Streamlining Government: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen OMB's Approach to Improving Efficiency Page: 11 of 73
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primarily focusing on the PART program type.13 Additional criteria were
that the selected programs had relatively large fiscal year 2009 funding
levels,14 and variety in the number of efficiency measures associated with
the programs. In addition, we reviewed program documents, OMB
documents, including PART assessments, and agency Web sites. We
conducted a literature review as well as expert interviews to identify the
elements of a typical efficiency measure, and to identify alternative
approaches to improving efficiency. We interviewed officials from OMB
and from the 21 selected programs, as well as officials from the five
departments who were knowledgeable about performance measurement
and financial systems for the departments. See appendix I for a more
detailed discussion of our scope and methodology.
We conducted the major portion of this performance audit from
September 2008 to May 2010 in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards. ' Those standards require that we plan and
perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a
reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit
objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.
Background Congress enacted GPRA in part to inform congressional decision making
by providing objective information on the relative effectiveness and
efficiency of federal programs and spending. In addition to requiring
executive agencies to develop strategic and annual performance plans,
and measure and report on progress toward goals, GPRA also emphasized
efficiency. According to the statute, GPRA was intended, among other
'3PART classified programs as one of seven types: direct federal, competitive grant,
block/formula grant, research and development, capital assets and acquisition, credit, and
regulatory. We excluded research and development programs from our sample of selected
programs based on the findings of a 2008 study by The National Academies which raised
questions about the feasibility of developing valid outcome-based efficiency measures for
federal research programs (Evaluating Research Efficiency in the U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency, Committee on Evaluating the Efficiency of Research and Development
Programs at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, The National Academies). We
excluded credit programs from our sample of selected programs because of the relatively
small number of these programs in the selected departments.
14Fiscal year 2009 funding for the selected programs ranged from approximately $80 million
to over $41 billion.
'5Work on the engagement was originally started in October 2006, but subsequently
suspended before resuming in September 2008.
GAO-10-394 Streamlining Government
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United States. Government Accountability Office. Streamlining Government: Opportunities Exist to Strengthen OMB's Approach to Improving Efficiency, report, May 7, 2010; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302236/m1/11/: accessed May 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.