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GAO Reviews Prospects for Effective GPRA Implementation

June 13, 1997

The Government Accounting Office (GAO) recently released its assessment of federal agencies' progress towards implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA). GPRA requires that executive agencies prepare multi-year strategic plans, annual performance plans, and annual performance reports. The agencies must submit a strategic plan to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and Congress by September 30, 1997.

GAO found that agency efforts have produced mixed results that will lead to highly uneven government-wide implementation in the fall of 1997. Although agencies are likely to meet the upcoming statutory deadlines for producing initial strategic plans and annual performance plans, GAO found that the documents will not be of a consistently high quality or as useful for congressional and agency decision making as originally intended.

GAO determined that agencies are confronting five key challenges: (1) establishing clear agency missions and strategic goals, especially when program efforts are overlapping or fragmented; (2) measuring performance, particularly when the federal contribution to a result is difficult to determine; (3) generating the results-oriented performance information needed to set goals and assess progress; (4) instilling a results-oriented organizational culture within agencies; and (5) linking performance plans to the budget process.

Copies of the report, The Government Performance and Results Act: 1997 Government-wide Implementation Will Be Uneven, (GAO/GGD-97-109) and related testimony (GAO/GGD-97-113) are available from the GAO at 202/512-6000. The publications are also available on the GAO home page at www.gao.gov