FEDweek

GAO Finds Strategic Review Process Helpful to Agencies

The strategic review process ordered by the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and subsequent OMB guidance has helped agencies make better-informed decisions in areas such as long-term strategy, budget formulation, and risk management, GAO has reported.

Auditors sampled five agencies–GSA, SBA, State, AID and Treasury–as part of its mandate under the act and found that the strategic reviews helped direct leadership attention to progress on strategic objectives including by providing an opportunity to discuss with OMB staff how progress updates on objectives link with other processes, including budget requests and legislative proposals.

For example, it said Treasury used the process to help develop implementation milestones and metrics for using the DATA Act toward meeting a goal of improving financial management and accounting. Also, SBA created a chief customer officer position and established a customer experience office to help it make progress toward achieving a goal of enhancing relationships with customers, suppliers and stakeholders.

Best practices cited by GAO in conducting strategic reviews include leveraging existing performance and management processes, and sharing lessons learned and planned improvements with leaders of all of an agency’s components.

GAO noted that in July OMB told agencies to develop new strategic goals and objectives and that this year OMB will not hold formal meetings with agencies to assess progress. However, GAO said its findings should be helpful to agencies when those meetings resume.