GAO Coaches Lawmakers on Maximizing Cross-Agency Performance

December 12, 2011

The 2010 update to the Government Performance and Results Act presents a "powerful opportunity for agencies to collect and report more timely and useful performance information on crosscutting programs," the Government Accountability Office said in a new report. Members of Congress can effectively use such information in decision-making, as demonstrated in three case studies the auditors provided in the Dec. 9 report.

The law signed by President Obama in January modernized the 1993 GPRA by requiring agencies to commit to an ambitious set of outcome-oriented goals and management priorities, to designate a chief operating officer and a performance improvement officer, and to report results quarterly to the Office of Management and Budget.

GAO, which released a widely noted report in March identifying 34 areas of duplication in federal programs across agencies, this summer interviewed agency and congressional staff on how Congress can best exploit GPRA to "identify the various agencies and federal activities -- including spending programs, regulations and tax expenditures -- that contribute to crosscutting programs and to ensure that coordination mechanisms are in place." 

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