Agencies must set 2-year goals by Sept. 12

Friday - 8/19/2011, 5:42pm EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Agencies have until Sept. 12 to finalize between two-and-eight high priority goals for inclusion in the fiscal 2013 budget request.

At the same time, the Office of Management and Budget will lead an effort to establish interim governmentwide high priority goals for release in February when the President submits his budget request to Congress.

OMB Director Jacob Lew and Deputy Director for Management Jeff Zients issued a memo Thursday implementing the provisions in the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act. President Obama signed the bill into law in January.

The GPRA Modernization Act set forth specific steps agencies must take to improve how they manage progress. The law requires quarterly performance reviews, the naming of a specific senior executive responsible for each goal and designates the agency's deputy secretary as its chief operating officer, who carries the broad oversight of the goals.

Lew and Zients' memo details how agencies should implement these new requirements.

"Each agency head and/or the COO, with support from the performance improvement officer, will run data-driven progress reviews and include in the reviews key personnel from other components, programs or agencies, which contribute to the accomplishment of the goals reviewed," the memo stated. "As the GPRA Modernization Act is implemented, changes in the use of performance information should start to occur across the organization and in program partners."

Agency high-priority goals should detail plans to improve outcomes, agency operations and save money.

"The agency priority goals are two year goals for fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2013," the memo stated. "Annual measures used to track progress against the goals should cover the full fiscal year to the extent possible, and quarterly measures and milestones, if preferred."

OMB wants agencies to begin working on and tracking the progress of the goals immediately upon approval.

"The agency priority goals should represent a subset of an agency's strategic plan that the agency would like to accomplish over the next 24 months," the memo stated. "In most cases, agency priority goals should directly contribute to the advancement of at least one strategic goal."

OMB added that the priority goals could be follow-on to or continuations of the 2010-2011 high priority goals.

GPRA Modernization Act required agencies to begin quarterly reviews on how they are meeting their goals starting June 30 and make the goals public.

OMB also told agencies to base their goals on either the 2012 budget request or the 2011 enacted appropriations.

"To ensure ongoing alignment with administration budget policy, some targets may need to be revised following annual appropriations or after the enactment of significant authorizations," OMB stated. "However, agencies should choose priority goals that rely predominantly on implementation and do not require significant new legislative authorization or additional funding."

Agencies submitted draft goals to OMB July 15, and the White House provided feedback Aug. 5. Agencies will submit their recommendations of their final goals for the next two years by Sept. 12.

OMB will return the final list of priority goals in November when it sends the budget passback to agencies.

OMB, meanwhile, will work with agency senior officials to develop governmentwide priority goals.

"OMB will select federal priority goals where increased cross-agency coordination on outcome focused areas is likely to improve progress toward the goal," the memo stated. "While some agency priority goals may be linked to the interim federal priority goals, OMB expects that most agency priority goals will focus on core agency missions. In order for the government to make progress on its federal priority goals, OMB will identify contributing agencies to each goal."

OMB expects to finalize the federal priority goals as part of the 2015 budget request sent to Congress in February 2014.

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