The Results Act:

Observations on the Postal Service's June 1997 Draft Strategic Plan

GGD-97-163R: Published: Jul 31, 1997. Publicly Released: Jul 31, 1997.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the U.S. Postal Service's draft strategic plan, focusing on: (1) the draft plan's compliance with the Government Performance and Results Act's requirements and its overall quality; (2) whether the Postal Service's major statutory responsibilities are reflected in the plan; (3) whether the plan addressed major management problems; (4) the Service's capacity to provide reliable information for measuring results; and (5) whether the plan evidences input from consultations and interagency coordination for any cross-cutting functions.

GAO noted that: (1) the Postal Service's draft strategic plan generally includes the six components required by the Results Act and provides useful information on the Service's vision of its future and how the Service plans to achieve its desired results; (2) however, the plan's discussion of some components could be strengthened to better meet the purposes of the Act; (3) overall, the draft plan is conceptually consistent with the Results Act's concept of a systematic management process that uses results-oriented goals and strategies as well as performance indicators to measure progress toward these goals; (4) however, the plan would benefit from a more complete mission statement that conveys the requirement that the Service is to fulfill its mandate to bind the nation together while being largely a self-supporting entity; (5) the general goals and objectives and strategies to achieve the goals and objectives do not cover some of the Service's major functions and operations; (6) while the plan contains a useful chart that helps relate performance measures to general goals/objectives, the Service acknowledges that it is still in the process of identifying tangible performance indicators and target levels to measure progress toward all of its goals; (7) the draft plan generally reflects the Service's major statutory responsibilities and identifies the 1970 Postal Reorganization Act as the basis for its public service mission; (8) however, the plan could better discuss how its overall goals, strategies, and performance measures may be affected by key management problems that have been identified over the years, such as the need to: (a) improve labor-management relations; (b) strengthen internal controls to protect revenues; and (c) ensure the integrity of acquisitions; and (9) the draft plan does not indicate how the views of stakeholders or others were considered as a result of consultations or offer evidence of interagency coordination with executive branch agencies in some areas where coordination might be appropriate.

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