Survey of Performance and Management at the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)

U.S. Government Accountability Office

Introduction

  The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), the evaluation arm of Congress, is studying the use of performance information at FDA as part of a Congressional request. As part of this study, we are surveying a random sample of mid- and upper-level federal employees at FDA. This survey is designed to obtain information on your experiences and perceptions with regard to performance management and related challenges.

This survey is based on similar surveys that we administered in 1996, 1999, 2003, and 2007. Most of the questions in this survey can be answered by checking boxes or filling in blanks. The survey should take no more than 20-25 minutes to complete.

We urge you to complete this survey. We cannot develop meaningful information without your frank and honest answers.

To learn more about completing the survey, printing your responses, and who to contact if you have questions, click here for help.

Thank you in advance for your assistance in taking part in our survey.
 
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Background Information

1.  What is your current grade level?

 
 
 
 
 
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  If you answered "Other" above, please specify your grade level.
 
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2.  In total, for how many years have you been a supervisor and/or
a manager at FDA?
(Please specify the total number of years, rounding up to the nearest year.)
 
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  Total number of years as a supervisor and/or
a manager at FDA. (Enter number.)
 
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  If you have never been a supervisor or a
manager at FDA, click on the box below.
 
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3.  In your current role, approximately how many FDA employees and contractors are you
responsible for?
(Please answer for your permanent position. Please specify the total number. If none, enter 0.)

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  Number of FDA employees . . .
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  Number of contractors . . . . . . .
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4.  Where do you work? (If you are currently on temporary assignment or on detail,
please answer for your permanent work location.)


 
 
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5.  For which FDA Center or Office do you work?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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  If you answered "Other" above, please specify your FDA Center or Office.
 
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FDA's Strategic Goals

  For the following questions, please interpret "performance measures" in the broadest sense.
 
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6.  For those program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with, to what extent, if at all,
do you consider FDA's strategic goals when participating in the following activities?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
6a.  Setting program priorities
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6b.  Allocating resources
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6c.  Adopting new program approaches or changing work processes
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6d.  Developing or refining program performance measures
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7.  For those program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with, to what extent, if at all, do you consider goals from the following FDA plans or initiatives when making management decisions such as setting priorities or allocating resources?
(Select one answer in each row. If you are not aware of a plan or initiative, please select "No basis to judge/Not applicable.")

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
7a.  Food Protection Plan
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7b.  Critical Path Initiative
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7c.  ORA Revitalization Plan
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7d.  Other - Please specify below.
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  If you answered "Other" above, please specify other FDA plans or initiatives you consider when making management decisions.
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Performance Measurement

8.  Are there performance measures for the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with?
 
  (Click here to skip to question 14)
  (Click here to skip to question 14)
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9.  To what extent, if at all, do you agree with the following statements as they relate to
performance measures for the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
9a.  We have performance measures that tell us how many things we produce or services we provide. (Output measures)
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9b.  We have performance measures that tell us if we are operating efficiently. (Efficiency measures)
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9c.  We have performance measures that tell us whether or not we are satisfying our customers. (Customer service measures)
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9d.  We have performance measures that tell us about the quality of the products or services we provide. (Quality measures)
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9e.  We have performance measures that would demonstrate to someone outside of our agency whether or not we are achieving our intended results. (Outcome measures)
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9f.  We have performance measures that link our product or service costs with the results we achieve. (Cost-benefit measures)
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Performance Measurement (Continued)

10.  For those program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with, to what extent, if at all, do you use the information obtained from performance measurement when participating in the following activities?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
10a.  Developing program strategy
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10b.  Setting program priorities
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10c.  Allocating resources
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10d.  Identifying program problems to be addressed
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10e.  Taking corrective action to solve program problems
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10f.  Adopting new program approaches or changing work processes
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10g.  Coordinating program efforts with other internal or external organizations
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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
10h.  Refining program performance measures
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10i.  Setting new or revising existing performance goals
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10j.  Setting individual job expectations for the government employees I manage or supervise
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10k.  Rewarding government employees I manage or supervise
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10l.  Developing and managing contracts
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10m.  Identifying and sharing effective program approaches with others
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11.  Please provide an example of how you use performance information.

