Results Act:

Observations on the Department of the Interior's Draft Strategic Plan

RCED-97-207R: Published: Jul 18, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the draft strategic plan submitted by the Department of Interior as required by the Government Performance and Results Act.

AGAO noted that: (1) while Interior has made progress in developing its draft strategic plan, the plan does not yet fulfill the Results Act's requirements; (2) in many cases, the pan does not include the six key elements required by the Results Act; (3) Interior's Department-wide strategic overview does contain the Department's overall mission and goals and refers to the subagency plans for information on the six required elements, but half of the eight subagency plans were incomplete and lacked two or more of the six required elements; (4) the overall quality of Interior's strategic plan is not yet sufficient to achieve the purposes of the Results Act; (5) the plan does not include clear linkages between the agencies' goals and objectives and the contributions of these goals and objectives to the Department's major goals or commitments; (6) Interior's draft strategic plan reflects a consideration of the key statutory authorities authorizing Interior's programs; (7) however, the Department-wide strategic overview and the subagency plans do not generally present clear linkages between the stated goals and objectives and Interior's relevant statutory responsibilities; (8) the Results Act does not require an agency's strategic plan to contain a statement of statutory authorities; (9) however, GAO believes that including such linkages may facilitate a better understanding of the diversity and complexity of Interior's overall mission, goals, and objectives; (10) a number of cross-cutting issues need to be addressed in Interior's draft strategic plan to prevent duplication and overlap; (11) GAO's past work at the Department has identified several examples indicating where improved coordination should have occurred; (12) while Interior has identified information management resource goals in its strategic plan, how it plans to achieve and measure the success of those goals is not clearly delineated; (13) Interior's draft strategic plan states that a key to the Results Act's implementation will be the availability of timely and reliable financial information that will permit decisionmakers to track progress and evaluate the results of Interior's programs; (14) to achieve this overall goal, Interior has identified specific goals of strengthening financial operations and resource management; and (15) in this light, Interior needs to continue to address certain accounting systems and internal control weaknesses that, if not fully corrected, could affect the reliability of program and performance information.

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