Results Act:

EPA's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 1999

RCED-98-166R: Published: Apr 28, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 28, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) annual performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 1999, which was submitted to Congress in February 1998.

GAO noted that: (1) although certain performance goals could be better defined, EPA's plan generally sets measurable goals that can serve as a basis to evaluate the agency's performance for the fiscal year; (2) including more outcome goals in the plan, however, would better enable EPA to assess and report on how well it is achieving its strategic goals and mission; (3) the plan could more clearly link its performance goals to the measures that are to be used to assess whether they are achieved; (4) the plan could more comprehensively describe how EPA's performance goals have been coordinated with those of other federal agencies, such as the Departments of the Interior and Health and Human Services, that also have responsibilities for protecting human health and the environment; (5) EPA's performance plan could more fully discuss the strategies and resources to be used to achieve its performance goals; (6) EPA has combined the performance plan with its FY 1999 budget justification to Congress; (7) as a result, the plan provides considerable information on how the agency intends to achieve its goals; (8) however, the clarity and the completeness of the information is not consistent across all the plan's sections; (9) the plan's discussions of strategies could also be improved if they explicitly recognized the potential impact of key external factors, such as the states' environmental programs; (10) EPA has limited control or influence over such programs, even though they substantially affect its ability to achieve its performance goals; (11) EPA's performance plan could provide greater confidence that the agency's performance information will be credible; (12) the plan describes the procedures and methods the agency intends to use to verify and validate its performance information; and (13) these discussions generally identify the major sources of data that will be used to report on performance and the principal methods to verify and validate the data, such as peer review for research products and quality assurance procedures and quality control methods for computerized data systems.

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