The Results Act:

Observations on the Department of the Treasury's July 1997 Draft Strategic Plan

GGD-97-162R: Published: Jul 31, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of the Treasury's July 1997 draft strategic plan, focusing on: (1) whether the draft plan complied with the Government Performance and Results Act; (2) the plan's overall quality; (3) whether the Treasury's key statutory authorities were reflected; (4) whether discussions about crosscutting functions and interagency involvement were included; (5) whether the draft plan addressed major management problems; and (6) Treasury's capacity to provide reliable information about its operations and performance.

GAO noted that: (1) Treasury's initial draft strategic plan is incomplete and does not meet the requirements of the Results Act; (2) of the six elements required by the Act, the Treasury draft plan includes four; (3) two of those four elements could be made more specific to better meet the purposes of the act; (4) Treasury's goals and objectives are primarily general assertions that do not describe intended outcomes; (5) the strategies to achieve the goals and objectives do not fully disclose what specific actions are to be taken, and by which component, to attain the plan's goals and objectives; (6) the strategies almost always fail to meet the Results Act requirements that the plan describe how the goals and objectives are to be achieved, including a description of the processes, technology, and other resources needed to meet the goals and objectives; (7) the draft plan appears to reflect consideration of Treasury's major statutory responsibilities; (8) however, the draft plan is written in such a general way that it is difficult to determine the extent to which the plan is implementing the specifics of any particular statutory responsibility; (9) the draft plan does not adequately address crosscutting issues and does not mention whether Treasury coordinated with other federal departments and agencies where they share related functions; (10) although a major part of the mission statement is focused on management, the draft plan does not adequately address some of the critical management problems facing Treasury that could affect its ability to achieve its strategic goals and objectives; (11) while some of these issues may be addressed in component plans, Treasury's draft plan's discussion of the management mission is incomplete without some consideration of its role in resolving these problems; (12) GAO and the Treasury Inspector General have long reported on problems with the reliability of information systems, both program-related and financial, within the Department; (13) the draft plan identifies goals, objectives, and strategies under Treasury's management mission that are aimed at addressing the capacity of the Department to provide reliable data and modernize information systems; and (14) the draft plan does not address how data reliablity and information systems currently affect Treasury's ability to measure performance or provide necessary information to permit Congress to assess the Department's progress toward its goals.

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