Agency Priority Goals Need Clarifying, GAO Finds

Obama’s compliance with Performance Act lacks interim measures, according to auditors. Obama’s compliance with Performance Act lacks interim measures, according to auditors. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

The Obama administration’s pursuit of mandatory agency priority goals suffers from a lack of clarity and interim milestones to gauge progress, the Government Accountability Office found.

“GAO’s work has repeatedly shown that federal agencies must coordinate better to achieve common outcomes,” the congressional watchdog said in a report released Friday requested by Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Tom Carper, D-Del., chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, as well as Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., ranking member on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Auditors also pointed to insufficient outreach to external sources by agencies and a need to better factor in congressional requirements.

GAO is required under the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act to monitor agency progress toward the goals, which are coordinated by the Office of Management and Budget.

Drafted in consultation with an interagency working group, the goals include such plans as the Office of Personnel Management’s goal of “increasing access to health insurance” and the Social Security Administration’s goal of “faster hearing decisions” for handling challenges relating to eligibility for benefits.

GAO reviewed 102 agency priority goals from 24 agencies for 2012 to 2013, with a focus on OPM and the departments of Homeland Security; Housing and Urban Development; Transportation; and Veterans Affairs.

OMB guidance, the report said, often did not require agencies to measure progress on a regular schedule, such as quarterly, and generally lacked a procedure for interim milestones and regularly collecting performance data. In addition, auditors found that “agencies did not fully explain the relationship between” agency priority goals and the larger, cross-agency goals established by the administration.”

In commenting on a draft, the agencies generally declared that they would update GAO on progress as information becomes available.

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:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

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