Skip to main content

Government Performance: Lessons Learned for the Next Administration on Using Performance Information to Improve Results

GAO-08-1026T Published: Jul 24, 2008. Publicly Released: Jul 24, 2008.
Jump To:
Skip to Highlights


Over the past 15 years, legislative and executive branch reform efforts have attempted to shift the focus of federal government management from a preoccupation with activities to the results or outcomes of those activities. Based on over a decade of work in this area, GAO has found a transformation in the capacity of the federal government to manage for results, including an infrastructure of outcome-oriented strategic plans, performance measures, and accountability reporting that provides a solid foundation for improving the performance of federal programs. However, agencies have made less progress in getting their managers' to use performance information in their decision making. GAO was asked to testify on the preliminary results of ongoing work looking at (1) trends in federal managers' use of performance information to manage, both governmentwide and at the agency level; (2) how agencies can encourage greater use of performance information to improve results; and (3) lessons learned from prior management reforms for the next administration. Our statement is based on prior GAO reports and surveys we conducted in 1997, 2000, 2003, and 2007. For the results of our 2007 survey, see e-supplement GAO-08-1036SP. GAO will be issuing a report at a later date that will explore the use of performance results in management decision making at selected agencies.

Full Report

Office of Public Affairs


AccountabilityData collectionData integrityDecision makingExecutive agenciesGovernment informationInformation resources managementInternal controlsLessons learnedPerformance appraisalPerformance managementPerformance measuresProgram evaluationProgram managementRegulatory agenciesReporting requirementsStrategic planningSurveysAssessments