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12.  Over the past several years, for those program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with, has managers' use of performance information at FDA increased, decreased or remained about the same?

Managers' use of performance information at FDA has ...

 
 
 
 
 
 
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Performance Measurement (Continued)

13.  Based on your experience with the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with, to what extent, if at all, have the following factors hindered measuring performance or using the performance information?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
13a.  Difficulty determining meaningful measures
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13b.  Different parties are using different definitions to measure performance
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13c.  Difficulty obtaining valid or reliable data
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13d.  Difficulty obtaining data in time to be useful
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13e.  Lack of incentives (e.g., rewards, positive recognition)
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13f.  Difficulty resolving conflicting interests of stakeholders, either internal or external
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13g.  Difficulty distinguishing between the results produced by the program and results caused by other factors
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13h.  Existing information technology and/or systems not capable of providing needed data
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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
13i.  Lack of staff who are knowledgeable about gathering and/or analyzing performance information
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13j.  Lack of ongoing top executive commitment or support for using performance information to make program/funding decisions
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13k.  Lack of ongoing Congressional commitment or support for using performance information to make program/funding decisions
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13l.  Difficulty determining how to use performance information to improve the program
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13m.  Concern that OMB will micromanage programs in my agency
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13n.  Other - Please specify below.
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  If you answered "Other" above, please specify other factors that hindered measuring performance or using the performance information?
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Agency Climate

14.  To what extent, if at all, do you agree with the following statements?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
14a.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level have the decision making authority they need to help FDA accomplish its strategic goals.
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14b.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level are held accountable for the accomplishment of FDA's strategic goals.
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14c.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level are held accountable for the results of the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) they are responsible for.
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14d.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level use performance information to recognize employees for their performance.
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14e.  Employees at FDA receive positive recognition for helping FDA accomplish its strategic goals.
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14f.  FDA is investing the resources needed to ensure that its performance data is of sufficient quality.
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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
14g.  FDA's top leadership demonstrates a strong commitment to achieving results.
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14h.  FDA's top leadership demonstrates a strong commitment to using performance information to guide decision making.
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14i.  FDA is investing in resources to improve its capacity to use performance information.
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14j.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level take steps to align program performance measures with agencywide goals and objectives.
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14k.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level effectively communicate performance information on a routine basis.
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14l.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level take steps to ensure that performance information is useful and/or appropriate.
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14m.  FDA managers/supervisors at my level use performance information to share effective program approaches with others.
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Agency Climate (Continued)

  The items listed in question 15 below focus on the program(s)/
operation(s)/project(s) that you are responsible for.
 
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15.  To what extent, if at all, do you agree with the following statements?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
15a.  The individual I report to periodically reviews with me the results or outcomes of the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that I am responsible for.
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15b.  Funding decisions for the program(s)/
operation(s)/project(s) I am responsible for are based on results or outcome-oriented performance information.
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15c.  Staffing and personnel decisions for the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) I am responsible for are based on results or outcome-oriented performance information.
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15d.  Changes by management above my level to the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) I am responsible for are based on results or outcome-oriented performance information.
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15e.  It is easy to motivate employees to be more results-oriented in the program(s)/
operation(s)/project(s) I am responsible for.
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15f.  I have sufficient information on the validity of the performance data I use to make decisions.
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Agency Climate (Continued)

16.  To what extent, if at all, do you believe that the following persons or entities pay attention to FDA's use of performance information in management decision making?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
16a.  Secretary of Health and Human Services
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16b.  FDA Commissioner
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16c.  Director of your Center or Office
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16d.  The individual I report to
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16e.  Managers and supervisors at my level
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16f.  Employees that report to me
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16g.  Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
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16h.  Congressional committees
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16i.  The audit community (e.g., GAO, Inspectors General)
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16j.  The general public
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Training

