Next stop for agency GPRA reports: Capitol Hill

Next stop for agency GPRA reports: Capitol Hill

By Christopher J. Dorobek

GCN Staff

Agency officials recently acknowledged that the pace of implementing the Government Performance and Results Act is mixed.

GPRA requires agencies to focus on actual performance and move away from emphasizing the process, said Alan P. Balutis, former Commerce Department deputy chief information officer.

But both Balutis and a recent report from the General Accounting Office suggest that the critical step for the performance measurements will be the reception they receive in Congress.

Call for support

'The key phase will be how these are accepted on the Hill' and in the Office of Management and Budget, Balutis said at a forum held by the Performance Achievement Association, a coalition of federal contractors.

Many people involved in GPRA are urging lawmakers to make use of the act. 'It's critical that [agencies] in fact be asked about it,' said John Mercer, the former counsel to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee widely considered the architect of GPRA.

Otherwise agencies will infer that Congress does not consider the act a priority, he said.

A GAO report, Managing for Results: Views on Ensuring the Usefulness of Agency Performance Information to Congress, made similar recommendations. 'Improved communication between congressional staff and agency officials about [their] needs might help ensure that congressional information needs are understood and, where feasible, arrangements are made to meet them,' the report stated.

Congress will carefully review the reports, said Rep. Steve Horn (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management, Information and Technology. But he added that more communication among lawmakers, as well as between agencies and Congress, is key.

Balutis this month left his job to become director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology's Advanced Technology Program (see story, page 74).

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