Program Performance Measures:

Federal Agency Collection and Use of Performance Data

GGD-92-65: Published: May 4, 1992. Publicly Released: May 7, 1992.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO surveyed major federal agencies, focusing on the extent to which agencies: (1) had developed performance standards and goals; and (2) used measures of their progress toward these goals.

GAO found that: (1) two-thirds of the agencies in its survey had long-term strategic plans in place that defined their goals and objectives; (2) three-quarters of the agencies reported that they collected a wide variety of data to assess program performance; (3) key performance measures were used for internal purposes and infrequently reported to such external sources as Congress and the Office of Management and Budget; (4) most of the 14 agencies sampled used performance information at the program level; (5) only half of the 103 agencies with strategic plans said they used most or all or their existing measures to assess progress in achieving goals or objectives; (6) only 9 of the 103 agencies reported having organizational characteristics necessary to link plans and measures; and (7) agencies reported using performance measurement systems for a variety of purposes, but few used them to help manage toward long-term goals.