Observations on the Department of Housing and Urban Development's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

RCED-99-208R: Published: Jul 20, 1999. Publicly Released: Aug 18, 1999.

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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) fiscal year (FY) 2000 performance plan, which was submitted to Congress in response to the Government Performance and Results Act, focusing on the: (1) usefulness of HUD's plan for decisionmaking; and (2) degree of improvement HUD's FY 2000 performance plan represents over the FY 1999 plan.

GAO noted that: (1) HUD's FY 2000 plan provides a general picture of intended performance across the Department and a general discussion of the strategies and resources to achieve its strategic goals; (2) specifically, the plan appears to cover all of HUD's program activities, links the program activities to strategic goals and objectives, identifies outcome and output indicators that generally are results oriented and measurable, discusses strategies for achieving the objectives, and cites specific data sources related to each indicator; (3) however, the plan provides only limited confidence that the performance data will be credible; (4) HUD's FY 2000 annual performance plan is an improvement over the previous plan and is well on its way to addressing the weaknesses GAO identified in its assessment of HUD's FY 1999 annual performance plan; (5) in reviewing the FY 1999 plan, GAO observed that the plan did not: (a) cover all the program activities in HUD's budget and that the consolidations and aggregations of program activities were not clearly explained; (b) fully discuss how HUD would coordinate with other agencies having related goals or define its contributions to the crosscutting activities; (c) fully discuss the strategies that HUD intended to pursue to achieve its performance goals; (d) provide a complete discussion of the resources needed to achieve the performance goals; and (e) relate HUD's information systems to specific indicators, discuss all of the systems from which performance data would be extracted, or discuss the data's limitations and their possible effects on the performance indicators; (6) in contrast, the FY 2000 annual performance plan: (a) includes tables listing the budget accounts and program activities that support each objective and an appendix that summarizes the links for all of the strategic goals and objectives; (b) discusses HUD's coordination with other agencies on the objectives; (c) discusses specific strategies for each objective; (d) includes a resource allocation table that shows which strategic goals are supported by the discretionary funding and staff resources in HUD's budget accounts; and (e) includes a data source, a statement of the data's limitations or advantages, and a discussion of the validation and verification efforts for each performance indicator; and (7) the FY 2000 annual performance plan could be further improved if it showed the allocation of the budgetary resources needed to achieve specific performance goals and more specifically discussed HUD's strategies for coordinating with other agencies.

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