Most agencies miss performance, budget link

Most government agencies are doing a good job defining relationships between proposed information technology programs and performance goals, but less than half are explaining how money spent will achieve those goals, according to a report by the General Accounting Office released earlier this week.

GAO's conclusions follow a review of 35 performance plans, which agencies completed this year for the first time in accordance with the Government Performance and Results Act. GPRA is a 1993 law that requires agencies to link the amount of money they spend on IT to their ability to carry out their missions.

Of the 35 agencies reviewed by GAO, 30 agencies defined a link between the programs they proposed in their budget and their performance goals. But only 14 of the 35 translated the relationships into budgetary terms, the GAO report said.

GAO concluded that agencies' first-year experiences with performance plans show progress in bringing planning and budgeting closer together, but much remains to be done if performance information is to be more useful for budget decision-making.

GAO recommended that the Office of Management and Budget assess the linkages between performance goals and program activities in next year's performance plans and develop an agenda to further clarify the relationship between budgetary resources and results.

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