This is a summary of GAO's performance and financial information for fiscal year 2015.
Mission: The Government Accountability Office, the audit, evaluation, and investigative arm of the Congress, exists to support the Congress in meeting its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and ensure the accountability of the federal government for the benefit of the American people. We examine the use of public funds; evaluate federal programs and policies; and provide analyses, recommendations, and other assistance to help the Congress make informed oversight, policy, and funding decisions.
Organization and Strategic Focus: To fulfill our mission, we organize and manage our resources to support four broad strategic goals. These include three external goals: helping to address challenges to the well-being and financial security of the American people, responding to changing security threats and the challenges of global interdependence, and transforming the federal government to address national challenges. Our fourth strategic goal is an internal goal focused on enhancing our value through improving efficiency, effectiveness, and quality, and resource management.
Human Capital: We maintain a workforce of highly trained professionals across a breadth of disciplines. In fiscal year 2015, about 71 percent of our approximately 3,000 employees were based at our headquarters in Washington, D.C.; the rest were deployed in 11 field offices across the country.
Performance: To help determine how well we are meeting the needs of the Congress and the nation and maximizing our value as a leading practices agency, we assess our performance annually using a balanced set of quantitative measures. To establish targets for all of our performance measures, we examine our past performance and the external factors that could influence our future work and discuss with our senior executives what could be accomplished in the upcoming fiscal year. We may adjust these targets after we publish our annual performance plan based on changes in planned work or level of funding. Key annual performance measures that highlight our performance in significant areas related to the implementation of our mission are provided below.
Accomplishments: In fiscal year 2015, we exceeded the goals we set for all but two of the areas measured. For example, we identified a record high of $74.7 billion in financial benefits for the federal government--a return of about $134 for every dollar we spent--and 1,286 improvements in broad program and operational areas across the government. Seventy-nine percent of our recommendations were implemented by federal agencies or the Congress (1 percentage point short of our target), and about two-thirds (66 percent) of the products we issued contained recommendations. We testified at 109 hearings before the Congress (our target was 130) on a wide variety of topics, nearly a third (29 percent) of which were on areas considered at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. For people measures, we exceeded all 7 of our targets, which include the new hire rate, retention rate (with and without retirements), staff development, staff utilization, effective leadership by supervisors, and organizational climate.
Challenges: In fiscal year 2015, we made progress addressing three management challenges--human capital, engagement efficiency, and information security--and added telework as a fourth challenge. In the area of human capital, we recruited for and filled critical positions--primarily hiring new analysts. To improve engagement efficiency, we completed the pilot of our streamlined engagement process and companion new engagement management system and began agency-wide implementation. For information security, we took steps to better protect against inappropriate access to computer resources, including enhanced authentication and updated encryption on mobile devices.