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Where can I find information on agency performance - such as agency goals and progress on those goals?

Federal agencies provide information to the public on their goals and objectives in numerous ways. Federal agencies identify long-term goals and objectives in their Strategic Plans; they identify annual performance goals in their Annual Performance Plans updated with the President’s Budget each February. Also, leaders of the 15 Cabinet departments and 9 other large Federal agencies have undertaken a new effort to set a few near-term implementation-focused Agency Priority Goals to achieve within a 24-month time frame. These Agency Priority Goals represent a small number of ambitious, outcome-focused performance goals that hinge on strong execution, rather than additional resources or legislative action.

Federal agencies report progress on their performance goals in their Annual Performance Reports or their Performance and Accountability Reports (PARs) which are updated either in February or November each year, respectively. Agencies post their Annual Performance Reports or PARs, Strategic Plans, and Annual Performance Plans, on their websites. provides a one-stop shop for links to this agency information.

As the next step toward making government performance information more easily understood to the public, also supplies, on a single central website, an integrated view of agency strategic goals, strategic objectives, and detailed information on each Agency Priority Goal.  The site also has information about the interim Cross-Agency Priority Goals that were released with the FY 2013 Budget and updates on other government-wide management priorities established under the Accountable Government Initiative. The website, as a whole, begins to comprise a Federal performance plan.


How will performance reporting change with the implementation of GPRA Modernization Act of 2010?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is working with agencies to make the Federal Government’s performance data more accessible and to meet the requirements of the GPRA Modernization Act. has been updated to show agency strategic goals, objectives, and priority goals, as well as Cross-Agency Priority Goals. Currently, Federal agencies have added the first quarterly performance updates for Cross-Agency and Agency Priority Goals. Over time, we will add more information from agency strategic plans, performance plans and reports and we will produce this information in formats that allow users to see trends, look at goals contributing to common themes, see programs contributing to common goals, and cross-reference other related data. 


What are the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals?

To speed progress on cross-government collaboration and tackle government-wide management challenges affecting most agencies, OMB established a limited number of interim Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals in February 2012. The CAP Goals are a subset of Presidential priorities, and are complemented by other cross-agency coordination and goal-setting efforts. The GPRA Modernization Act requires OMB to set CAP Goals for cross-cutting policy and government-wide management areas at least every four years, starting with the 2015 Budget, and to set interim CAP goals with the 2013 Budget.

To develop the CAP Goals, OMB and the Performance Improvement Council worked with senior policy officials and agencies. OMB reached out to congressional committees to seek feedback on CAP Goals. GAO studies were also considered in selecting CAP Goals. 

During congressional consultation, interest was expressed about a variety of issues including government-wide management goals, such as information technology, procurement, skills of the Federal workforce, and open government, as well as about specific policy areas such as energy, poverty reduction, health and welfare. OMB incorporated congressional questions and suggestions as it finalized the CAP Goals. It considered whether draft CAP and Agency Priority Goals existed in the areas identified, whether government-wide or cross-agency action was already moving forward in those areas, whether setting a CAP Goal would likely accelerate progress, the total number of interim CAP Goals, and alignment with Administration priorities. In some areas of interest raised during congressional consultation, such as open government, an Agency Priority Goal will advance progress. In other areas, such as enhancing the skills of the Federal workforce to address future mission needs in a tight fiscal climate, a CAP Goal (in this case, Closing the Skills Gap) will address the issue. Similarly, Congress expressed interest in contracting and improper payments, and we have set CAP Goals in those areas that take into consideration congressional feedback.  Finally, OMB established CAP Goals related to veterans' career readiness and job training, combined with a variety of Agency Priority Goals covering energy, poverty reduction, health and welfare. Effective partnership between the Legislative and Executive Branch is critical to the success of improving government performance, and we are committed to continuing to improve upon this initial congressional consultation process in the coming years. 


What is the source of the data used in the section on Improve IT Investment Management?

