Government Operations:

Observations on the Small Business Administration's Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Performance Plan

RCED-99-211R: Published: Jul 20, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Small Business Administration's (SBA) fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, focusing on: (1) assessing the usefulness of the agency's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) identifying the degree of improvement the agency's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) SBA's FY 2000 annual performance plan provides a general picture of intended performance across the agency; (2) for example, the plan's 13 performance goals are objective and measurable through the plan's 55 performance measures, all of which have targeted levels of performance for FY 2000; (3) at the same time, the plan is limited in its discussion of the strategies and the resources that SBA will use to achieve its goals; (4) for example, the plan states that during FY 2000, SBA will spend $3 million to train its staff in the skills needed to meet its current programs and responsibilities; (5) however, the plan does not discuss the types of human resource skills that are needed to achieve the FY 2000 performance goals or the types of training to be provided to ensure that staff have those skills; (6) also, the plan is limited in the degree of confidence that it provides that SBA's performance data will be credible; (7) for example, means identified in the plan to validate performance data are typically one or two word descriptors; (8) SBA's FY 2000 plan has made little, if any, improvement over its FY 1999 plan; (9) SBA improved its FY 2000 performance plan by reducing the number of performance measures from over 100 in the FY 1999 plan to 55 and by establishing targeted levels of performance for FY 2000 for each performance measure; (10) SBA's FY 2000 performance plan provides limited confidence that the agency's performance information will be credible; and (11) the plan does not describe how SBA will specifically verify and validate its performance data.

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