Managing for Results:

The Statutory Framework for Improving Federal Management and Effectiveness

T-GGD/AIMD-97-144: Published: Jun 24, 1997. Publicly Released: Jun 24, 1997.

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GAO discussed how Congress can use the statutory framework that it enacted, in particular the Government Performance and Results Act, to help identify and address some of the key management challenges that are undermining the effectiveness and responsiveness of federal agencies.

GAO noted that: (1) Congress has put in place a statutory framework with the essential ingredients needed to address long-standing weaknesses in federal management and to create a federal government that is more responsive and cost-effective; (2) the key now is for agencies to implement that framework and for the executive branch and Congress to use it to help make decisions and ensure accountability; (3) given the experiences of the foreign and state governments that have been seeking to instill a more results-oriented approach to management for some years now, the implementation of the Results Act, and of the other key parts of the framework, has not been, and will not be, quick or easy; (4) moreover, addressing some of the challenges that GAO has highlighted, such as addressing crosscutting program efforts and balancing competing priorities, will raise significant policy issues for Congress and the administration to consider, some of which will likely be very difficult to resolve; (5) the Results Act's success or failure should not be judged on whether contentious policy issues are fully resolved; and (6) judgment of the success or failure of the act should turn on the extent to which the information produced through the required goal-setting and performance measurement practices, once those practices are successfully implemented, helps inform policy decisions and improve government management and performance.

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