Federal Manager's Daily Report

The Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool is meant to provide a consistent approach to evaluating federal programs during budget formulation, said the General Accounting Office in a recent report citing some of the challenges and opportunities it presents.

It said the program, which was used to help formulate President Bush’s 2005 budget request by evaluating about 40 percent of government programs, needs stronger guidance and that OMB should clarify information requirements and more systematically select programs for evaluation, expand its dialog with Congress, and integrate PART with the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993, strengthening both.

However, GAO qualified that PART is not a substitute for the GPRA’s strategic, longer-term focus on thematic goals, and broadly applicable evaluations.

To increase the significance of PART evaluations and impact congressional debate, OMB should solicit input from Congress to determine those programs that should be assessed and educate key congressional committees about how to leverage PART information in authorization, appropriations and oversight processes, said GAO.