OMB Gets High Marks for Pursuing Cross Agency Priority Goals

The Obama administration’s efforts to guide program managers’ work toward achieving cross-agency priority goals are paying off, the Government Accountability Office said in a report released Friday.

The goals with such themes as open data, improving customer service and investing in job creation must be named, funded and tracked under the 2010 Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act. The Office of Management and Budget is tasked with working with the interagency Performance Improvement Council to see that agencies appoint goal leaders, review results, set performance measures and obtain cross-agency funding.

Interviews with goal leaders showed that “the increased focus on CAP goal implementation enabled CAP goal teams to request and receive agency resources that helped sustain progress toward goals,” wrote auditors after GAO reviewed content analysis of quarterly updates published from March 2015 through December 2015. “CAP goal teams told GAO that the CAP goal designation increased leadership attention and improved interagency collaboration on these issues.”

The progress reports appear on

The only area in need of improvement is transparency, the report said. Most of the selected CAP goal teams have not established the law’s mandatory quarterly targets, nor fully developed performance measures before reporting.

“Because the CAP goal teams are working to implement policies and activities that span multiple agencies, and in some cases government-wide, it is important that the goal teams clearly communicate the steps they are taking to develop performance measures to ensure that the measures will be aligned with major activities and clearly understood by contributors to the goals,” GAO wrote in one in a series of reports. “With improved performance information, the CAP goal teams will be better positioned to demonstrate the progress that they are making, and will help ensure goal achievement at the end of the four-year goal period in 2018.”

Auditors recommended that OMB and the Performance Improvement Council report on the actions that CAP goal teams are taking to develop performance measures and quarterly targets. OMB staff generally agreed.

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