Managers say agencies are still not using Results Act

Federal agencies have gained little ground in the effort to manage for results, according to a survey of managers and supervisors conducted by the General Accounting Office. Many agencies are still not prepared to use a results-based approach to running their operations, GAO said in its report, "Managing for Results: Federal Managers' Views on Key Management Issues Vary Widely Across Agencies" (GAO-01-592). For the report, GAO surveyed managers at each of the largest 28 federal agencies about the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act. Under the Results Act, agencies are required to write strategic plans and prepare annual performance plans and performance reports. "The responses of many managers in the 28 agencies did not indicate a strong perception that their agencies' top leadership demonstrated a strong commitment to achieving results," GAO said. GAO completed a similar study in 1997, and last October released a study focusing on the governmentwide results of its latest survey. According to GAO, crafting a high-performing organization requires time and commitment, along with sustained attention from top leaders. In its study, GAO found that only four of the 28 agencies surveyed had reached a level where two-thirds of managers said top agency officials were committed to managing for results. "Progress in fostering such leadership has stagnated," GAO found. The use of recognition as a motivating incentive has also not been widely used in the federal government, GAO found, reducing the opportunity to reinforce personal accountability for high performance. "Agencies need to create organizational cultures that involve employees and empower them to improve operational and program performance while ensuring accountability and fairness for those employees," GAO said. Giving managers decision-making power and, in turn, making them accountable for results, is critical to results-based management, GAO said. At 22 of the 28 agencies, more than half of the managers said they were accountable for results. But fewer managers said they had the power to make decisions. At 10 of the 28 agencies, one-third or less of the managers surveyed said they had decision-making authority. According to the report, the Federal Aviation Administration, the Health Care Financing Administration, the Forest Service, the Interior and State departments, and the Internal Revenue Service all ranked at the bottom of the survey. Only seven of the 28 agencies found 50 percent or more of surveyed managers using performance information in setting program priorities, allocating resources, adopting new approaches, coordinating efforts or setting job expectations for their employees. In his written response to GAO's findings, Sean O'Keefe, deputy director of the Office of Management and Budget, said he found the drop in the use of performance information disappointing. "While many agencies have made substantial progress implementing the Government Performance and Results Act, many are still going through the motions," O'Keefe wrote. "GPRA has not been fully harnessed to improve management and program performance." While it did not include recommendations in its report, GAO said later reports would identify areas for agencies to take specific actions in becoming high-performing organizations.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Federal IT Applications: Assessing Government's Core Drivers

    In order to better understand the current state of external and internal-facing agency workplace applications, Government Business Council (GBC) and Riverbed undertook an in-depth research study of federal employees. Overall, survey findings indicate that federal IT applications still face a gamut of challenges with regard to quality, reliability, and performance management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.