January 29, 1998
MEMORANDUM FOR THE HEADS OF EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS AND AGENCIES
FROM: Franklin D. Raines
SUBJECT: Annual Performance Plans Required by the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA)
This memorandum provides, in the attachment, additional guidance on the annual performance plans that your agencies will be sending to Congress. The plans sent to Congress are the second iteration of the annual plan for fiscal year 1999. The first iteration, the initial plan, was to be sent to OMB last September with the agency's budget request.
The substance of this guidance was previously distributed in draft form to the agencies in December, and discussed at a special meeting of the President's Management Council on January 13, 1998. A future revision to OMB Circular No. A-11 will incorporate this guidance.
Guidance on Preparation and Submission
of the Final Annual Performance Plan
Note: The annual performance plan may have three iterations: the initial plan sent to OMB with the budget request; the final plan sent to Congress in February; and a revised final plan that may be prepared after Congress acts on the agency's budget request.
Q. 1 When must agency annual performance plans be sent to Congress?
A. There is no set date for sending the final annual performance plan to Congress. Submission will follow, not precede, transmittal of the President's Budget to Congress. Sending the plan to Congress simultaneously with the agency budget justification (justification of estimates) is appropriate and useful. Any agency anticipating that its plan will not be sent to Congress within 21 days of the President's Budget transmittal is encouraged to coordinate with its relevant Congressional committees on a date for plan submission.
Q. 2 Who should receive copies of the annual performance plan?
A. A copy of the annual plan should be provided to the chairmen and ranking minority members of the relevant authorization and oversight committees, and appropriations subcommittees. Copies may also be distributed to other members of Congress or committees.
As soon as practicable after it is sent to Congress, the final annual plan should be made available to the public. Agencies should consider using electronic means, such as the World-Wide-Web, to make the plan available. The ease of retrieving and reading the plan from an electronic site should be considered in the design and format of the plan.
Q. 3 Who sends the annual performance plan to Congress?
A. The revised annual plan should be sent by the agency head (or his or her designee).
Q. 4 Are there any format requirements for the final plan?
A. There is no prescribed format for the final annual performance plan. The final plan may be a separate document or merged with the agency justification of estimates.
Agencies are encouraged to coordinate with the appropriate Congressional committees on format. For an agency whose plan is integrated into its justification of estimates, coordination on format with the appropriation subcommittees could be particularly important.
An agency merging the revised annual plan into its budget justification shall indicate which parts of the merged document constitute the annual performance plan.
Q. 5 May an annual plan include performance goals that are not directly measurable?
A. Section 220.10 provides general guidance on performance goals and indicators. Additionally, GPRA allows an agency to include a performance goal that is not self-measuring, e.g., a goal to "improve health of the elderly population". For any performance goal that is not self-measuring, the agency must also include in its plan one or more performance indicators for that goal, e.g., elderly morbidity rates, disability or physical impairment rates. The performance indicators shall set out specific, measurable values or characteristics related to the performance goal, and which will aid in determining goal achievement.
Q. 6 Should the annual plan include goals for any major management problems in the agency?
A. Performance goals for corrective steps for major management problems should be included for
problems whose resolution is mission-critical, or which could materially impede the achievement
of program goals.
Q. 7 Does OMB review the final performance plan before the agency sends it to Congress?
A. The final annual plan is considered budget-related material. The provisions of subsection 12.9(b) of Part 1 of Circular No. A-11 regarding OMB clearance of such materials prior to their transmittal or release applies to these annual performance plans.
Q. 8 How does an agency transmit an interim revision of its strategic plan to Congress with the final annual plan?
A. Agencies are allowed to make minor adjustments to the strategic plan, and to use the final annual plan as the means for transmitting these adjustments to Congress. These minor adjustments are made in advance of the required 3-year revision cycle, and do not modify that cycle. (See sections 210.2(c) on interim revisions, and 220.7.)
An interim revision of the strategic plan should be a separable part of the final annual plan transmittal. The interim strategic plan revision does not require a formal transmittal (see section 210.15). Agencies should distribute, or otherwise make publicly available, interim revisions of the strategic plan in the same manner that the initial strategic plan was made available.