17.  During the past 3 years, has FDA provided, arranged, or paid for training that would help you to accomplish the following tasks?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Yes


No


Not sure

17a.  Conduct strategic planning
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17b.  Set program performance goals
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17c.  Develop program performance measures
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17d.  Assess the quality of performance data
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17e.  Use program performance information to make decisions
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17f.  Link the performance of program(s)/
operation(s)/project(s) to the achievement of FDA's strategic goals
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Management Challenges

18.  Based on your experience with the program(s)/operation(s)/project(s) that you are involved with, to what extent, if at all, do you believe that FDA is making progress addressing each of the following management challenges?
(Select one answer in each row.)

Cross-Cutting Issues

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
18a.  Improving its information technology and information management
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18b.  Improving access to outside data from other federal agencies and non-governmental entities
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18c.  Recruiting, retaining, and developing a workforce with knowledge, skills and abilities necessary to carry out its mission
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18d.  Improving coordination and communication within FDA (both within and between Centers and Offices)
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18e.  Improving coordination and communication with other federal agencies
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18f.  Improving coordination and communication with experts outside FDA (e.g., academia)
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18g.  Improving the communication of product safety information to the public
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18h.  Keeping pace with scientific advances necessary to regulate a diverse and expanding product base
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18i.  Addressing increased need for inspecting domestic establishments for all the product lines that FDA regulates
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Overseeing Medical Product Safety

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
18j.  Addressing increased need for inspecting foreign manufacturers
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18k.  Improving its inspection and monitoring of clinical trials
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18l.  Improving its monitoring of post-market study commitments for medical products
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18m.  Improving its monitoring and evaluation of adverse events
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18n.  Improving its review of promotional/
advertising materials for drugs
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Overseeing Food Safety

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
18o.  Performing its regulatory role under its current statutory authority
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18p.  Improving its monitoring of the safety of a globally sourced food supply
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Management Challenges - An Example

19.  Please provide an example of how FDA has made progress or not made progress to address any of the management challenges listed in question 18 above. (In your answer, please indicate which challenge from question 18 your example applies to.)

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Potential Improvements

20.  To what extent, if at all, would each of the following improve your ability to contribute to FDA's goals and responsibilities?
(Select one answer in each row.)

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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
20a.  Additional staff with needed knowledge, skills, and abilities
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20b.  Additional staff developmental opportunities
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20c.  Improved coordination and communication within FDA (both within and between Centers and Offices)
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20d.  Improved coordination and communication with other federal governmental entities
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20e.  Improved coordination and communication with state governmental entities
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20f.  Improved coordination and communication with foreign regulatory bodies
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20g.  Improved coordination and communication with experts outside FDA (e.g., academia)
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Very
great
extent
Great extent
Moderate extent
Small extent
No
extent
No basis to judge/Not applicable
20h.  Updated technologies or other tools for data sharing or information management
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20i.  Updated scientific technologies or other tools for the regulation of a diverse and expanding product base
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20j.  Updated FDA guidance for industry
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20k.  Updated product safety regulations
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20l.  Authority for increased access to private firm records during food related emergencies
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20m.  Authority to accredit third party food inspectors
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20n.  Other - Please specify below.
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  If you answered "Other" above, please specify other improvements.
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21.  In your opinion, what are the top three issues that FDA's Management should address to achieve its goals and responsibilities?

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  Issue #1:
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  Issue #2:
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  Issue #3:
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Additional Comments and Submit Your Responses to GAO

22.  If you have any comments that would expand on your responses to any questions in this survey, please enter them in the space below.

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  Please continue to the survey completion question below.
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23.  Are you ready to submit your final completed survey to GAO?
(This is equivalent to mailing a completed paper survey to us. It tells us that your answers are official and final.)

 
 
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  You may view and print your completed survey by clicking on the Summary link in the menu to the left..

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U.S. Government Accountability Office

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