Managing for Results in Government
Effective performance management helps the federal government to improve outcomes in areas that affect nearly every aspect of Americans lives, from education, healthcare, and housing to national and homeland security.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) (Public Law 111-352) provides enhanced performance planning, management, and reporting tools that can help inform congressional and executive branch decision making to address significant challenges facing our nation. If effectively implemented, GPRAMA could improve information sharing and coordination among federal agencies while helping address issues that hinder the governments ability to address fragmentation, overlap, and duplication. For information and resources on GPRAMA requirements, see table.
Click on the left column to sort alphabetically by requirement and the right column to sort alphabetically by general management topic.
|GPRAMA Requirement||General Topic|
Agency Strategic Plan
Agency Priority Goals
Agency Performance Plan
|Performance Planning and Reporting|
Agency Quarterly Reviews
|Data-Driven Performance Reviews|
Agency Performance Reporting
|Performance Planning and Reporting|
Transparency of Agency Performance
|Public reporting, website|
Reducing Unnecessary Plans and Reports
Federal Government Priority Goals
Federal Government Performance Plan
|Performance Planning and Reporting|
Federal Government Quarterly Reviews
|Data-Driven Performance Reviews|
Federal Government Performance Website
|Public reporting, website|
Leadership at the Governmentwide Level
Agency Leadership Involvement and Accountability
GAO-18-609SP: Published: Sep 5, 2018. Publicly Released: Sep 5, 2018.
Information about whether and how well agencies are reaching their goals is essential to making the federal government more effective. This only works, however, when federal managers use that data to make decisions. Despite various efforts aimed at increasing managers’ use of data in decision making, our work has found little change over the past 20 years. The Office of Management and Budget ha...
GAO-17-775: Published: Sep 29, 2017. Publicly Released: Sep 29, 2017.
The GPRA Modernization Act was designed to help the federal government address longstanding performance and management problems. Among other things, it requires agency leaders to set goals and use data to review progress toward them. We surveyed more than 4,000 federal managers and found overall use of performance data in decision making has dropped since 2007. However, the survey shows that data...
GAO-17-740R: Published: Sep 7, 2017. Publicly Released: Sep 7, 2017.
Federal agencies annually assess their progress towards achieving strategic objectives—the specific outcomes or impacts their various programs and efforts aim to accomplish. We looked at five agencies' experiences conducting these strategic reviews and identified some common themes: The reviews helped focus leadership attention on objectives needing the most attention Agencies conducted their...
GAO-16-818: Published: Sep 21, 2016. Publicly Released: Sep 21, 2016.
Are federal grants rewarding results? A new policy tool called "tiered evidence grantmaking" allows federal agencies to award smaller amounts of grant funding to test promising ideas, and larger amounts to replicate practices with strong evidence of success. To help support innovation and reward results, agencies collect information on how health care, education, and social service projects are p...
GAO-16-693: Published: Aug 30, 2016. Publicly Released: Aug 30, 2016.
The Office of Management and Budget (OMB), General Services Administration (GSA), and the Performance Improvement Council (PIC) took several steps to improve the usefulness of Performance.gov, a website intended to serve as the public window to the federal government's goals and performance. However, their actions do not fully meet selected Digitalgov.gov requirements for federal websites (which a...
GAO-16-622: Published: Jul 7, 2016. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2016.
Federal budget formulation processes include fewer controls and reviews, and provide less information on tax expenditures—which represented an estimated $1.23 trillion in forgone revenues in fiscal year 2015—than for discretionary or mandatory spending. For example, in the President’s budget, tax expenditure revenue loss estimates are presented separately from related spending, making their...
GAO-16-510: Published: Jun 15, 2016. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2016.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires agencies to describe their major management challenges and identify associated performance information in their agency performance plans (APP). GAO found, however, that 14 of 24 agencies reviewed did not describe their major management challenges in their APPs as required. This is, in part, because the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) gui...
GAO-16-509: Published: May 20, 2016. Publicly Released: May 20, 2016.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to coordinate with agencies to develop cross-agency priority (CAP) goals, which are 4-year outcome-oriented goals covering a number of complex or high-risk management and mission issues.Examples of CAP goals and goal statements For the current set of CAP goals covering the period from 2014-2018, OMB and...
GAO-15-819: Published: Sep 30, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 30, 2015.
