Observations on the Office of Personnel Management's Fiscal Year 1999 Performance Report and Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan

GGD-00-156R: Published: Jun 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Aug 1, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) fiscal year (FY) 1999 performance report and FY 2001 performance plan required by the Government Performance and Results Act.

GAO noted that: (1) OPM made limited progress toward the federal government having an appropriately constituted workforce with the proper skills to carry out its missions; (2) GAO examined three performance goals OPM adopted for FY 1999 that were directly related to this outcome, including developing competencies for major federal occupations, developing information and strategies for increasing the levels of underrepresented groups in key federal occupations, and equipping agencies with a further simplified General Schedule (GS) classification system; (3) flaws in the measures make it difficult to track and substantiate OPM's progress; (4) OPM's FY 2000 performance plan states that OPM will develop a Workforce Planning and Analysis Model for the agencies, including an automated application for making a variety of employment-related data readily available; (5) the FY 2001 performance plan improves on the original goal by establishing milestones for developing the application and incorporating feedback from the agencies; (6) OPM made substantial efforts, but limited progress, toward evaluating, rewarding, and holding federal employees accountable for their performance; (7) regarding rewards, OPM planned to develop and disseminate: (a) state-of-the-art compensation practices as a step toward creating options for performance-oriented compensation approaches; and (b) a proposal for a revised annual pay adjustment process for the GS and related pay systems; (8) regarding performance management, one OPM goal was that the governmentwide performance management policy framework is up-to-date and accommodates cutting-edge proposals so that agencies can enhance individual and organizational performance and ensure individual accountability; (9) another OPM goal related to performance management was that agencies use OPM-provided resources and assistance to more successfully address employee performance problems; (10) although the results for FY 1999 were mixed and in some cases performance data were unavailable, the FY 2000 performance plan added a new potentially useful measure of OPM's efforts to promote accountability; (11) OPM's efforts to oversee the merit system showed no specificity, baseline data, target measures, nor an assessment of the extent to which OPM's efforts led to improvements; and (12) the FY 1999 performance plan did not explicitly state OPM goals for preventing fraud and error in Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

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