Results Act:

Observations on the Office of Personnel Management's Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Performance Plan

GGD-99-125: Published: Jul 30, 1999. Publicly Released: Jul 30, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) fiscal year (FY) 2000 annual performance plan.

GAO noted that: (1) past work done by others and GAO has documented poor workforce planning in federal agencies that can hinder their movement toward performance-based management; (2) major human capital challenges are also emerging, such as the aging of the federal workforce, skills imbalances that arose during downsizing, and a highly competitive market for the kinds of talented employees federal agencies need to meet modern demands for efficient and effective services; (3) because OPM is the central management agency responsible for assisting the President and agencies in managing the workforce, OPM's leadership will be critical to addressing the government's human capital challenges; (4) OPM's FY 2000 annual performance plan provides a general picture of intended performance across the agency; (5) GAO found that the plan's performance goals address OPM's major programs and priorities; (6) however, OPM's plan could have been more useful to decisionmakers in some areas, if it contained cost-based performance measures to show how efficiently OPM performs certain operations and activities, such as processing civil service retirement payments; (7) OPM's annual performance plan includes a general discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals; (8) for each of its goals, the plan discusses a strategy for achieving that goal; (9) for example, the plan discusses OPM's strategy to enhance its information security program by conducting internal and external evaluations of its systems; (10) OPM's FY 2000 annual performance plan provides a fuller discussion of its performance information than its FY 1999 annual performance plan but overall provides limited confidence that agency performance information will be credible; (11) although the plan discusses OPM's verification and validation of its performance measures, the discussion does not always provide assurance that the methods used will be reliable; (12) the plan proposes using survey results of a sample of human resources specialists as a key element in its measurement program, but the survey received only a 29 percent response rate; (13) in general, the lower the response rates the larger the uncertainty about the reliability and validity of the survey results; and (14) overall, OPM's FY 2000 annual performance plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan in that it addresses a number of weaknesses that GAO identified in its assessment of the FY 1999 plan.

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