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Agencies Lose Ground in Performance Management, GAO Finds

OPM and Labor are the only ones to improve in GPRA-compliance survey score.

More than four years after the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act became law, most agencies have shown little progress in using performance data for managing daily operations, a survey found.

The Government Accountability Office, in a report released Friday, found governmentwide compliance with GPRA has declined since 2007. Only the Office of Personnel Management and the Labor Department showed statistically significant increases in the use of performance information, while four other agencies -- NASA, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the Veterans Affairs and Energy departments -- actually declined in their use of performance data, GAO said.

In previous evaluations, auditors have found five leading practices that can enhance use of performance information in decision making. They include: aligning agencywide goals, objectives, and measures; improving the usefulness of performance information; developing the capacity to use performance information; demonstrating management commitment; and communicating performance information frequently and effectively.

“The use of performance information will remain a challenge unless agencies can narrow the gap in use between Senior Executive Service and non-SES managers,” the report said.

GAO made no recommendations, and the Office of Management and Budget generally agreed with the conclusions, the report said, as did the Commerce Department and the General Services Administration. NASA and the Treasury Department, however, said the surveys’ design didn’t provide demographic information about the respondents and may not have included enough members of senior leadership.

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