This is a summary of GAO's performance and financial information for fiscal year 2016.
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—to maximize our value by enabling quality, timely service to the Congress and being a leading practices federal agency.
Human Capital: We maintain a workforce of highly trained professionals across a breadth of disciplines. In fiscal year 2016, 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 2016, we met or exceeded the goals we set for all but two of the areas measured. For example, we identified $63.4 billion in financial benefits for the federal government—a return of about $112 for every dollar we spent—and 1,234 improvements in broad program and operational areas across the government. Seventy-three percent of our recommendations were implemented by federal agencies or the Congress (7 percentage points short of our target), and over two-thirds (68 percent) of the products we issued contained recommendations. We testified 119 times before the Congress (our target was 120) on a wide variety of topics, nearly 40 percent of which were on areas considered at high risk for fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement. For people measures, we met one of our targets (retention rate without retirements) and exceeded our targets for the remaining six measures--new hire rate, retention rate with retirements, staff development, staff utilization, effective leadership by supervisors, and organizational climate.
Challenges: In fiscal year 2016, we made progress addressing four management challenges—human capital, engagement efficiency, information security, and telework. To address our human capital challenge, we hired staff to fill 221 positions, and reached 2,983 full-time equivalents—making important strides toward meeting our optimal level of 3,250. For engagement efficiency, we continued to streamline engagement processes and systems and conduct outreach with users. For information security, we made upgrades to speed our detection of and response to malicious activity. With regard to telework, we provided staff and managers with thorough telework policies and guidance and mandatory training for managers.