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The Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) of 1993 has laid a foundation of results-oriented agency planning, measurement, and reporting in the federal government. Performance planning and measurement have slowly, yet increasingly, become a part of agencies' cultures. For planning and performance measurement to be effective, federal managers need to use performance information to identify performance problems and look for solutions, develop approaches that improve results, and make other important management decisions. According to GAO's periodic surveys, federal managers reported having more performance measures in 2003 than in 1997. However, the data also showed that managers' reported use of performance information for program management activities has remained essentially unchanged from 1997 levels. GAO was asked to identify (1) how federal agencies can use performance information to make management decisions and (2) practices that can enhance or facilitate the use of performance information to make management decisions.

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