Results Act:

Observations on Labor's Fiscal Year 1999 Performance Plan

HEHS-98-175R: Published: Jun 4, 1998. Publicly Released: Jun 4, 1998.

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Carlotta C. Joyner
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Labor's annual performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 1999, which was submitted to Congress in February 1998.

GAO noted that: (1) overall, Labor's FY 1999 performance plan partially meets the criteria set forth in the Government Performance and Results Act and related guidance for the plan; (2) considering that this is the first performance plan that Labor has produced, the plan contains a great deal of useful information to inform Congress about how Labor intends to accomplish its mission; (3) as Labor gains experience, future performance plans will build upon this initial effort and become increasingly useful to Congress and the public; (4) however, Labor's first plan provides an incomplete picture of intended performance across the agency, and it does not fully portray how Labor's strategies and resources will help it achieve the plan's performance goals; (5) in addition, the plan does not provide confidence that the information Labor will use to assess performance will be accurate, complete, and credible; (6) among its strengths, Labor's performance plan: (a) addresses all the elements required by the Results Act and Office of Management and Budget's guidance; (b) uses revised strategic goals that better integrate the activities of Labor's component agencies and are more mission focused than the strategic goals previously presented in the agency's strategic plan; (c) covers all the agency's major functions and operations; (d) has performance measures that generally are objective, quantified, and useful for assessing progress toward the plan's performance goal; and (e) clearly aligns the agency's annual performance goals with its longer-term strategic goals; and (7) to make the plan more useful for purposes of the Results Act, Labor should, among other things: (a) improve the quality of some of its performance goals and indicators; (b) more completely describe its strategies for achieving its goals as well as its plans for coordinating with other agencies; (c) better identify the human and technological resources it will require to achieve its performance goals; and (d) provide sufficient information to demonstrate the credibility of the data it will use to measure its performance.

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