BOX 6-1

Selected Goal-Setting and Reporting Systems

Systems Originating Within the Department:

Department-wide objectives—This annual document lists 20 objectives that are “cascaded down throughout the entire department.” While these objectives incorporate major themes from other goal-setting systems, no report is dedicated exclusively to them (HHS, 2008b).

Government Performance Results Act (GPRA) of 1993—GPRA requires agencies to develop five-year strategic plans, updated every three years, as well as annual plans or annual performance budgets, and annual program performance reports. The strategic plan defines broad, long-term goals and describes broad strategies for their implementation. The annual plan sets specific annual objectives related to the strategic plan’s goals and tracks progress toward them. Annual performance budgets track a broader set of performance indicators, measuring progress on all department activities. While mainly a mechanism for reporting, performance budgets also state goals that will be achieved with available funding. At the close of each fiscal year, the annual performance and accountability report combines performance results with audited financial statements (HHS, 2007).

Secretary’s 500-day plan—Implemented by Secretary Michael Leavitt, the secretary’s 500-day plan provides the department with steps to take over the course of 500 days that will produce results in 5,000 days. The 500-day plan, which builds on the secretary’s principles and priorities, is updated every 200 days. Progress is charted in the 250-day update and the report of major accomplishments (HHS, 2008a).

Systems Originating Outside the Department:

Healthy People—A set of national health objectives focused on prevention, Healthy People was first published in 1979, and subsequent iterations set goals for the years 2000 and 2010. Progress is reported twice each decade as well as in the midcourse review (

President’s Management Agenda (PMA)—The PMA, announced in 2001, identifies five critical management areas designed to produce better program results. Selected federal programs are assessed each quarter with the PMA scorecard, which uses a color-coded evaluation system—“green” indicates full achievement, “yellow” intermediate advancement, and “red” one or more deficiencies (OMB, 2008b).

Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART)—The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) introduced PART in 2002 to examine federal programs in four areas: program purpose and design, strategic planning, program management, and program results. Based on the sum of numerical scores, with “program results” heavily weighted, programs are rated effective, adequate, ineffective, or results not demonstrated. PART is designed to strengthen and reinforce GPRA reporting (OMB, 2008a).

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