Results Act:

Department of the Interior's Annual Performance Plan for Fiscal Year 1999

RCED-98-206R: Published: May 28, 1998. Publicly Released: May 28, 1998.

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Victor S. Rezendes
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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the Department of the Interior's (DOI) performance plan for fiscal year (FY) 1999, focusing on the: (1) extent to which the plan provides a clear picture of intended performance across DOI; (2) strategies and the resources DOI will use to achieve its performance goals; and (3) extent to which the plan provides confidence that the agency's performance information will be credible.

GAO noted that: (1) several of the component plans for the agencies in DOI contain performance goals and measures that do not sufficiently provide: (a) a succinct and concrete statement of expected performance; and (b) annual performance goals that are linked to the respective agency's mission, strategic goals, and program activities in the budget; (2) furthermore, most of the plans do not adequately identify crosscutting activities and thus do not identify whether the agencies are coordinating their efforts associated with related strategic or performance goals; (3) none of DOI's component performance plans adequately discuss how the strategies and resources will help achieve their goals; (4) most component plans do not adequately provide clear and reasonable strategies describing how they intend to meet their performance goals; (5) in addition, most of the component plans do not adequately describe the capital, human, financial, and other resources that the agencies will use to achieve performance goals; (6) most of the component performance plans do not provide sufficient confidence that their performance information will be credible; (7) specifically, the plans do not adequately identify: (a) the verification and validation procedures that are needed to ensure that the performance information is complete, accurate, and consistent; and (b) the significant data limitations and their implications for assessing the achievement of the performance goals; (8) overall, GAO found DOI's performance plan to not be user-friendly; (9) it consists of nine components--a Departmental Overview and eight subagency plans that have to be reviewed in conjunction with the budget justifications; (10) understanding the totality of what the plans contain is an overwhelming and time-consuming task involving a review of about 3,500 pages of material; and (11) also, the information in the plans needs to be presented in a more coherent and consistent format to better facilitate the use, readability, and understanding of this document.

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