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Planning and Programming at GAO A Case Study. Victor Rezendes Managing Director Strategic Issues. GAO’s Role.

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planning and programming at gao a case study
Planning and Programming at GAOA Case Study

Victor Rezendes

Managing Director

Strategic Issues

gao s role
GAO’s Role
  • GAO’s role has been to support the Congress in carrying out its constitutional responsibilities and to help improve the performance and assure accountability of government for the benefit of the American people
  • We do this in four fundamental ways:
    • Oversight–preventing and detecting fraud, waste, and abuse
    • Insight–making government more efficient and effective
    • Foresight–examining the role of government
    • Adjudication–bid protest resolution, legal opinions (e.g. appropriations law)
the nature of gao s work
The Nature of GAO’s Work

FY 1966

FY 1981

FY 1998

FY 2002

R& D



the evolving role of the sai
The Evolving Role of the SAI
  • Our rapidly changing world is changing expectations
      • Increasing global interdependency
      • Changing security threats
      • Transition to knowledge-based economies
      • Changing demographics and quality of life issues
      • Rapidly evolving science and technology
      • Rising health care costs and challenges
      • Evolving governance structures
      • Public expectations for improved government performance and accountability
      • Long-range fiscal challenges

Composition of Federal SpendingBy Budget Function




Social Security

Medicare & Medicaid


Net interest

All other spending

Source: Budget of the United States Government, FY 2004, Office of Management and Budget.


Composition of Spending as a Share of GDP Assuming Discretionary Spending Grows with GDP after 2003and the 2001 Tax Cuts Do Not Sunset

Percent of GDP


Note: Assumes currently scheduled Social Security benefits are paid in full throughout the simulation period.

Source: GAO’s January 2003 analysis.

gao s budget authority and fte levels fiscal years 1992 2002
GAO’s Budget Authority and FTE LevelsFiscal Years 1992-2002

Dollars in millions

FTE level







Fiscal years

Full Time


Budget authority*

*Budget authority is shown in inflation-adjusted 1992 dollars


Effects of Responses to BudgetaryCuts, Downsizing, and Outsourcing

  • Lack of strategic alignment
  • Inadequate accountability for performance
  • Skills imbalances
  • Workload imbalances for remaining skilled workers
  • Succession planning challenges
  • Outdated performance appraisal systems
  • Reduced investments in people

Strategic Planfor Serving the Congress

Organizational Structure

  • Layers, units and locations
  • Horizontal and vertical axes

Annual Planning

  • Annual Performance Plan
  • Budget Request

(Resource Allocation)


  • Performance Measurement
  • Performance Management
  • P&A Report


  • Workforce Planning
  • Knowledge & Skills Inventory
  • Training
  • Information Technology

Risk-Based Engagement Management Process (Portfolio Management)

  • Quality Assurance
strategic planning
Strategic Planning
  • Six year plan is updated every 2 years to coincide with each new Congress
  • First strategic plan prepared in 2000; first update issued June 2002 covering FY 2002-2007
strategic planning14
Strategic Planning
  • Planning process based on model practices of other organizations
  • Case study done on first cycle; update cycle incorporated lessons learned
  • Planning process is ongoing and evolving
client outreach and consultation
Client Outreach and Consultation
  • Plan begins and ends with the Congress
  • Annual outreach effort prior to developing plan, involving all GAO teams and the Comptroller General:
    • Determining agenda
    • Feedback on performance
  • Systematic feedback on products
stakeholder consultation
Stakeholder Consultation
  • Major GAO stakeholders = other congressional agencies, accountability organizations, federal agencies, public policy organizations
  • Understanding stakeholders helps to identify our strengths and weaknesses
  • Consultation can also lead to collaboration
    • Joint planning—identifying opportunities to pursue common goals and objectives
    • Developing strategic relationships to accomplish common goals
external environmental scan
External (Environmental) Scan
  • Identification of emerging issues and trends
  • “Theme team” originally, now institutionalizing process
    • “Knowledge stewards”
    • Special studies
    • Regional environmental scans
    • Speaker series
internal scan
Internal Scan
  • Assessments of internal capacities: human capital, processes, technology, environment
  • Sources
      • Employee feedback
      • Skills inventory
      • Concept of operations
      • Others
developing and updating the plan
Developing and Updating the Plan
  • Both managers and staff develop and update plan
    • Senior leaders — Overall mission, core values, and strategic goals and objectives
    • Team managers and staff — Specific performance goals and key efforts
  • Draft plan reviewed internally and externally; posted to our Web site with electronic comment feature
  • Strategic plan and performance and accountability plans and reports are online

