Managing for Results:

EPA's Efforts to Implement Needed Management Systems and Processes

T-RCED-97-116: Published: Apr 8, 1997. Publicly Released: Apr 8, 1997.

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Peter F. Guerrero
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GAO discussed the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) efforts to improve its methods of establishing priorities, allocating resources, and measuring performance, focusing on the status of EPA's efforts to: (1) establish an Office of Planning, Analysis, and Accountability to develop and implement an integrated planning, budgeting, and accountability system; and (2) ensure that the agency has comprehensive scientific and environmental data and appropriate environmental measures of progress in carrying out its strategic planning, budgeting, and accountability processes.

GAO noted that: (1) in March 1996, the EPA Administrator announced plans to create a new Office of Planning, Analysis, and Accountability; (2) the office was established in January 1997; (3) in the interim, an EPA work group composed of employees on temporary assignment started to develop the new planning, budgeting, and accountability system; (4) however, the work group was not fully staffed, and the development of the new system is still in the early stages; (5) the new Office of Planning, Analysis, and Accountability will not be fully staffed before July 1997; (6) EPA faces long-term challenges to obtain the scientific and environmental data needed to fully support its new system; (7) although much environmental information has already been collected, many gaps exist and the data are often difficult to compile because divergent data collection methods have been used; (8) likewise, much effort is still required to identify, develop, and agree on a comprehensive set of environmental measures to link the agency's activities to changes in environmental conditions; and (9) without environmental measures, EPA has to rely solely on administrative measures, such as the number of permits issued or inspections made, to measure its performance or success.

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