Managing for Results:

Challenges in Producing Credible Performance Information

T-GGD/RCED-00-134: Published: Mar 22, 2000. Publicly Released: Mar 22, 2000.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO discussed the challenges federal agencies face in producing credible performance information, focusing on: (1) a governmentwide perspective on the credibility of agencies' performance information based on GAO's assessment of agencies' performance plans; (2) the challenges agencies face in producing credible performance data; and (3) how agencies can use their performance reports to address data credibility issues.

GAO noted that: (1) sound performance data are key to strengthening decisionmaking in agencies and in Congress and for pinpointing specific opportunities for improved performance; (2) the issuance of the first performance reports will provide important information on the overall performance of federal programs; (3) discussing data credibility and related issues in performance reports can provide important contextual information to Congress and agencies to help them address the weaknesses in this area; (4) this sort of discussion in an agency's performance report can alert Congress to the problems the agency has had in collecting results-oriented performance information; and (5) agencies can also alert Congress to the cost and data quality trade-offs associated with various collection strategies, such as relying on sources outside the agency to provide performance data and the degree to which those data are expected to be reliable.

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