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GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 Explained

GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 Explained

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Published by John Kamensky
President Obama signed legislation that significantly revised the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. This guide highlights the major changes.
President Obama signed legislation that significantly revised the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. This guide highlights the major changes.

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Published by: John Kamensky on Jan 24, 2011
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 Explained
Congress recently passed – and President Obama just signed -- legislation updating the 18-year-old Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).
 This update effort started several yearsago through the efforts of CongressmanHenry Cuellar (D-TX) then evolved morerecently with support from Senators Tom Carper (D-DE) and Mark Warner(D-VA). The update is based on more than 15 years of experience – documentedthrough numerous GAO reports thatculminated in a 2004 overarchingassessment. This experience includedboth the evolution of agency practicesas well as increased access toinformation and collaboration via theInternet. The original 1993 law required agenciesto create multi-year strategic plans,annual performance plans, and annualperformance reports. The newlegislation makes some significantchanges – about 150 actions by onecount – to existing law and will takeseveral years to implement.
Overview of New Law
The new legis-lation creates a more definedperformance framework by prescribinga governance structure and by betterconnecting plans, programs, andperformance information. As describedin the Senate committee report, the newlaw requires more frequent reportingand reviews (quarterly instead of annually) that are intended to increasethe use of performance information inprogram decision-making. The law will likely change behaviors inthe executive branch by creating a moreexplicit fact-based decision-makingframework to implement programs andbe more results-oriented. Specificelements include:
Revised agency strategic planningrequirements.
Revised agency annual performanceplanning requirements.
Revised agency performance re-porting requirements.
New requirements to designatecross-cutting federal priority goalsand agency-level priority goals.
New requirements for quarterlyreviews and reporting of govern-mentwide and agency-level prioritygoals.
Codification of the existing govern-ance framework that evolved overthe past 15 years. Specifically, itlegislatively creates (1) chief opera-ting officers, (2) program improve-ment officers, (3) a governmentwideperformance improvement council,and (4) a governmentwide perform-ance web-site.
Other new implementation actions,such as better training for programmanagers and a timetable for action.
Will Take Two to Tango.
But for the lawto be effective, Congress may have tochange its behavior as well. Forexample, the law requires greaterconsultation with Congress in thedesignation of cross-cutting andagency-level priority goals, as well as inthe development of agency strategicplans. But to do this, Congress will
have to find new ways to coordinate itsown efforts across committee jurisdictions. EPA and HomelandSecurity, for example, each report toover 70 committees andsubcommittees, often with differingpriorities, so Congress will likely haveto find a way to coordinate internally inorder to provide meaningful input. This will only increase when the law’sprovisions for obtaining congressionalinput on cross-agency goals becomeeffective.* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
1. Agency Strategic Plans
The new law revises agency strategic planning requirements under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) by changing when they are prepared to align with presidential terms of office, requires greater cross-agency alignment of goals and programs, and details the congressional consultation process in the development of the plans.
According to the Senate committeereport accompanying the new law:
“Under GPRA, an agency is currently required to develop a strategic plan at least every three years to cover the  following five year period. This reporting timeframe for updating strategic plans does not correspond to presidential terms. It makes little sense to require an update of a strategic plan shortly before a new administration is scheduled to take office, as changes in political leadership often result in new objectives and can render preexisting plans unuseful.” 
  The new law:
“. . . addresses this issue by modifying the schedule for revising agency strategic plans to align with presidential terms. The bill requires strategic plans cover a period of no less than four years and allows the agency to make adjustments to the plan to reflect significant changes in its operating environment. . . .” 
  The new law also attempts to:
“. . . ensure that agency goals align with broader federal efforts . . . and to  provide greater clarity regarding the impact of employee efforts on overarching goals.” 
In addition, it
“requires an agency to describe how it is working with other agencies to achieve its own goals and objectives, as well as the crosscutting priority goals of the  federal government.” 
 The Senate committee report also notesthe law:
“. . . .strengthens the Congressional consultation process by encouraging agencies to describe how agency goals and objectives incorporate the views and suggestions obtained through consul- tations with Congress. This legislation clarifies that the agency shall periodi- cally consult with and obtain majority and minority views from its authorizing,appropriations, and oversight commit- tees when developing or making ad-  justments to its strategic plan. It also requires Congressional consultations occur at least once every two years. . . .” 
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
2. Agency Annual PerformancePlans
The new law revises agency annual performance planning requirements under GPRA by requiring a link between the performance goals in the annual plan with the goals in their strategic plans. The plans also must describe the strategies and resources agencies will use, and requires 
the plans to cover a 2-year, rather than a 1- year period.
 The Senate committee report notes:
“GPRA requires executive agencies to develop annual performance plans covering each program activity in the agencies’ budgets.” 
 It continues, noting that the new law:
“. . . requires an agency to describe how the performance goals contained in its  performance plan contribute to the goals and objectives established in the agency’s strategic plan, as well as any overall federal government performance goals. Additionally, this legislation requires that an agency’s performance  plan cover a two-year period, including both the current fiscal year and the next one. Under existing law, an agency’s  performance plan is only required to cover the next fiscal year.” 
 The new law requires agencies toprovide a clear description of thestrategies and resources they intend touse to implement their plan. Accordingto the Senate committee report, it:
“. . . .requires an agency to provide additional information about how the agency plans to achieve its performance goals by identifying clearly defined milestones, the agency officials responsible for ensuring each goal is achieved, and the program activities,regulations, policies and other activities that support each goal.” 
 The committee report continues,noting:
“This legislation also requires the agency to post its performance plan on the agency website concurrent with the submission of the budget for the United States Government.” 
 * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
3. Agency Performance Updates
The new law revises agency performance reporting requirements under GPRA by shifting its emphasis from annual reporting to more regular reporting. It also creates a forcing mechanism that requires OMB to take action on agency “unmet” goals.
According to the Senate committeereport, the new law:
“. . . requires agencies to provide a  performance update at least annually,occurring no later than 150 days after the end of the fiscal year. However,agencies are encouraged to provide more  frequent updates that would provide significant value to the federal government, Congress, or – as noted in the statute: “. . . program partners at a reasonable level of administrative burden.” 
OMB Assessment of Agency Perform-ance.
The new law also adds a new“review and respond” process to theagency performance reporting cycle, forthose goals judged by OMB as being“unmet:”
“Each fiscal year, the Office of Manage- ment and Budget shall determine whether the agency programs or activities meet performance goals and objectives outlined in the agency per-  formance plans and submit a report on unmet goals to— (1) the head of the agency; (2) the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs of the Senate; (3) the Committee on Oversight and Governmental Reform of the House of Representatives; and (4) the Government Accountability Office.
If goals are unmet the first year.
“If an agency’s programs or activities have not 

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