The performance data used to track the major IT investments is based on milestone information displayed in agency reports to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) called "Exhibit 300s". Agency CIOs are responsible for evaluating and updating select data on a monthly basis, which is accomplished through interfaces provided on the website. OMB uses Capital Asset Plans, referred to as Exhibit 300, to make both quantitative decisions about budgetary resources consistent with the Administration's program priorities, and qualitative assessments about whether the agency's programming processes are consistent with OMB policy and guidance. This report is submitted by agencies annually as part of the Presidential Budget process. Visit the IT Dashboard for more information on the underlying data.

Where can I get more details and metrics on major IT investments?

Visit the IT Dashboard for more information on the nearly 800 major IT investments categorized as major.


How often does my agency get results from the Applicant and Manager Surveys?

OPM sends survey results to agencies once a quarter (every 3 months). This allows agencies to monitor their efforts and make adjustments to their current strategies and action plans as needed.

What actions are OPM and agencies taking to continue to increase participation of managers completing the survey?

Agencies provide the Managers' Satisfaction Survey to their managers in order to learn about their experiences and perceptions with the recruitment and hiring process as well as applicant quality. This is critical to ensure hiring reform is not just about reducing time to hire but we are effectively attracting top talent to government. To encourage managers to take the survey, which provides that valuable feedback, many agencies have developed focused strategies to increase participation. Strategies include promoting through communication channels, showing how survey results are used to make improvements, and even making the survey mandatory before filling a position. Overall, the variety of approaches is yielding positive results. Hiring reform efforts are highlighting the importance of the managers’ responses and continued participation is expected as a result.

How will agencies measure time to hire?

Time to hire is measured using a government-wide timeframe based on commonly filled agency positions. The model tries to provide a consistent way to measure hiring time by starting when the manager initially validates the need to fill a position and ends with the employee’s first day of work (entering duty.) The model assumes these commonly filled positions can be filled in 80 days; however, certain positions such as specialty or highly technical positions may take longer than this timeframe. The model details the series of steps in the hiring process to help agencies map their own hiring process, compare it against the model, and determine potential areas to focus efforts for improvement.

What is the source of the data used in the section on Hiring the Best Talent?

There are multiple sources for the data in Hiring the Best Talent.  The applicant satisfaction with the application process is a survey question sent to a randomly selected 50 percent sample of USAJOBS applicants who complete and submit their application.  The specific language of the question reads: “What is your overall satisfaction with this job application process?”  The manager satisfaction with applicants is a survey question that is being asked of all hiring managers.  The specific language of the question reads: “Applicants referred had the skills to perform the job.”  The time to hire numbers are reported by all CHCO agencies based on the collection and analysis of their hiring data.  It is important to note that not all agencies are currently able to capture this data with an automated process and not all agencies are able to report on all hires.  The hiring reform progress numbers come from OPM’s review of job opportunity announcements (JOA).  OPM has sampled and analyzed more than 6700 JOAs since November 1, 2010.  The veteran and employees with disabilities data in building an inclusive workplace comes from OPM’s EHRI-SDM. The veteran new hire data represents ALL hires, regardless of work schedule or type of appointment, but does not include transfer-ins. The employees with disabilities new hire data represents non-seasonal, full-time, permanent new hires AND transfer-ins.

What is the source of the data used in the section on Respect and Engage the Workforce?

The source for the Job Satisfaction and Talent Management index scores is the Employee Viewpoint Survey which is now administered annually by OPM.  The Job Satisfaction Index indicates the extent employees are satisfied with their jobs and various aspects thereof. This Index is comprised of the following 7 EVS questions: My work gives me a feeling of personal accomplishment.  I like the kind of work I do. The work I do is important.  How satisfied are you with your involvement in decisions that affect your work?  How satisfied are you with your opportunity to get a better job in your organization? Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your job?  Considering everything, how satisfied are you with your pay? The Talent Management Index indicates the extent employees think the organization has the talent necessary to achieve its organizational goals.  This index is comprised of the following 7 EVS questions: I am given a real opportunity to improve my skills in my organization. My talents are used well in the workplace.  My training needs are assessed. My work unit is able to recruit people with the right skills. The workforce has the job-relevant knowledge and skills necessary to accomplish organizational goals. Supervisors/team leaders in my work unit support employee development.  How satisfied are you with the training you receive for your present job? Employee retention rate comes from OPM’s EHRI-SDM. The retention data represents all permanent, non-student, full-time employees hired two years prior to the measurement timeframe that are still with their agency.

