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

HEHS-99-152R: Published: Jul 20, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, focusing on assessing the: (1) usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking purposes; and (2) degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) Labor's FY 2000 annual performance plan provides a generally clear picture of intended performance across the agency and provides a general discussion of strategies and resources the agency will use to achieve its goals; (2) however, the plan provides limited confidence that information on agency performance will be credible; (3) for example, Labor's plan identifies budgeted funding amounts for each of the three strategic goals and details the activities from the component offices that will help accomplish each of the strategic goals; (4) however, the lack of reliable and timely data across all of Labor's data systems raise concerns about its ability to accurately assess performance; (5) Labor's FY 2000 annual performance plan represents a moderate improvement over the FY 1999 plan, because Labor has made some progress in addressing the weaknesses GAO identified last year; (6) in reviewing the FY 1999 plan, GAO observed that it: (a) provided only a partial picture of intended performance across the agency; (b) partially portrayed how Labor's strategies and resources would help achieve its goals; and (c) did not provide sufficient confidence that the agency's performance information would be credible; (7) among improvements in the FY 2000 annual performance plan are modified performance goals that better focus on outcomes and elimination of other goals that could not be adequately measured; (8) a second improvement is a better linking of agency strategies to specific performance goals; (9) for example, for each strategy listed, Labor identified the specific performance goal to which it applied; (10) Labor added goals related to information technology; and (11) for example, one goal states that Labor will complete reviews of 70 percent of risk assessment and disaster recovery plans developed to ensure that its information systems are adequately protected, secure from tampering, reliable, and that security is well managed and documented.

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