Results-Oriented Government:

GPRA Has Established a Solid Foundation for Achieving Greater Results

GAO-04-594T: Published: Mar 31, 2004. Publicly Released: Mar 31, 2004.

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Patricia A. Dalton
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The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) has been in effect for 10 years. In that context, the subcommittee asked GAO to discuss our recent report, Results- Oriented Government: GPRA Has Established a Solid Foundation for Achieving Greater Results. Our testimony addresses the effectiveness of GPRA in creating a focus on results in the federal government.

GPRA's requirements have established a solid foundation of results-oriented performance planning, measurement, and reporting in the federal government. Federal managers surveyed by GAO reported having significantly more of the types of performance measures called for by GPRA. GPRA has also begun to facilitate the linking of resources to results, although much remains to be done in this area to increase the use of performance information to make decisions about resources. In our report, we also found agency strategic and annual performance plans and reports have improved over initial efforts. Although a foundation has been established, numerous significant challenges to GPRA implementation still exist. Inconsistent top leadership commitment to achieving results within agencies and OMB can hinder the development of results-oriented cultures in agencies. Furthermore, in certain areas, federal managers continue to have difficulty setting outcome-oriented goals, collecting useful data on results, and linking institutional, program, unit, and individual performance measurement and reward systems. Finally, there is an inadequate focus on addressing issues that cut across federal agencies. OMB, as the focal point for management in the federal government, is responsible for overall leadership and direction in addressing these challenges. OMB has clearly placed greater emphasis on management issues during the past several years. However, OMB has showed less commitment to GPRA implementation in its guidance to agencies and is not using the governmentwide performance plan requirement of GPRA to develop an integrated approach to crosscutting issues. In our view, governmentwide strategic planning could better facilitate the integration of federal activities to achieve national goals.

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