Implementation of Cross-Agency Performance Goals Improved with OMB Guidance

Published: May 25, 2016

Government PerformanceOMB

OMB is fulfilling its obligations of coordinating with agencies to develop and implement cross-agency priority (CAP) goals as prescribed under the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA), according to GAO.

Last week GAO released “Managing for Results:  OMB Improved Implementation of Cross-Agency Priority Goals, But Could Be More Transparent About Measuring Progress.” The report looks at OMB’s performance related to its role in assisting agencies with CAP goal development and implementation.

CAP goals are 4-year outcome-oriented goals that cut across agency functional areas, and improve cross-agency coordination and best practice sharing.  15 CAP goals were developed for the period from 2014-2018, such as Customer Service, Job-Creating Investment, Lab-to-Market, Open Data, People and Culture, Smarter IT Delivery, and STEM Education. GPRAMA requires OMB, in consultation with CAP goal leaders, to publish progress updates quarterly on

GAO found that OMB and the Performance Improvement Council (PIC) improved the governance and implementation of cross-cutting goals by incorporating lessons learned from the 2012-2014 interim CAP goal period.  OMB and PIC help teams develop performance measures and milestones as part of their ongoing assistance for CAP goal implementation.  They also hold senior-level reviews on CAP goal progress and added agency leaders to the governance structure.

GAO found that OMB’s updated guidance to CAP goal teams assisted them in managing implementation of the goals and in meeting the GPRAMA reporting requirements. Additionally, OMB and the PIC’s efforts resulted in increased leadership attention and improved interagency collaboration for the specific goals reviewed by GAO. 

Conversely, most of the CAP goal teams had not established quarterly targets for all performance measures, but are using milestones to track and report quarterly progress. GAO found CAP goal teams are working to develop performance measures, and are at various stages in the process.

To improve transparency of CAP goal progress, GAO recommended that OMB and PIC report on the actions of CAP goal teams.