Results Act:

Observations on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Draft Strategic Plan

RCED-97-224R: Published: Aug 8, 1997. Publicly Released: Aug 27, 1997.

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Judy A. England Joseph
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of Housing and Urban Development's (HUD) draft strategic plan, focusing on: (1) whether the draft plan fulfills the requirements of the Government Performance and Results Act; (2) the plan's overall quality; (3) whether it reflects HUD's key statutory authorities; (4) whether it reflects interagency coordination for crosscutting programs, activities, or functions that are similar or complementary to those of other federal agencies; (5) whether it addresses major management challenges that GAO had previously identified; and (6) whether HUD has adequate data and information systems to provide reliable information for measuring results.

GAO noted that: (1) while the draft strategic plan is a positive step toward developing a strategic plan, HUD needs to do additional work before its draft plan can fulfill the requirements of the act; (2) the plan is missing one of the required components--a description of how program evaluations were used in establishing the strategic objectives, including a schedule of future evaluations; (3) HUD's treatment of the other five required components is often vague and does not yet fully comply with the act or the Office of Management and Budget's guidance; (4) HUD's two mission statements do not define the agency's basic purpose or focus on its core programs, and the mission statement that focuses on restoring the public's trust is not clearly supported by HUD's strategic objectives; (5) while the strategic objectives cover HUD's major program activities, the statements do not clearly describe how HUD will assess whether it is making progress toward achieving those objectives; (6) the discussion of HUD's strategies to achieve its objectives and the relationship of annual performance goals to the strategic objectives could be improved by discussing the resources needed to achieve its objectives and the type of information needed for its performance goals, as required by the act; (7) the draft plan does not cover the time frames specified by the act; (8) HUD's draft strategic plan generally reflects consideration of the key statutes authorizing the Department's programs; (9) although the draft strategic plan discusses HUD's consultation process and recognizes its many community partnerships, the draft plan does not yet reflect whether HUD coordinated with other federal agencies; (10) furthermore, the draft plan does not identify programs and activities that are crosscutting or similar to those of other federal agencies; (11) HUD could improve the draft strategic plan by more fully integrating the management reform plan with the strategic plan, providing specific information about how the strategic plan addresses financial reporting and material internal control weaknesses identified by HUD's Office of Inspector General, and addressing HUD's efforts to integrate its financial and management information systems; and (12) HUD's capacity to provide reliable information on the achievement of its strategic objectives is uncertain because the draft strategic plan has not yet been developed sufficiently to identify the types and sources of data needed to evaluate its progress toward achieving HUD's objectives.

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