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Executive Branch Must Step Up Implementation of Performance Act, Says GAO Report

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released an 83-page progress report on the 2010 Government Results and Performance Modernization Act. The report gave agencies credit for pursuing cross-agency goals, establishing performance leadership objectives, and maintaining the Performance.gov website. However, the auditors found that the “the executive branch needs to do more to fully implement and leverage the act’s provisions to address governance challenges.”

This report is the latest in a series in which GAO, as required by the Performance Act, reviewed the act’s initial implementation. GAO assessed the executive branch’s progress in implementing the act and its effectiveness in using tools provided by the act to address key governance challenges. To address these objectives, GAO reviewed the act, related OMB guidance, and past and recent GAO work related to federal performance management and the act; and interviewed OMB staff. In addition, to determine the extent to which agencies are using performance information and several of the act’s requirements to improve agency results, GAO surveyed a stratified random sample of 4,391 federal managers from 24 agencies, with a 69 percent response rate which allows GAO to generalize these results. 


Some issues reported by the GAO Include:

  • OMB and agencies have identified many programs and activities that contribute to goals, as required, but are missing additional opportunities to address crosscutting issues.
  • Ensuring performance information is useful and used by federal managers to improve results remains a weakness.
  • Agencies have taken steps to align daily operations with agency results, but continue to face difficulties measuring performance.
  • Communication of performance information could better meet users’ needs.
  • Agency performance information is not always useful for congressional decision making.

Download “Managing for Results: Executive Branch Should More Fully Implement the GPRA Modernization Act to Address Pressing Governance Challenges” to learn more. 

About the Author

Ryann K. Ellis is an editor for the Association of Talent Development (ATD). She has been covering workplace learning and performance for ATD (formerly the American Society for Training & Development) since 1995. She currently manages ATD's Community of Practice blogs, as well as ATD's government-focused magazine, The Public Manager. Contact her at rellis@td.org. 

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