Performance not measuring up, GAO finds

GAO report: "Managing for Results"

Federal managers are not making much progress in managing for results, according

to the General Accounting Office.

In a recent report, GAO found that the Government Performance and Results

Act of 1993 — the law designed to bring performance measurement to government — has been a challenge for agencies.

GPRA requires agencies to focus on the results of their activities, such

as improved responsiveness or program quality, and to develop multiyear

strategic plans, annual performance plans and annual performance reports.

GAO found that many areas remain in which change has not occurred. For instance,

managers reported that their top leadership still did not show a "consistently

strong commitment to achieving results." About 57 percent of managers overall

reported such a commitment to a great or very great extent in 1997, compared

with 53 percent in 2000.

In addition, although more managers reported having performance measures,

fewer reported using them extensively. In 2000, 84 percent of managers overall

said there are performance measures for the programs they are involved with — up from 76 percent in 1997. Actually using this information however, ranged

from 38 percent for developing and managing contracts to 56 percent for

setting program priorities.

These statistics are "disturbing," GAO said. "It suggests that efforts to

increase the focus on results and the use of performance information are

not penetrating the federal bureaucracy."

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