GAO’S Efforts to Develop a Skilled Workforce

  • Self-assessment checklist
  • Human capital profile
  • Workforce & succession planning
  • Employee feedback survey & suggestion program
  • Employee Advisory Council
  • Enhanced employee communications & participation
  • Skills & knowledge inventory
  • Employee preference survey
  • Frequent flyer miles
  • Training/development
  • Recruiting & college relations
  • Recognition & rewards
  • Flexitime & flexiplace
  • Business casual dress & business cards
  • Enabling technologies
  • Opportunity/inclusiveness
  • Mentor/buddy programs
  • Commuting subsidy
  • College loan repayment
  • Competency-based employee appraisal system

Competency-BasedPerformance Appraisal

  • Clear link to our strategic plan and core values
  • Fair, honest, accurate and non-discriminatory assessment of performance based on standards that are valid, properly applied, and transparent to employees
  • Sound basis for enhancing the performance capacity of all staff, rewarding high-performing staff, and dealing with “below expected performers.”h with “below expected” performers
institutional risk management
Institutional Risk Management
  • Congressional and agency protocols (policies, procedures, transparency)
    • International accountability and other organizations protocols planned
    • Domestic accountability protocols also being considered
  • Partnering with other accountability organizations
  • Constructive engagements with agencies
  • Client feedback (e.g. surveys)
institutional risk management28
Institutional Risk Management
  • Seven step engagement management process

1. Formally accept engagement

2. Approve initiation of engagement

3. Commit to methodology and milestones

4. Stakeholders agree on message

5. Approval by senior managers

6. Receipt of comments by audited agency

7. Issue and distribute product publicly

gao high risk program
GAO High-Risk Program
  • Started in 1990 with focus on fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement
  • Evolved to include major economy, efficiency, effectiveness, and transformation challenges
  • Updates issued at the start of each new Congress

Identifying High Risk in

Government Programs

Risk is seriously detrimental to

Health or safety

Service delivery

National security

National defense

Economic growth

Privacy or citizens’ rights

Risk could result in

Significantly impaired service or program failure

Significantly reduced effectiveness or reduced efficiency

Injury or loss of life

Unreliable decision-making data

Reduced confidence in government

Unauthorized disclosure, manipulation or misuse of sensitive information

Quantitative threshold: $1 billion in assets or revenues must be at risk.


GAO’sHigh RiskList

High Risk Areas

Year Designated High Risk

Addressing Challenges in Broad-based Transformations

Protecting Information Systems Supporting the Federal Government and The Nation’s Critical Infrastructures

Strategic Human Capital Management*

U.S. Postal Service Transformation Efforts and Long-Term Outlook*

Implementing and Transforming the New Department of Homeland Security

Modernizing Federal Disability Programs *

Federal Real Property *

Ensuring Major Technology Investments Improve Services

FAA Air Traffic Control Modernization

IRS Business Systems Modernization

DOD Systems Modernization

Providing Basic Financial Accountability

DOD Financial Management

IRS Financial Management

Forest Service Financial Management

FAA Financial Management

Reducing Inordinate Program Management Risks


Collection of Unpaid Taxes

DOD Inventory Management

Student Financial Aid Programs

HUD Single-Family Mortgage Insurance and Rental Assistance Programs

Earned Income Credit Noncompliance

DOD Support Infrastructure Management

Medicaid Program *

Managing Large Procurement Operations More Efficiently

DOD Weapon Systems Acquisition

Department of Energy Contract Management

NASA Contract Management

DOD Contract Management


























*Additional authorizing legislation is likely to be required as one element of addressing this high-risk area.

next steps
Next Steps
  • Institutionalize environmental scan
  • Build on stakeholder relationships
  • Better align strategic planning with annual planning and budget processes
  • Implement balanced scorecard of performance measures