Results Act:

Observations on the Energy Information Administration's September 1997 Strategic Plan

RCED-98-66R: Published: Jan 27, 1998. Publicly Released: Jan 27, 1998.

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GAO reviewed the Energy Information Administration's (EIA) strategic plan under the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on whether: (1) it fulfills the requirements of the Results Act and the Office of Management and Budget's Circular A-11, and provide GAO's views on its overall quality; (2) key statutory authorities are reflected in the plan; and (3) it reflects interagency coordination for crosscutting programs, activities, or functions that are similar or complementary to those of other federal agencies.

GAO noted that: (1) overall, the strategic plan does not meet all the requirements of the Results Act; (2) EIA's strategic plan includes only three of the six elements required by the Results Act--a mission statement, strategic goals and objectives, and an explanation of external factors--and is missing the other three elements--descriptions of strategies, the relationships between annual performance goals and strategic goals and objectives, and the use of program evaluations; (3) without all of the six elements, GAO could not assess the overall plan because the elements required for the plan are interdependent; (4) while the Results Act does not preclude agencies from developing goals that are process-oriented, it is important that the goals and objectives focus on how the agency is carrying out its mission, relate to outcomes, and cover the major functions and operations of the agency; (5) while GAO agreed that all five of EIA's strategic goals are important, two of them--the achievement of a diverse workforce and a performance-driven organization--would not necessarily help fulfill EIA's mission of providing high-quality, policy-independent energy information; (6) also, many of EIA's goals, objectives, and measures are not focused on outcomes; (7) the Results Act does not require agencies' strategic plans to contain a statement of statutory authority; (8) the plan does state EIA's charge under the agency's enabling legislation, but it does not include specific references to the agency's major statutory authorities, nor does it expressly link the mission, goals, and objectives with the relevant major statutory responsibilities; (9) GAO believes that including such linkages may permit a better understanding of the diversity and complexity of EIA's overall mission and goals and objectives; and (10) EIA's plan does not reflect whether it was shared with other federal agencies for coordination, nor does the plan identify programs, activities, or functions that may be similar or complementary to those of other federal agencies.

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