Small Business Administration:

Status of Achieving Key Outcomes and Addressing Major Management Challenges

GAO-01-792: Published: Jun 22, 2001. Publicly Released: Jul 23, 2001.

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This report reviews the Small Business Administration's (SBA) fiscal year 2000 performance report and fiscal year 2002 performance plan required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 to assess SBA's progress in achieving selected key outcomes that are important to its mission. SBA's reported progress in achieving its outcomes is mixed. However, GAO had difficulty assessing SBA's progress due to weaknesses in its performance measures and data. GAO was unable to assess SBA's lack of an explanation about how the strategies relate to the outcomes or a discussion regarding strategies for the outcome. GAO identified some improvements from SBA's prior year report and plan, but several weaknesses persist in SBA's fiscal year 2000 performance report and performance plan. The performance report includes a section that summarizes SBA's programs, a matrix that identifies ongoing and closed audit reviews, and several recommendations associated with each. However, SBA omitted time frames or schedules for achieving unmet goals, lacked strategies for meeting unmet goals, and failed to adequately link strategies to indicators and measures.

Recommendation for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: In response to GAO's recommendation, SBA more clearly linked its strategies to outcomes, indicators, and measures in its fiscal year 2003 Performance Plan and fiscal year 2001 Performance and Accountability Report. SBA also recognized the difficulties inherent in defining and measuring qualitative indicators, and said that the agency will refrain from using this type of indicator. Finally, SBA has made improvements in the information it provides about strategies and activities it intends to implement to meet unmet goals, and plans to continue to further improve information about time frames and schedules.

    Recommendation: To make SBA's plan and report more useful for decisionmakers and more consistent with the Government Performance and Results Act, Office of Management and Budget Circular A-11, and related guidance, the Administrator of SBA should ensure that fiscal year 2001 performance report and fiscal year 2003 performance plan (1) clearly link strategies to outcomes, indicators, and measures, (2) present criteria or a performance indicator to explain the accomplishment of the goal when using qualitative measures, and (3) provide information about strategies, time frames, and schedules for achieving unmet targets.

    Agency Affected: Small Business Administration


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