Results Act:

DOE Can Improve Linkages Among Plans and Between Resources and Performance

RCED-98-94: Published: Apr 14, 1998. Publicly Released: Apr 30, 1998.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed certain aspects of the Department of Energy's (DOE) implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, focusing on the Department's strategic and annual planning.

GAO noted that: (1) subordinate strategic and multiyear plans prepared by DOE's programs, field offices, and contractors are not clearly linked to the goals, objectives, and strategies of the Department's strategic plan; (2) although DOE's Strategic Management System guidance provides a basic outline of the planning process, it does not provide clear directions on how these subordinate plans should be linked to DOE's strategic plan; (3) additionally, DOE formed its Strategic Management System around its business lines and its organizations are not aligned with the business lines; (4) for example, DOE has three main program offices--Defense Programs, Energy Research, and Environmental Management--whose work is done through various field organizations and management and operating contractors; (5) as a result, these different program offices and their supporting organizations often contribute to the fulfillment of the same business lines through a variety of different, complex, crosscutting relationships; (6) DOE, in its first annual performance plan under the Results Act, links the annual performance plan's goals and measures to those in the strategic plan; (7) DOE also provides a description of how budgetary resources are linked to its strategic goals; (8) however, the annual performance plan could be more useful if it described how the requested budgetary resources are linked to the annual performance goals in the plan; (9) in addition, DOE did not incorporate the approved performance goals and incentive fees in its performance-based management and operating contracts--accounting for 70 percent of DOE's obligations--until after the start of the current fiscal year and after the contractors had already begun their work; (10) the goals and incentive fees agreed to in these contracts are intended to guide and enhance the contractors' performance; and (11) not incorporating the goals and incentive fees until after the contractors begin work reduces the usefulness of performance-based contracting.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: By memo dated August 11, 1999, DOE's Chief Financial Officer notified the heads of program offices that they should develop their input for the next performance plan around decision units that fund their work. This structure is to create a direct link between the department's strategic goals and its budget.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Office of Strategic Planning, Budget and Program Evaluation to work with DOE's various programs to develop integrated management systems that directly link required budgetary resources to the level of performance that is identified in the annual performance plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: On April 20, 2000, DOE's Deputy Secretary issued a policy memo to all Heads of Departmental Elements that established several guidelines for the application of performance based management at DOE. Specifically, one guiding principle established that "Principal objectives, measures, and expectations will be established in partnership with affected organizations, employees/employees representatives, contractors, and other stakeholders. These objectives will link with and support the strategic, mutli-year, and annual goals of the parent organizations up to and including the Department."

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Office of Strategic Planning, Budget and Program Evaluation to review DOE's requirements for subordinate strategic and multiyear plans and modify or eliminate those requirements that produce superfluous strategic multiyear plans.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: According to information provided by DOE's Office of Strategic Planning and Program Evaluation, on July 27, 1999, the Department issued guidance that directs the incorporation of subordinate strategic and multiyear plans into the its strategic plan.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should direct the Office of Strategic Planning, Budget and Program Evaluation to develop specific procedures that state how subordinate strategic and multiyear plans are to relate to the departmental strategic plan. In developing these procedures, the office should consider whether the goals and objectives of the subordinate plans should be linked to the departmental strategic goals, objectives, or strategies.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In commenting on the report, DOE told GAO that it constantly seeks opportunities to better manage its complex and diverse organization. On April 21, 1999, DOE announced changes to its management and organizational structure. Among other changes, the Department's major operations and field offices now report directly to one of its major program offices. In addition, on August 6, 1999, the Department published a new organization chart showing its offices by its strategic plan business lines.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should review the Department's organizational structure and seek opportunities to better align the organization with its strategic plan's business lines.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: During fiscal year 1998, DOE established procedures that are intended to get the incentives approved by the beginning of fiscal year 1999. According to DOE's office of procurement, 26 of the 29 contracts had their performance measures incorporated prior to the start of the fiscal year. In addition, the Department reports that it is on target to incorporate the measures into the fiscal year 2000 contracts prior to the start of that fiscal year.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Energy should modify the agency's contracting process to ensure adequate time is available to incorporate performance goals and fees in contracts for the start of the FYs work.

    Agency Affected: Department of Energy

 

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