High Turnover Hinders Progress on Agency 'Priority' Goals


The officials designated as point persons for achieving progress toward agency priority goals identified by the White House are hindered by heavy turnover, spotty information sharing and flawed performance plans, a watchdog found.

Government Accountability Office interviews with goal leaders responsible for the White House-identified Agency Priority Goals found progress over the past year but cited some lapses in agency efforts to comply with the 2010 Government Performance and Results Modernization Act.

“A little more than 40 percent of the APGs in our sample had changes in goal leaders between February 2012 and September 2013,” GAO wrote. “This level of turnover may be higher as the current presidential administration nears an end and goal leaders who are political appointees leave their positions.”

Another problem is that many goal leaders had not appointed deputies, the audit found, noting that the Office of Management and Budget encourages deputies to fulfill “the important function of connecting goal strategy with goal implementation.”

The leaders are tasked with reviewing progress quarterly toward the 15 goals—which range from confronting cyber security threats to spurring job-creating investment to encouraging strategic sourcing. But many agencies, auditors suggested, have not created “performance plans that link more directly” to the Agency Priority Goals, which “could help ensure that officials are evaluated on and held responsible for APG progress and outcomes.”

Many goal leaders, GAO said, cooperated with outside sources on pursuing the goals, but reported few mechanisms for information sharing, and most had little interaction with the multi-agency Performance Improvement Council led by OMB.

The auditors recommended that all major agencies appoint a deputy goal leader to support each agency priority goal and ensure that performance plans demonstrate a clear connection with agency priority goals.

OMB and other agencies generally agreed with draft comments, except for the Labor Department, which said the report was “misleading” in implying that the position of goal leader is new.

(Image via tadamichi/Shutterstock.com)

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
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)

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security


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