What is the source of the data used in the section on Expect the Best from Employees?

The source for the Results-Oriented Performance Culture and Leadership and Knowledge Management index scores is the Employee Viewpoint Survey which is now administered annually by OPM. The Results-Oriented Performance Culture Index indicates the extent employees believe their organizational culture promotes improvement in processes, products and services, and organizational outcomes. This index is comprised of the following 13 questions: I know how my work relates to the agency's goals and priorities.  Physical conditions (for example, noise level, temperature, lighting, cleanliness in the workplace) allow employees to perform their jobs well.  My performance appraisal is a fair reflection of my performance. The people I work with cooperate to get the job done. Promotions in my work unit are based on merit.  In my work unit, steps are taken to deal with a poor performer who cannot or will not improve. In my work unit, differences in performance are recognized in a meaningful way. Employees have a feeling of personal empowerment with respect to work processes. Creativity and innovation are rewarded.  Pay raises depend on how well employees perform their jobs.  My supervisor supports my need to balance work and other life issues. Discussions with my supervisor/team leader about my performance are worthwhile.  How satisfied are you with the recognition you receive for doing a good job? The Leadership & Knowledge Management Index indicates the extent employees hold their leadership in high regard, both overall and on specific facets of leadership. This index is comprised of the following 12 questions:  My workload is reasonable.  Employees are protected from health and safety hazards on the job. My organization has prepared employees for potential security threats. I have trust and confidence in my supervisor. Overall, how good a job do you feel is being done by your immediate supervisor/team leader?  In my organization, leaders generate high levels of motivation and commitment in the workforce.  Managers/supervisors/team leaders work well with employees of different backgrounds. Managers communicate the goals and priorities of the organization. Managers review and evaluate the organization's progress toward meeting its goals and objectives. I have a high level of respect for my organization's senior leaders. How satisfied are you with the information you receive from management on what's going on in your organization? How satisfied are you with the policies and practices of your senior leaders?

Reduce Contracting Risk:

Develop Acquisition Workforce:


Why are only new awards being measured? Is the agency still responsible for reducing risk on existing contracts?

New awards serve as a useful gauge of changes in contracting practice because agencies can influence these actions most readily. Immediate improvements in contracting practices are more difficult to see in existing contracts, as the course of ongoing contracts cannot be changed as easily over a short period. The ultimate goal is to reduce risk in all federal contract actions. It is expected that the improved practices agencies are putting in place today, even though they may not show an immediate effect on all contracts, will lead to across-the-board benefits over time.

How well did agencies do in meeting the 10 percent goals?

Collectively, twenty-one of the 24 agencies covered by the CFO Act – the largest contracting agencies in the federal government – reduced their percentage of dollars awarded in new noncompetitive contracts or competitive contracts receiving only one bid by at least 10 percent. Sixteen of the 24 agencies reduced their percentage of dollars awarded in new T&M/LH or cost-reimbursement contracts by at least 10 percent. 


Can an agency still be making progress and achieving success, even if it has not reduced its risk by 10 percent?

Yes. Many of the acquisition problems agencies are being asked to address developed over a long period of time and cannot be solved instantly. In some cases, risk is being reduced incrementally. For example, where the level of uncertainty regarding the agency’s requirements prevents the agency from negotiating a fixed price, some agencies have moved from time-and-materials or labor-hour contracts, which provide the least incentive for cost control, to cost-reimbursement contracting. This interim step, especially for complex requirements, also reduces risk for taxpayers, because agencies can more effectively monitor a contractor’s costs on a cost-reimbursement contract.

If an agency has not reduced its risk by at least 10 percent, does that necessarily mean the agency is exposing taxpayers to unreasonable risk?

No. High risk contracts can be appropriate under certain circumstances. For example, a cost-reimbursement contract might be appropriate for critical research, leading edge innovation, and other needs where there is considerable uncertainty regarding the solution that ultimately will be chosen from among the alternatives being considered. Noncompetitive contracts enable agencies to address requirements that can only be satisfied by one source or that arise during emergencies when time allows for only limited consideration of offers.

