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The United States General Accounting Office
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Performance and Accountability Report 2000

GAO's Performance in Fiscal Year 2000

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Page last updated April 11, 2001 C o n t e n t s

In fiscal year 2000, GAO achieved more than $23 billion in financial benefits for the American taxpayer and recorded more than 700 actions taken in response to our recommendations to improve how the federal government operates.

We also completed a number of major initiatives to improve the way GAO itself operates, among them, our first strategic plan for the 21st century (PDF). Based on input from the Congress and supplemented by our own expertise and other outreach efforts, the plan established four strategic goals for our agency.

Each of the four goals is supported by a set of strategic objectives that guide GAO's work, as our framework diagram shows.

Charting Agencywide Performance

Our performance for the year exceeded all five of our annual quantitative targets for financial benefits, other benefits, recommendations implemented, testimonies given, and new recommendations made. Under a separate management measure of timeliness, we achieved a 96-percent success rate for delivering our products on time but fell short of our idealistic 100-percent target. As for our 3-year qualitative performance goals, we expect to meet or exceed all 94 by the end of fiscal year 2002.

For the trends in our annual results since 1997, please see this chart, which also provides 4-year rolling averages that serve to show those trends without the effects of one-time or unusual circumstances and shifts in congressional priorities and workloads.

$23.2 Billion in Direct Financial Benefits Were Realized. These results exceeded our target of $22 billion and were up from the previous year's results of $20.1 billion.

financial benefits chart

We achieve our financial benefits when our recommendations are implemented to make government services more efficient, to improve the budgeting and spending of tax dollars, and to strengthen the management of federal resources.

Estimated financial benefits include budget reductions, costs avoided, resources reallocated, and revenue enhancements.

Because it takes time for agencies to implement GAO's recommendations and document savings, the financial benefits we report in a given year may be based on work we performed in the current or previous years.

Examples of our work that generated financial benefits include the following:

      Helping to Prevent Fraud and Abuse in Medicare
      Cutting Costs of the F-22 Aircraft Program
      Recapturing Excess HUD Funding

788 Actions Were Taken to Improve Government Operations or Services. Our results exceeded our target of 620 actions taken and were up from the previous year's total of 607 actions taken.

These benefits represent improved government operations and services. We measure these benefits by tabulating the number of cases in which our recommendations have prompted federal agencies or the Congress to take action.

The 788 actions reported for fiscal year 2000 include measures to improve public safety and consumer protection, to establish more effective and efficient government operations, and to safeguard the nation's physical and information infrastructure.

Examples of our work that led to improved government operations or services include the following:

Improving Nursing Home Quality of Care
Improving Human Capital Practices
Strengthening Information Security

other benefits chart

78 Percent of the Recommendations We Made 4 Years Ago Were Implemented. Our results exceeded our target of 73 percent and were up from the previous year's rate of 70 percent.

We measure our progress in improving the government's accountability, operations, and services by tracking the percentage of recommendations we made 4 years ago that have since been implemented. For example, 78 percent of the recommendations we made in fiscal year 1996 had been implemented by the end of fiscal year 2000.

We use a 4-year interval because our historical data show that agencies often need this time to take action on our recommendations. Implemented recommendations correct the underlying causes of problems, weaknesses in internal controls, failures to comply with laws or regulations, or other matters impeding effective and efficient performance.

263 Testimonies Were Given Before the Congress. Our results exceeded our target of 230 and were up from the previous year's total of 229 testimonies.

testimonies given chart
Because one of GAO's primary functions is to support the Congress in carrying out its decision-making and oversight responsibilities, the number of times our experts testify before congressional panels each year is an indicator of our responsiveness and the impact, importance, and value of our work.

In fiscal year 2000, GAO witnesses testified before 104 different congressional committees and subcommittees on a broad range of topics, including arms control, health care, Social Security, human capital, nuclear waste cleanup, wildfires, aviation safety and security, international trade, computer security, financial management reform, and budget issues.

1,224 Recommendations Were Made During the Year. Our results exceeded our target of 950 recommendations and were up from the previous year's total of 940.
Our investigations and analyses can lead to improved government performance when we make recommendations to federal agencies. We recommend specific actions to improve the economy, efficiency, and effectiveness of federal operations and aim to effect significant financial and other benefits to taxpayers. We therefore track the number of recommendations contained in the products we issue each year.
96 Percent of Our Products Were Delivered on Time. While our results fell short of our idealistic target of 100-percent on-time delivery, we delivered the vast majority of our products on time.
In addition to the five performance measures already discussed, we monitor timeliness through a management measure. For our work to be useful, our congressional clients must have it on a timely basis. Therefore, we compare actual product delivery dates with the dates we agreed to with our clients. We set an idealistic target of 100 percent to emphasize the importance we place on being responsive to our clients. Although we did not meet this target--and we believe it will remain a challenge because of our increasing workload and external factors beyond our control--we will continue to emphasize timeliness. Fully implementing our new matrix and risk management strategies should help improve our on-time delivery.
100 Percent of Our Qualitative Performance Goals Are on Track. As of the end of fiscal year 2000, we expected to meet or exceed all 94 of our 3-year performance goals, although progress toward some had been slowed because we did not receive all the resources we requested. We will evaluate our success at the end of fiscal year 2002.

These 94 qualitative performance goals lay out the key efforts and potential outcomes we hope to achieve for each of our strategic objectives. Our performance on these goals will meet expectations when we provide information or make recommendations on the key efforts when viewed collectively. Our performance will exceed expectations when we provide information or make recommendations that congressional decisionmakers and others use toward achieving the potential outcomes. You will find links to our performance goals in the individual strategic goals sections.

For a more detailed discussion of our agencywide performance during fiscal year 2000, please download the PDF of the full-length version of this report.

Charting Performance by Strategic Goal

To give a fuller picture of how we served the Congress in fiscal year 2000, the following sections discuss GAO's performance by strategic goal:

Strategic Goal 1: Provide Timely, Quality Service to the Congress and the Federal Government to Address Current and Emerging Challenges to the Well-Being and Financial Security of the American People

Strategic Goal 2: Provide Timely, Quality Service to the Congress and the Federal Government to Respond to Changing Security Threats and the Challenges of Global Interdependence

Strategic Goal 3: Support the Transition to a More Results-Oriented and Accountable Federal Government

Strategic Goal 4: Maximize the Value of GAO by Being a Model Organization for the Federal Government

[ Contents  |  Introduction  |  C.G.'s Letter  |  FY 2000 ]
FYs 2001 and 2002  |  Strategies and Challenges  |  Financial Information

Accountability, Integrity, Reliability GAO Core Values - Accountability GAO Core Values - Integrity GAO Core Values - Reliability

GAO Core Values - ReliabilityGAO Core Values - IntegrityGAO Core Values - AccountabilityGAO Core Values - Reliability