The September 11 terrorist attacks and subsequent federal action had a substantial impact on businesses in both the declared disaster areas and around the nation. In the aftermath of the attacks, the Congress, among other actions, appropriated emergency supplemental funds to the Small Business Administration (SBA) to aid September 11 victims. Given the uniqueness of this disaster and changes in the program, GAO analyzed SBA's lending to September 11 victims, as well as the loan program's performance goals and measures.
Recommendations for Executive Action
|Small Business Administration||In order to better demonstrate program performance, the Administrator of SBA should direct the Office of Disaster Assistance to revise the performance measures for disaster lending to (1) include more outcome measures; (2) assess more significant outputs, such as service to applicants or loan underwriting; (3) report achievements that can be compared over several years, such as percentages; and (4) include performance targets that encourage process improvement rather than maintaining past levels of performance.|
|Small Business Administration||In order to better demonstrate program performance, the Administrator of SBA should revise and expand its current research to improve its measures and evaluate program impact. To improve its current measures SBA should conduct research, such as surveying Disaster Area Office staff and reviewing the disaster, lending, and performance literature, to identify and test new outcome measures. To evaluate its program impact, SBA needs to revise its survey approach to survey all disaster loan applicants and to employ other methods, such as periodic analyses of regional statistics, to assess the economic impact of the program on local communities.|
|Small Business Administration||In order to better demonstrate program performance, the Administrator of SBA should revise the disaster section of the performance plan to (1) establish direct linkages between each output and outcome and the associated performance measure; (2) accurately describe proxy measures as either an outcome or output measures; (3) accurately describe the validation and verification of performance measures; and (4) explain additions, deletions, or changes in the current goals or measures used from the previous year.|