A Systematic Management Approach Is Needed for Congressional Reporting Requirements

PAD-82-12: Published: Nov 25, 1981. Publicly Released: Nov 25, 1981.

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GAO identified problems in the way congressional reporting requirements are presently being managed which affect the timeliness and usefulness of the information Congress receives in support of its legislative, oversight, and budgetary functions.

Improvements are needed within all branches of the federal government, including Congress. Congressional reporting requirements are not being managed in a way that achieves the objectives for which they were created. They are managed by several organizations acting independently, with little or no coordination among them. As a result, performance of tasks overlaps, and functional and informational gaps exist. At present, there is no comprehensive monitoring system for the reporting requirements. As a result, there is no way of ensuring that the agencies meet the requirements adequately, submit reports when they are due, or disclose that reports are late. The most serious flaws are that: the receipt of reports by Congress is not adequately recorded, delinquent reporting is not followed up, and the distribution and use of report documents are not monitored or evaluated. GAO believes that Congress, the federal agencies, and the Executive Office should consider: (1) the development of a uniform policy and guidance for the congressional groups with principal functional responsibility for meeting the reporting requirements; (2) streamlining the identification and inventory tasks; (3) creating an adequate monitoring system; (4) reducing late executive agency responses to reporting requirements; and (5) improving the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

Matter for Congressional Consideration

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Assignment Review Group has decided that GAO should no longer be involved in maintaining the Congressional Information, Sources, Inventories and Directories database. The database is essential to followup on this recommendation.

    Matter: Congress should take the following actions: (1) develop uniform policy and guidance for the congressional groups with principal functional responsibility, i.e., Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (2) streamline the identification and inventory tasks of the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (3) implement an adequate monitoring system for the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (4) reduce executive agency lateness in responding to the reporting requirements of Congress; and (5) improve the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Assignment Group has decided that GAO should no longer be involved in maintaining the Congressional Information, Sources, Inventories and Directories database. The database is essential to followup on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Executive Office should take the following actions: (1) develop uniform policy and guidance for the congressional groups with principal functional responsibility, i.e., Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (2) streamline the identification and inventory tasks of the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (3) implement an adequate monitoring system for the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (4) reduce executive agency lateness in responding to the reporting requirements of Congress; and (5) improve the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President

  2. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Assignment Review Group has decided that GAO should no longer be involved in maintaining the Congressional Information, Sources, Inventories and Directories database. The database is essential to follow-up on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The congressional support agencies should take the following actions: (1) develop uniform policy and guidance for congressional groups with principal functional responsibility, i.e., Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (2) streamline the identification and inventory tasks of the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (3) implement an adequate monitoring system for the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (4) reduce executive agency lateness in responding to reporting requirements of Congress; and (5) improve the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

    Agency Affected: General Accounting Office

  3. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Assignment Review Group has decided that GAO should no longer be involved in maintaining the Congressional Information, Sources, Inventories and Directories database. The database is essential to followup on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The congressional support agencies should take the following actions: (1) develop uniform policy and guidance for congressional groups with principal functional responsibility, i.e., Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (2) streamline the identification and inventory tasks of the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (3) implement an adequate monitoring system for the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (4) reduce executive agency lateness in responding to reporting requirements of Congress; and (5) improve the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

    Agency Affected: Government Publishing Office

  4. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Assignment Review Group has decided that GAO should no longer be involved in maintaining the Congressional Information, Sources, Inventories and Directories database. The database is essential to followup on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The congressional support agencies should take the following actions: (1) develop uniform policy and guidance for congressional groups with principal functional responsibility, i.e., Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (2) streamline the identification and inventory tasks of the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (3) implement an adequate monitoring system for the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (4) reduce executive agency lateness in responding to reporting requirements of Congress; and (5) improve the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

    Agency Affected: Office of Technology Assessment

  5. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Assignment Review Group has decided that GAO should no longer be involved in maintaining the Congressional Information, Sources, Inventories and Directories database. The database is essential to followup on this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The congressional support agencies should take the following actions: (1) develop uniform policy and guidance for congressional groups with principal functional responsibility, i.e., Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (2) streamline the identification and inventory tasks of the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (3) implement an adequate monitoring system for the Clerk of the House, Secretary of the Senate, and GAO; (4) reduce executive agency lateness in responding to reporting requirements of Congress; and (5) improve the ability of Congress to relate each report it receives to the policy and program issues that the reporting requirements are designed to address.

    Agency Affected: Congressional Budget Office

 

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