Some agencies may have awarded a high risk contract (or contracts) that may be appropriate for the agency’s requirements but is disproportional to the pool of activity being measured. Such requirements might represent an atypical, non-recurring event. In other cases, agencies may have entered into what is, for purposes of data analysis, an insignificant amount of activity during that period. Either of these circumstances may cause the chart to show a significant swing in activity.

Every agency has been charged to remain vigilant in its efforts to cut waste and maintain fiscal discipline, irrespective of the specific changes shown on its charts. Agencies that are meeting their high risk reduction targets must sustain and build on those results; those who are not must redouble their efforts to make better progress. Where progress is insufficient, OMB will work with agencies to develop aggressive steps to meet their targets.

Are there additional indicators of progress, in addition to the charts, that should be taken into consideration in evaluating an agency’s progress?

Yes. The charts are intended as only one indicator of progress. Another important indicator can be seen in the management actions the agency is taking to improve acquisition planning, execution, and management. For example, many agencies are conducting peer reviews and using contract review boards to bring seasoned contract and other experts together to help contracting and program offices identify and find alternatives to high risk activities.

Equally, if not more importantly, agencies are building the capacity and capability of the acquisition workforce to support better acquisition outcomes and improved government performance. OMB and agencies continue to work with Congress to secure the resources they need to increase the capacity of the civilian workforce, and agencies have developed plans to address critical needs, such as stronger up-front planning and better contract management.

OMB has been meeting with agencies to review their progress. Individual agency efforts will be described on agency acquisition pages to provide a more complete picture of progress in maintaining fiscal discipline in its agency.

What is an 1102?

Individuals in the Federal government 1102 occupational series are in the contracting field. Contracting professionals perform activities such as: market research to determine possible sources, acquisition planning with their program partners in order to effect best value procurements, solicitation preparation, source selection, negotiations with vendors, management of contracts that have been awarded, and close out of contracts that have expired.

Who else is included in the acquisition workforce?

For the civilian agencies, the acquisition workforce typically comprises contract specialists (those in the 1102 occupational series), program and project managers (P/PMs), and contracting officers technical representatives (COTRs). The Department of Defense has a broader interpretation and includes other related functions, such as audit, finance, logistics, engineering and project management. This dashboard focuses on certification for contract specialists. Other certification information will be provided in subsequent iterations of the dashboard.

Do all 1102s have to be certified?

No, per the January 20, 2006 OMB memorandum entitled, "The Federal Acquisition Certification in Contracting Program," only members of the workforce issued new Contracting Officer (CO) warrants on or after January 1, 2007, regardless of GS series, must be certified at an appropriate level to support their warrant obligations, pursuant to agency policy. New CO warrants are defined in Policy Letter 05-01 as warrants issued to employees for the first time at a department or agency. However, the purpose of the certification program is to standardize the education, training and experience requirements for contracting professionals to improve workforce competencies, increase career opportunities, and promote the professionalism of the acquisition workforce. Because of this objective, a common practice throughout the federal government is to have all contract specialists either certified or working toward a certification, whether or not they need a warrant.

What is a warrant?

A warrant is a written document providing a Contracting Officer with the limits of his or her authority. Per FAR 1.601-2, Contracting Officers have the authority to “enter into, administer, or terminate contracts and make related determinations and findings” to the extent of the authority delegated to them by their warrant.

Is there just one level of certification for 1102s?

No, there are three levels of certification: Level I, Level II, and Level III. A contracting professional certified at Level I or Level II, is typically working toward the next higher certification. This dashboard represents an individual who is certified at any of the three levels.

Why aren’t 100% of the 1102s certified at every agency?

Certifications require a combination of experience, education and training, so until an individual has satisfied the appropriate requirements (i.e., an entry-level contract specialist), he or she cannot qualify for a warrant. For example, a Level I certification requires 1 year of contracting experience, a baccalaureate degree or 24 hours of business-type classes, and 7 specific government contracting classes. It will take an entry-level employee a year or two to satisfy these requirements. Also, in most agencies, not every contract specialist is given a warrant, and therefore, is not required to be certified. In many cases, a Contracting Officer has several contract specialists that work with him or her and these contract specialists typically do not hold a warrant.

