The Results Act:

Observations on the Draft Strategic Plans of Selected Department of Labor Components

HEHS-97-188R: Published: Jul 31, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 5, 1997.

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Carlotta C. Joyner
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the draft strategic plan submitted by the Department of Labor, as required by the Government Performance and Results Act, and the draft strategic plans of the Employment and Training Administration (ETA), Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), and Employment Standards Administration (ESA), as submitted by Labor.

GAO noted that: (1) Labor elected to submit a strategic plan overview that addresses some Results Act requirements at the Department level, and it also submitted individual plans for certain agency component units; (2) Labor's overview does not comply with guidance to integrate information from individual strategic plans of its components into a single agencywide strategic overview document; (3) while Labor's 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 meet the guidance that it contain an overall statement of departmental goals; (5) Labor's draft overview and supplemental unit plans cover the five areas of major statutory responsibility; (6) Labor's strategic plan overview recognizes the roles of other organizations and the importance of establishing partnerships in carrying out functions; (7) Labor's overview could be improved by recognizing the importance of other participants, namely the other 14 federal agencies involved in one major area of responsibility--job training; (8) 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 strategies pertaining to the development of a cohesive, integrated, and coordinated system; (9) Labor's capacity to provide reliable information for use in its agencywide management is questionable; (10) its overview plan recognizes the importance of additional information to ensure timely and sound evaluations to assess agency progress in meeting goals; (11) its overview does not describe its strategy for ensuring that such information is collected and used to assess progress and performance; (12) 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; (13) the strategic plans of ETA and OSHA address most of the elements in the Results Act; (14) improvements could be made by including more detailed discussions of evaluation strategies, crosscutting activities, and generating reliable performance information; (15) both plans could benefit by including more results-oriented goals and objectives; and (16) because ESA did not prepare an overall strategic plan, it may not be in the position to address common themes among its four program agencies.

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