Senate report calls for improved reporting of GPRA information

Senate report calls for improved reporting of GPRA information

Agencies must improve performance plans, according to a Senate Appropriations Committee special report examining the impact of the Government Performance and Results Act.

The three foundations of the 1993 law are strategic plans, annual performance plans and annual performance reports.

Agencies delivered the first performance plans in February of 1998 and the first performance reports this past March.

The committee concluded that six factors lessened the quality and limited the usefulness of the performance plans:

• The quality of agency goals and measures

• Agency vulnerability to external factors in achieving goals

• The accuracy of agency data

• Agency responsiveness to General Accounting Office and congressional concerns and recommendations

• The quality and frequency of consultations between agency and congressional staff members

• Agency commitment to comply with GPRA requirements.

In the report, released last month, the committee said its chief concern was the reliability of the data included in the performance plans. 'The usefulness of an agency performance plan to the Appropriations Committee is commensurate with its clarity, reliability and goal achievability,' the committee concluded.

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The committee called for greater coordination between agencies and Congress to analyze the necessary data for program funding. 'This coordinated effort will encourage the integration of the Results Act with the budget process and facilitate an understanding of the link between performance plans and budget requests,' the report said.

Better coordination would also help eliminate duplication of services. For example, the fiscal 2000 Agriculture Department and related agencies appropriations bill provided $20 million for a water and sewer improvement program by the Rural Development agency. The Environmental Protection Agency this year also received $30 million for a nearly identical project. The two programs also have two separate sets of rules, applications and reporting requirements, the Senate report noted.

The full report is posted on the Thomas Web site, at thomas.loc.gov. The report number is 106-347.

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