The contracting career field sounds challenging and rewarding. Where can I get more information about being an 1102 within the federal government?

You can find out more at the Federal Acquisition Fellows Coalition (FAFC) website at

Improper Payments:

Financial Reporting:

What is an improper payment?

“Improper payments” occur when either:

  • federal funds go to the wrong recipient,
  • the recipient receives the incorrect amount of funds (either an underpayment or overpayment),
  • documentation is not available to support a payment, or
  • the recipient uses federal funds in an improper manner.

The term “improper payment” is defined in the Improper Payments Information Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-300) and the Office of Management and Budget Circular A-123, Appendix C.

How does a federal agency measure its improper payments?

For all federal programs identified as risk-susceptible, the responsible federal agencies obtain a statistically valid estimate of the annual amount of improper payments in those programs. OMB Guidance (Circular A-123 Appendix C) describes acceptable statistical sampling methodology.

Why does the federal government make improper payments?

Improper payments can happen for a number of reasons. By identifying the root causes of improper payments, agencies can strengthen financial management controls so that they can better detect and prevent improper payments, without compromising program access for beneficiaries and recipients entitled to payment.

What are federal agencies doing to prevent and recover improper payments?

The key to implementing effective financial management controls to prevent and identify improper payments is to better measure the extent of the problem and understand why improper payments occur. A summary view of the high-error programs is available on this site which includes links to each program's detail page for more information. For other programs that measure improper payments, but are not considered high-error, corrective action plans to prevent improper payments can be found in their annual Performance and Accountability Reports or Agency Financial Report /Annual Performance Report, which are available on the agency’s website or theCFO Council’s site.

What is the source of the information contained on the website?

TheImproper Payments Information Act of 2002 (Pub. L. No. 107-300) and Office of Management and Budget implementing guidance require federal agencies to report information related to improper payments. The information included on this website has been reported by agencies to the Office of Management and Budget and U.S. Department of the Treasury. Visit the Office of Management and Budget website for past reports related to improper payments.

What is a fiscal year? What is a fiscal reporting year?

The federal government uses a defined 12-month period for its own accounting purposes which is known as a financial or fiscal year (FY). The federal fiscal year begins on October 1 and ends on September 30 of the following calendar year. While most of the data reported on this site is measured and reported by fiscal year, a few programs may collect data by calendar year or other year-long period, depending on the program’s requirements or data availability. In these cases, we have used the term fiscal reporting year to best describe the time period in which the most current information was reported. For more detail by program, refer to the annual Performance and Accountability Reports or Agency Financial Report /Annual Performance Report, which are available on the agency’s website or the CFO Council’s site.

I can't find a specific program or agency? Is their data available?

Agencies with programs susceptible to significant improper payments are required to report information about improper payments. Past government-wide reports are available at the Office of Management and Budget website. Refer to reports titled “Improving the Accuracy and Integrity of Federal Payments.” In addition, each agency reports improper payments in their annual Performance and Accountability Report or Agency Financial Report, which can be found on each agency’s website and at the CFO Council website.

What is a federal program deemed susceptible to significant improper payments?

Generally, a program is deemed susceptible to significant improper payments if the program has improper payments greater than $10 million and over 2.5 percent of all payments made under that program, or if the program has more than $100 million in estimated improper payments. The criteria for determining when a program is susceptible to significant improper payments are found in the OMB Guidance (Circular A-123 Appendix C).

What is a federal high-error program?

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) designates a program as “high-error” based on improper payment information in agencies’ annual Performance and Accountability Report (PAR) and Agency Financial Report (AFR). The criteria for determining high-error programs are found in the OMB Guidance (Circular A-123 Appendix C). In the President's 2009 Executive Order on Reducing Improper Payments and in OMB guidance, "high-error" programs are usually referred to as "high-priority" programs.

What is an Accountable Official?

Executive Order 13520 requires agencies operating high-error programs to designate an official who holds an existing Senate-confirmed position to be accountable for meeting targets for reducing improper payments associated with each high-error program, and for overseeing implementation of program integrity efforts. OMB Guidance (Circular A-123 Appendix C) provides additional information about who may serve as an accountable official and the accountable official’s roles and responsibilities.

