The Results Act:

Observations on Department of Labor's June 1997 Draft Strategic Plan

HEHS-97-172R: Published: Jul 11, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1997.

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Carlotta C. Joyner
(202) 512-3000


Office of Public Affairs
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's June 1997 draft strategic plan.

GAO noted that: (1) to meet the Government Performance and Results Act's requirement for an agency strategic plan, Labor elected to submit individual plans from various agency component units supplemented by a strategic plan overview that addresses some Results Act requirements at the agency level; (2) however, Labor's overview does not meet Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance to provide an agencywide strategic overview that links individual strategic plans; (3) while Labor's strategic plan overview contains a mission statement for the agency, as required, the statement itself does not appear to be sufficiently descriptive of Labor's basic purpose; (4) Labor's strategic plan overview also does not appear to meet the requirement contained in OMB Circular A-11 that it contain an overall statement of departmental goals; (5) instead, Labor has excerpted and listed the goals contained in the component unit plans; (6) although Labor did not include agency goals in its strategic overview, the Department set forth agencywide goals in recent congressional testimony; (7) the goals stated in the overview and in individual unit plans are consistent with Labor's statutory responsibilities; (8) in addition, the mission statements cover all of Labor's major functions and operations; (9) Labor's strategic plan overview recognizes the roles of other organizations, such as other federal agencies and state and local governments, and the importance of establishing partnerships in carrying out such functions as ensuring safe and healthful workplaces; (10) the overview does not acknowledge that the nation's federally funded employment training system is a patchwork of multiple programs, many of which are in departments and agencies other than Labor; nor does it set forth goals pertaining to the development of a cohesive, integrated, and coordinated system; (11) Labor's capacity to provide reliable information for use in its agencywide management is questionable; (12) Labor's overview plan does not discuss with any specificity how Labor plans to use information technology to achieve its mission, goals, and objectives; nor does the plan describe with sufficient clarity how Labor intends to use information technology to improve performance and reduce costs; and (13) Labor's strategic overview plan could be improved by including a discussion of its technology investment control process, a process that can help agencies reduce the risk and maximize the net benefits from their information technology investments.

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