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:

  • 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.