Results Act implementation is limited, straw poll shows

Federal employees are aware of the requirements of the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA), but believe their agencies are not fully implementing the law, according to an informal online survey co-sponsored by Government Executive and Robbins-Gioia Inc. The small, unscientific study found that while federal employees say their agencies' strategic plans include measurable goals, the plans aren't realistic or communicated well throughout the agency. The study was developed by Robbins-Gioia, which specializes in program management. The Results Act requires agencies to develop performance-based goals and strategic plans to help them fulfill their missions. It also calls for a more direct connection between budget requests and performance results. More than 100 of the 148 respondents to the survey said they were familiar with GPRA's requirements. But most respondents said their agencies' strategic plans were not aligned with their annual budgets. Still, a recent study by the General Accounting Office concluded that agencies as a whole were doing a better job than ever of linking budget requests to performance results. As a whole, senior managers are not committed to implementing strategic plans, nor are incentives tied to performance, respondents to the survey said. Likewise, project investments are typically not tied to strategic goals or regularly measured against performance. Respondents also said agencies had not developed effective strategies for performance-based contracting, a procurement method by which agencies describe the end results they're seeking and leave it up to the vendor to find the best way to meet the requirements. The Office of Management and Budget has mandated that agencies use performance-based techniques on at least 20 percent of all service contracts worth more than $25,000 during this fiscal year. Agencies don't provide training in performance-based contracting, respondents said, nor is the practice encouraged within agencies.
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