Enacted in 2010, the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act provides the foundation by which Federal agencies are held accountable for establishing management processes and setting performance goals and objectives that deliver results for the American taxpayer. Designed to help focus agencies on their highest priorities and create a culture where data and empirical evidence plays a greater role in policy, budget, and management decisions, the law also created transparent roles and responsibilities for ensuring leadership engagement – one of the most important aspects of any effective performance management system. The Act codified and strengthened existing resources for performance management, including the creation of the Chief Operating Officer (COO) and Performance Improvement Officers (PIO) within the federal agencies, and the establishment of the interagency Performance Improvement Council (PIC).
The Federal performance framework rests on a few proven management practices:
- Engaging senior managers,
- Focusing on a limited number of priority goals,
- Regular, data-driven performance reviews that encompass a broad range of qualitative and quantitative inputs, and
- Strengthening agency capabilities, collaboration, and knowledge for managing programs more effectively and efficiently.
Goal setting forces the coordination of priorities and resources, clarifying what success is, communicating priorities, and motivating Federal managers to tackle pressing management challenges. Through a combination of long-term and near-term goal-setting, the Administration focuses its efforts on implementing a limited number of actionable goal strategies to advance the well-being of the American people. This goal setting entails:
- Cross-Agency Priority Goals: Presidential priorities which are long-term in nature that require interagency coordination to overcome pressing management challenges.
- Agency Priority Goals: The Department heads of major Federal agencies set approximately 4 to 5 goals that reflect the top near-term, implementation-focused priorities to be achieved over the next two years.
- Strategic Objectives: The long-term objectives, outcomes, and impacts an agency hopes to accomplish throughout the term of the Administration.
OMB policy and guidance to Federal agencies for implementing the GPRA Modernization Act can be found in OMB Circular A-11, Part 6.