What is an improper payment rate?

The improper payment rates of programs susceptible to significant improper payments are reported on this website by agency and by fiscal year . The rate is calculated by dividing the improper payment dollars by the total outlays made by a program during the measurement year.

What is an improper payment target?

Programs susceptible to improper payments develop annual reduction goals for the program’s payment error rates. In addition, Executive Order 13520 requires agencies operating high-error programs to establish semi-annual (or more frequent) measurements as well as performance/reduction targets for reducing improper payments. OMB Guidance (Circular A-123 Appendix C) provides additional information about agency requirements for establishing supplemental measurements and targets related to improper payments.

What are outlays?

Outlays occur when the government pays its obligations, whether with cash, check or electronic funds transfer. The Office of Management and Budget’s Circular A-11 describes “outlay” as a payment to liquidate an obligation, other than the repayment of debt principal. Outlays generally are equal to cash disbursements but also are recorded for cash-equivalent transactions, such as Federal employee salaries and debt instruments. Outlays are the measure of Government spending.

How does someone report suspected incidents of waste, fraud, and abuse related to improper payments?

This website also provides information on where the public can report suspected incidents of fraud, waste, and abuse by an entity receiving federal funds that have led or may lead to improper payments by the federal government.

What is the Financial Report of the United States Government?

The Financial Report provides a comprehensive view of the Federal Government’s finances, through the issuance of financial statements and additional disclosures.  It also discusses important financial issues and significant conditions that may affect future operations.

What does the Financial Report cover?

The Financial Report provides information about all three branches of the government.

  • Information from the Judicial branch is limited to budgetary activity because its entities are not required by law to submit financial statement information to the Treasury. 
  • Even though the Legislative branch is not required by law to submit comprehensive financial information to the Treasury, parts of it do so voluntarily while the information for other parts is limited to budgetary activity. 
  • Privately-owned but government-sponsored enterprises like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are not included.

What is Fiscal Sustainability?

An important role for the Financial Report is to help citizens and policymakers assess whether current fiscal policy is sustainable and, if it is not, to highlight the urgency and magnitude of policy reforms necessary to make it sustainable.

  • The Fiscal Sustainability reporting in the Financial Report presents a comprehensive portrayal of long-run imbalances showing the difference between projected spending and projected receipts for all programs. 
  • Sustainability concerns only whether long-run revenues and expenditures are in balance; it does not concern fairness or efficiency implications of the reforms necessary to achieve sustainability.

What is the Administration doing to fix the auditing problems?

It has never been more vital that the government's financial managers ate performing at high levels to track the use of taxpayers' dollars and ensure that they are spent effectively and efficiently.

  • 20 of the 24 largest federal agencies received the Auditor's stamp of approval on their bookkeeping.
  • The challenges we face require financial managers to generate a high return on investment for our financial management activities. We are focused on strengthening our efforts to ensure that the taxpayers are receiving the best value fir their dollars.
  • Three areas have been targeted as the primary ways to continue to strengthen financial management:
    • Eliminate waste: Place a stronger emphasis on eliminating improper payments, remove unneeded real property from the government's books, and strengthen the audit framework for federally funded state and local activities.
    • Close the efficiency and technology gap in financial operations: Invest in shorter-term, lower-cost, and easier-to-manage technology solutions that meet critical business needs, drive operational efficiency, and leverage shared service solutions.
    • Promote accountability and innovation: Improve the content and quality of currently reported information to provide better value to taxpayers and government decision-makers. Develop partnership that extend beyond the borders of the federal financial management community to involve state and other federal stakeholders, and the public.


What congressionally-mandated plans and reports did agencies propose for Congress to consider modifying in response to the GPRA Modernization Act (P.L. 111-352)?

Federal agencies annually produce thousands of congressionally-mandated plans and reports, and some that were once useful can become outdated, duplicative, or less useful over time. Through the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010, Congress required Federal agencies to identify for elimination or consolidation plans and reports that are outdated or duplicative.  Agencies identified for Congress the linked list of 376 plans and reports as potentially outdated, duplicative, or otherwise warranting modification.