Performance

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2019 PAR Infographic

Strategic Planning & Performance

We produce a strategic plan, a performance plan, and an annual performance and accountability report with information comparable to that reported by executive-branch agencies. View all of our prior year reports, and read more about current reports below.

GAO’s Strategic Plan, 2018-2023

Every 4 years, GAO publishes a strategic plan for serving the Congress that considers the full scope of operations of the federal government, as well as emerging and future trends that may affect the government and society as a whole. This plan, presented in the three documents outlined below, describes our goals and strategies to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to ultimately improve the safety, security, and well-being of the American people.

We invite you to explore the three components of GAO’s 2018-2023 strategic plan:

  1. Our Strategic Plan Goals and Objectives form the foundation of the plan and outline our long-term strategies and goals.
  2. Our plan’s Key Efforts detail the near-term priorities and substantial bodies of work we believe will contribute to the accomplishment of our performance goals. Over time, we may update these key efforts, as appropriate, to reflect shifts in congressional priorities and our expected areas of work.
  3. Trends Affecting Government and Society provide the strategic context for our plan through an exploration of eight trends having a major impact on the nation and its government. This includes emerging issues in global and national security, the federal government’s fiscal condition, demographics, science and technology, and preparing the workforce of the future. Foresight tools like trend analysis are essential to help inform our decision making and long-term planning to serve the Congress.

Performance Plan

GAO's annual performance plan covers activities for each of our strategic goals and is included with our budget submission each year.

In the spirit of the Government Performance and Results Act, our annual performance plan informs the Congress and the American people about what we expect to accomplish on their behalf in the coming fiscal year. It sets forth our plan to make progress toward achieving our strategic goals for serving the Congress and the American people. This framework not only shows the relationship between our strategic goals and strategic objectives, but also show major themes that could potentially affect our work.

Performance and Accountability Report

GAO's Performance and Accountability Report describes the agency's performance measures, results, and accountability processes for the fiscal year. Our 2019 work yielded a record $214.7 billion in financial benefits for the federal government —a return of about $338 for every dollar invested in GAO. In assessing our performance, we compare actual results against the targets and goals that were set in our annual performance plan and performance budget to help carry out our strategic plan.

View 2019 Report

Table: Agency-wide Summary of Annual Measures and Targets

Performance
measure
2014
actual
2015
actual
2016
actual
2017
actual
2018
actual
2019
target
2019
actual
Met/not met 2020 target
Results
financial benefits (dollars in billions) $54.4 $74.7 $63.4 $73.9 $75.1 $50.0 $214.7 Met $50.0
Other benefits 1,288 1,286 1,234 1,280 1,294 1,200 1,418 Met 1,200
Past recommendations implemented 78% 79%a 73% 76% 77% 80% 77% Not Met 80%
New products with recommendations 64% 66%a 68% 63% 64% 60% 63% Met 60%
Client
Testimonies 129 109 119b 99 98 120 97 Not Met 120
Timeliness 95% 98% 94% 96% 97% 90% 95% Met 90%
People
New hire rate 88% 83% 81% 83% 85% 80% 89% Met 80%
Retention rate
With retirements 94% 94% 93% 94% 94% 92% 94% Met 92%
Without retirements 97% 96% 96% 97% 97% 96% 96% Met 96%
Staff development 83% 84% 83% 84% 83% 80% 85% Met 80%
Staff utilization 77% 79% 79% 80% 78% 76% 78% Met 76%
Effective leadership by supervisors 83% 83% 85% 84% 85% 82% 84% Met 82%
Organizational
climate
79% 80% 81% 83% 81% 76% 81% Met 76%
Internal operations
Help get job done 82% 80% N/Ac,d 84% 85% 80% 82% Met 80%
Quality of work life 78% 78% N/Ac,d 82% 82% 80% 82% Met 80%
IT Tools 65% 67% N/Ac,d 74% 73% 80% 56% Not met 80%

Source: GAO. | GAO-20-1SP

Note: Information explaining all of the measures included in this table appears in the Appendix on Data Quality.

aIn 2015, we modified our methodology for past recommendations implemented and new products with recommendations to exclude Matters for Congressional Consideration (see Appendix on Data Quality).
bIn 2016, we modified our methodology for counting testimonies to include hearings where two separate statements are delivered on different aspects of GAO’s work (see Appendix on Data Quality).
cWe conducted the survey for these measures on a calendar year basis in 2016, and, therefore, do not have fiscal year-end results to report—denoted by N/A. For fiscal years 2017- 2019, the survey was conducted on a fiscal year basis.
dThe targets for all three categories in 2016 were 80 percent.

Peer Reviews

Every 3 years, independent organizations perform a peer review of GAO’s system of quality control for work done under generally accepted government auditing standards to determine whether it is suitably designed and operating effectively. For the most recent review, the peer review team commented on the very high quality of the GAO work they examined, noting various institutional strengths that enable GAO to provide Congress and the public with reliable and objective information.

The peer review includes a review of audit documentation, tests of functional areas, and staff interviews. The peer reviewers brief the Executive Committee, management, and staff members. Beginning with the 2010 peer review, an international team from supreme audit institutions performs the peer review of both performance and financial audits. Previously, the review of performance audits was conducted separately from the review of financial audits (an international certified public accounting firm conducted the peer review of financial audit engagements).