Results Act:

Observations on CFTC's Annual Performance Plan

T-GGD-99-10: Published: Oct 8, 1998. Publicly Released: Oct 8, 1998.

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GAO discussed the Commodity Futures Trading Commission's (CFTC) fiscal year (FY) 2000 annual performance plan, focusing on five areas in which CFTC could improve its performance plan.

GAO noted that: (1) the annual performance plans can be an invaluable tool for making policy decisions, improving program management, enhancing accountability, and communicating to both internal and external audiences on how the long-term strategic directions outlined in strategic plans are translated into the day-to-day activities of managers and staff; (2) successful implementation of a performance-based management system, as envisioned by the Government Performance and Results Act, represents a significant challenge requiring sustained agency attention; (3) while opportunities exist to improve CFTC's Year 2000 performance plan, actions to date clearly show a good faith effort by CFTC to comply with the Results Act and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance in developing its plan; (4) in GAO's discussions with CFTC staff, it found CFTC fully committed to meeting both the requirements of the Act and congressional expectations that the plan inform Congress and the public about CFTC performance goals, including how the agency will accomplish these goals and measure results; (5) in addition, the areas in which CFTC could improve its plan are the same areas in which GAO found that many other federal agencies, including federal financial regulators, could improve their plans; and (6) specifically, CFTC could improve its plan in the following five areas: (a) performance goals, measures, and targets could provide a clearer picture of intended performance; (b) mission, goals, and activities could be better connected to more fully demonstrate how CFTC will chart annual progress toward achieving its long-term strategic goals; (c) crosscutting efforts could be addressed more fully if CFTC worked with the affected federal agencies to develop performance goals and measures that reflect the nature and extent of their common efforts; (d) strategies and resources used to achieve goals could be discussed in greater detail to better enable congressional and other decisionmakers to judge their reasonableness; and (e) the means for verifying and validating that performance information is sufficiently complete, accurate, and consistent as well as the extent to which such information and the means for collecting, maintaining, and analyzing it are reliable should be discussed.

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