The Results Act:

Observations on the Department of State's Fiscal Year 1999 Annual Performance Plan

NSIAD-98-210R: Published: Jun 17, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 19, 1998.

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Benjamin F. Nelson
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of State's annual performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 1999, focusing on: (1) how well State's performance plan provides a clear picture of intended performance across the agency; (2) how well State's performance plan discusses the strategies and resources it will use to achieve its performance goals; and (3) the extent to which State's performance plan provides confidence that its performance information will be credible.

GAO noted that: (1) State's FY 1999 annual performance plan generally falls short of meeting the Government Performance and Results Act's requirements; (2) specifically, State's plan does not clearly describe the agency's intended performance, the strategies and resources that will be used to achieve the performance goals, or how it will ensure credibility of the information used to assess agency performance; (3) State's plan does not provide a clear picture of the agency's intended performance; (4) many of the goals are broadly stated and extend beyond State's span of control so that assessing results would be difficult; (5) the plan is also unclear as to how State will coordinate with other federal agencies or how related activities of other agencies will contribute to State's performance goal; (6) the plan does not provide enough information to link State's activities identified in the President's budget with specific performance goals; (7) State's plan does not clearly describe how strategies and resources will help achieve the performance goals; (8) the plan does not provide sufficient information on the strategies and external factors associated with achieving State's performance goals; (9) the plan provides little information on the resources required to achieve specific performance goals; (10) State's performance plan does not provide sufficient confidence that the agency's performance information will be credible; and (11) specifically, the plan does not: (a) discuss how State will verify and validate information used to assess its performance; (b) address how known deficiencies in State's financial and accounting, and information management systems will impact performance measurement; and (c) identify any significant data limitations that may affect the achievement of State's goals.

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