GAO's work over the past 2 years shows that implementation of the GPRA Modernization Act (GPRAMA) continues to be uneven, with varying effects on agencies' performance management. Some progress has been made in areas where GAO has made prior recommendations; however, GAO has continued to identify a range of long-standing challenges in the four areas discussed below.The executive branch still needs...
GAO-15-788: Published: Sep 10, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 10, 2015.
The six agencies GAO reviewed generally did not publicly report on how they ensured the accuracy and reliability of performance information used to measure progress on their highest priority performance goals, referred to as agency priority goals (APGs). The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires agencies to identify the following when publicly reporting on their APGs: 1) how performance...
GAO-15-646: Published: Sep 9, 2015. Publicly Released: Sep 9, 2015.
Pay for Success (PFS), also known as Social Impact Bonds, is a new contracting mechanism to fund prevention programs, where investors provide capital to implement a social service— for example, to reduce recidivism by former prisoners. If the service provider achieves agreed upon outcomes, the government pays the investor, usually with a rate of return, based on savings from decreased use of mor...
GAO-15-602: Published: Jul 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2015.
GAO identified seven practices federal agencies can employ to facilitate effective strategic reviews and illustrated aspects of those practices through examples from the strategic review processes conducted at the Departments of Agriculture (USDA), Education (Education), Homeland Security (DHS), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Nationa...
GAO-15-752T: Published: Jul 29, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 29, 2015.
Since the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) became law in May 2014, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury (Treasury) have taken significant steps towards implementing key provisions. These steps include the release of 27 data standards, draft technical documentation, and implementation guidance to help federal agencies meet their responsi...
GAO-15-579: Published: Jul 7, 2015. Publicly Released: Jul 7, 2015.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires that federal agencies review progress on agency priority goals (APG) at least once a quarter. GPRAMA requires that reviews be conducted by top agency leaders, involve APG goal leaders and other contributors, and be used to identify at-risk goals and strategies to improve performance. While GPRAMA requires that agencies conduct reviews, it also r...
GAO-15-49SP: Published: Apr 14, 2015. Publicly Released: Apr 14, 2015.
To supplement its annual reports on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, GAO has developed a guide for analysts—including federal, state, and local auditors; congressional staff; researchers; and consultants—and policymakers—including congressional decision makers and executive branch leaders. Using this guide, analysts and policymakers can identify and evaluate instances of fragmentatio...
GAO-15-25: Published: Nov 13, 2014. Publicly Released: Nov 13, 2014.
In a governmentwide survey of agency Performance Improvement Officers (PIO), GAO found uneven levels of evaluation expertise, organizational support within and outside the organization, and use across the government. The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (GPRA) is a key component of the enabling environment for federal evaluation capacity, having established a solid foundation of agen...
GAO-15-83: Published: Oct 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 31, 2014.
To date, the approach used by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and agencies has not led to the inventory of all federal programs, along with related budget and performance information, envisioned in the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA). In developing the inventory, OMB allowed for significant discretion in several areas—leading to a variety of approaches for defining programs and...
GAO-15-84: Published: Oct 24, 2014. Publicly Released: Oct 24, 2014.
GAO reviewed the customer service standards at Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Forest Service, Federal Student Aid (FSA), the National Park Service (NPS), and two services in the Veterans Benefits Administration (VBA)—disability compensation and Veterans' Group Life Insurance (VGLI). GAO found that none of the agencies' standards included all of the key elements of customer service standard...
GAO-14-747: Published: Sep 26, 2014. Publicly Released: Sep 26, 2014.
Agencies' reported use of performance information, as measured by GAO's use of performance information index, generally did not improve between 2007 and 2013. The index was derived from a set of survey questions in the 2007 and 2013 surveys that reflected the extent to which managers reported that their agencies used performance information for various management activities and decision making. GA...
GAO-14-639: Published: Jul 22, 2014. Publicly Released: Jul 22, 2014.
Agency priority goal leaders GAO interviewed were generally highly-placed within their agencies—for example, several were heads of agencies—and reported a range of responsibilities related to managing agency priority goals (APG), such as laying out goal strategies. A majority of the goal leaders said the goal leader designation had benefits for their APGs, such as greater visibility for the go...
GAO-14-526: Published: Jun 10, 2014. Publicly Released: Jun 10, 2014.
CAP Goal Progress. The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to coordinate with agencies to: (1) establish outcome-oriented, federal government priority goals (known as cross-agency priority, or CAP, goals) with annual and quarterly performance targets and milestones; and (2) report quarterly on a single website now known as Performance.gov the...
