Electronic Government: Performance Measures for Projects Aimed at Promoting Innovation and Transparency Can Be Improved

GAO-11-775 Published: Sep 23, 2011. Publicly Released: Sep 23, 2011.
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Congress enacted the Electronic Government (E-Gov) Act in 2002 to promote better use of the Internet and other information technologies (IT), thereby improving government services for citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in government. Among other things, the act established the E-Gov Fund to support projects that expand the government's ability to carry out its activities electronically. The act also created the Office of Electronic Government within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The Administrator of this office is to assist the OMB Director in approving projects to be supported by the E-Gov Fund. The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for administering the fund and notifying Congress of how the funds are to be allocated to projects approved by OMB. GAO was asked to (1) identify and describe the projects supported by the E-Gov Fund, including the distribution of fiscal year 2010 funds among the projects and their expected benefits; and (2) for selected projects, identify their progress against goals. To do this, GAO reviewed project and funding documentation, analyzed project goals, and interviewed agency officials..

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Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
General Services Administration For any E-Gov Fund projects that continue to be supported, the Administrator of the General Services Administration should ensure that performance metrics are developed that align with those project goals, especially those that currently lack such metrics.
Closed – Implemented
The General Services Administration (GSA) concurred with this recommendation and reported that it has taken steps to track performance metrics that ensure alignment with and achievement of program goals for E-Gov funded programs. Specifically, for the 5 E-Gov initiatives identified in its fiscal year 2014 spending plan, GSA established 3 metrics that it uses to measure their performance, including (1) the number of agencies adopting the initiative, (2) the percentage availability of the initiative's web site, and (3) the index (out of a total score of 100) for customer experience with the initiative. Further, GSA established additional performance metrics that address initiative-specific goals. For example, the Federal Risk and Authorization Management Program (FedRAMP), under the E-Gov Fund's Cloud Computing initiative, is a governmentwide program with the goal of providing a standardized approach to security assessment, authorization, and monitoring for cloud computing products and services. According to GSA's fiscal year 2014 spending plan, FedRAMP uses a "do once, use many times" framework that will save cost, time, and staff required to conduct redundant agency security assessments across the federal government. GSA measures two FedRAMP-specific metrics: (1) the number of approved security assessment and authorization packages that can be reused and (2) the amount of money saved by reusing the packages.

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