does not explain how the strategies of the components and agencies with roles in health care are mutually reinforcing nor does it establish common or complimentary performance indicators; (8) DOJ's FY 2000 performance plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan in that it indicates some degree of progress in addressing the weaknesses GAO identified in its assessment of the FY 1999 plan; (9) in reviewing the FY 1999 plan, GAO observed that the plan could be more useful if it: (a) clarified how major DOJ programs would contribute to achieving the performance goals; (b) better described how requested resources would produce the expected results; and (c) provided more specific information on plans to improve the accuracy and completeness of performance data; and (10) among improvements in the FY 2000 plan is the emphasis DOJ places on data integrity, including its requirement that components identify the data source for each performance indicator and discuss steps they will take to ensure data accuracy.

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