GAO-14-436T: Published: Mar 12, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 12, 2014.
A number of areas on the President's Management Agenda are consistent with issues highlighted by GAO's work on the High Risk Program, its annual reports on fragmentation, overlap, and duplication, and other work related to long-standing management challenges. These include, for example: using information technology to better manage for results; addressing improper payments; expanding strategic sou...
GAO-13-752T: Published: Jul 10, 2013. Publicly Released: Jul 10, 2013.
Three long-standing major impediments prevented GAO from expressing an opinion on the U.S. government's 2012 accrual-based consolidated financial statements: (1) serious financial management problems at the Department of Defense (DOD), (2) the federal government's inability to adequately account for and reconcile intragovernmental activity and balances between federal entities, and (3) the federal...
GAO-13-570: Published: Jun 26, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2013.
In a governmentwide survey, GAO found that most federal managers lack recentevaluations of their programs. Thirty-seven percent reported that an evaluation had been completed within the past 5 years of any program, operation, or project they were involved in. Another 40 percent of managers reported that they did not know if an evaluation had been completed. However, 80 percent of managers who did...
GAO-13-519SP: Published: Jun 26, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2013.
This e-publication supplements our report, Managing for Results: Executive Branch Should More Fully Implement the GPRA Modernization Act to Address Pressing Governance Challenges (GAO-13-518). The purpose of this e-publication is to provide information from our web-based survey of federal managers on their observations on and perceptions of results-oriented management topics. Such topics included...
GAO-13-518: Published: Jun 26, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 26, 2013.
The executive branch has taken a number of steps to implement key provisions of the GPRA Modernization Act (the act). The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) developed interim cross-agency priority (CAP) goals, and agencies developed agency priority goals (APG). Agency officials reported that their agencies have assigned performance management leadership roles and responsibilities to officials w...
GAO-13-517: Published: Jun 6, 2013. Publicly Released: Jun 6, 2013.
The GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) requires Performance.gov to provide program and performance information accessible to the public and members and committees of Congress. GAO used leading practices from HowTo.gov, a key source of guidance for federal website development and management, to assess the website and found that although Performance.gov incorporates some leading practices, oppo...
GAO-13-174: Published: Apr 19, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 19, 2013.
For 102 agency priority goals (APGs) for 2012 to 2013 that GAO reviewed, agencies implemented three GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (the act) requirements. Agencies identified (1) a target level of performance within a 2-year time frame; (2) how their APGs contribute to their strategic goals; and (3) an agency official responsible for achieving each APG. These represent important accomplishments, b...
GAO-13-356: Published: Apr 16, 2013. Publicly Released: Apr 16, 2013.
The designation of senior-level officials to key performance management roles with responsibilities under the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) has helped elevate accountability for performance management within federal agencies and ensure high-level involvement, according to officials GAO interviewed. The 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies have...
GAO-13-228: Published: Feb 27, 2013. Publicly Released: Feb 27, 2013.
GAO identified nine leading practices to promote successful data-driven performance reviews--referred to as quarterly performance reviews--at the federal level.Agency leaders use data-driven reviews as a leadership strategy to drive performance improvement.Key players attend reviews to facilitate problem solving.Reviews ensure alignment between agency goals, program activities, and resources.Agenc...
GAO-12-621SP: Published: Jun 15, 2012. Publicly Released: Jun 15, 2012.
GPRAMA requires OMB and agencies to consult with relevant committees, obtaining majority and minority views, about proposed goals at least once every 2 years. Specifically, OMB is required to consult with relevant committees with broad jurisdiction on crosscutting priority goals. Agencies are to consult with their relevant appropriations, authorization, and oversight committees when developing or...
GAO-12-620R: Published: May 31, 2012. Publicly Released: May 31, 2012.
The act requires that OMB develop federal government priority goals (crosscutting goals) and a federal government performance plan, which is to be updated annually and released concurrently with the Presidents budget. Specifically, it requires OMB, starting with the 2015 budget and in coordination with agencies and in consultation with the Congress, to developevery 4 yearslong-te...
GAO-12-215R: Published: Dec 9, 2011. Publicly Released: Dec 9, 2011.
Many federal program efforts, such as those related to ensuring food safety, providing homeland security, monitoring incidence of infectious diseases, or improving response to natural disasters, generally require the effective collaboration of more than one agency. As we have recently testified before each of Congressional subcommittees and the task force, the Government Performance and Results Ac...