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Managing for Results: Emerging Benefits From Selected Agencies' Use of Performance Agreements

GAO-01-115 Published: Oct 30, 2000. Publicly Released: Nov 14, 2000.
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The Veterans Health Administration, the Department of Transportation, and the Office of Student Financial Assistance have begun to use results- oriented performance agreements to align agency expectations with organizational goals. Each agency developed and implemented agreements that reflected their specific organizational priorities, structures, and cultures. GAO identified the following five common emerging benefits: (1) better alignment of results-oriented goals with daily operations, (2) collaboration across organizational boundaries, (3) opportunities to use performance information to improve federal programs, (4) results-oriented basis for individual accountability, and (5) continuity of program goals during leadership transitions. The three agencies' experiences show that effective implementation of performance agreements can encourage communication about progress towards agency goals. Their experiences also indicate that performance information should be provided to executives and managers in a timely fashion and in a useful format.

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