Managing for Results:

Continuing Challenges to Effective GPRA Implementation

T-GGD-00-178: Published: Jul 20, 2000. Publicly Released: Jul 20, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993, focusing on: (1) how the present phase of GPRA implementation will assist Congressional oversight and decisionmaking; and (2) the steps needed to maximize the usefulness of GPRA for Congress and the executive branch.

GAO noted that: (1) GPRA holds great promise in helping Congress and the executive branch ensure that the federal government provides the results that the American people expect and deserve; (2) concerted and continuing congressional oversight is key to addressing the federal government's persistent performance, management, and accountability problems; (3) in recent testimonies, the Comptroller General has suggested that the significant performance problems in federal programs and agencies can be organized around four broad themes: (a) reassessing what the federal government does and how it does it; (b) reexamining and redefining the beneficiaries of federal programs; (c) improving economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of federal operations; and (d) attacking activities at risk of fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement; (4) GPRA's concepts, practices, and products provide tools that Congress can use to help its decisionmaking and strengthen its oversight, thereby helping to resolve these issues; (5) Congress can have a central role in building GPRA into the congressional oversight process; (6) House Rule X requires standing committees of the House to provide oversight plans to the Committee on Government Reform; (7) these oversight plans are then published by the Committee along with its recommendations for ensuring the most effective coordination of such plans; (8) the new information now available from agencies' first annual performance reports, along with information being developed under other management reforms such as the Chief Financial Officers Act, can provide new opportunities for congressional oversight that House committees can consider as they develop their oversight plans; (9) a second opportunity is to look across House committees and lead the development of integrated oversight agenda that target areas of congressional emphasis; (10) specifically, information from annual performance report, by focusing on the results to be achieved, should suggest program areas and agencies that cut across individual committee jurisdictions, and that would benefit from more coordinated oversight; (11) the House Government Reform Committee could play a central role in coordinating oversight hearings related to how different governing tools will be, or can be, used in achieving goals; and (12) such oversight could assist in the development of a base of governmentwide information on the strengths and weaknesses of various tools used to address differing public policy issues.

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