Forest Service:

Evaluation of 'End-Results' Budgeting Test

AFMD-88-45: Published: Mar 31, 1988. Publicly Released: May 3, 1988.

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In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Forest Service's new proposed end-results budgeting system to determine whether: (1) the system would affect the Service's accountability for appropriations; and (2) the Service's anticipated benefits were reasonable expectations under the proposed system.

GAO found that: (1) the end-results budgeting approach was fundamentally sound; (2) measuring program performance through output targets allowed the Service to shift funds to where they were needed from where they were originally allocated; (3) regional resource managers had additional administrative time under the new system; and (4) the funding shifts allowed more accurate accounting of actual forest operations. GAO also found that the Service needed to: (1) increase oversight on program output targets; (2) establish measurable links between budget oversight targets and land management plan output targets; (3) routinely verify data used to report actual target accomplishments; (4) develop standard output target definitions and procedures for ensuring the accuracy of actual target accomplishments; and (5) hold its managers accountable for implementing the charge-as-worked policy. In addition, GAO found that, although the Service's budgeting concept proposed a biennial budget process, biennial appropriations could experience significant off-year adjustments, which could turn the off year into another appropriation year with nearly the same work and funding uncertainty.

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