Agencies have a long way to go before they will be able to truly link mission performance information to their budgets, officials tell a House subcommittee
Even with the first mandatory performance reports behind them, agencies
and Congress have a long way to go before they will be able to truly link
mission performance information to their budgets, officials testified before
the House on Thursday.
Federal agencies submitted their first reports to the Office of Management
and Budget under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) last
year, starting a new phase in the governmentwide attempt to link agencies'
program performance to their missions and their funding.
Those reports have received varying levels of praise and condemnation
from people within government for their ability to establish that link and
to set goals based on performance outcomes rather than outputs. Now Congress
is trying to determine what steps are needed to improve the next round of
reports and the overall process so that GPRA is used to improve government's
"I have not seen the agencies using the [GPRA] as a helpful management
tool," said Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas), chairman of the House Results
Caucus, testifying before the House Government Reform Committee's Government
Management, Information and Technology Subcommittee. "The performance plans
that agencies produce are often still too broad."
Agencies' biggest challenge is making the link between performance measurements
and program missions and then feeding that information back into the program
formation process, said Joshua Gotbaum, executive associate director, controller
and acting deputy director for management at OMB.
"The outcome that we are trying to get is in agencies using the [performance]
outcome information in how they manage their programs," he said.
Congress also has something to learn before GPRA will be a complete
success, said Rep. Jim Turner (R-Texas), ranking member on the House subcommittee.
"The success of GPRA will lie not only on the agency managers. It's going
to rely on the ability of Congress to take its part," he said.
GPRA must become "part of the culture of Congress," Turner said, and
to do so, members of authorization and appropriations committees will have
to think of agency programs in terms of the performance results information
that agencies put in their reports.
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