Performance.gov not performing — audit

(Screenshot of Performance.gov)

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The administration’s Performance.gov website lacks strategic planning for its future usability, and the agencies in charge need to create a timeline to develop such a plan, watchdogs said in a report released Tuesday.

The Office of Management and Budget and Performance Improvement Council still haven’t improved deficiencies found in a 2013 usability test because of “limited resources,” according to the Government Accountability Office report, which found that overall OMB is still struggling three years later to plan for the future of website — the public’s portal into the federal government’s goals and performance in key areas.

“Without a strategic plan, OMB will not know the resources it needs or the steps to take to meet requirements, and to ensure the site provides useful information to the public,” the report’s authors wrote in the summary.

Staff said they had not made a strategic plan because they hired a digital services director in February to develop the plan and manage the site’s development, according to the report. They also “wanted to allow transition time for the operations and website maintenance contractor hired in August 2015.”

In June 2013, the GAO also said the guiding agencies should track website performance measures required by DigitalGov.gov and set goals for them. But the recent audit found that OMB and PIC still have not set goals for the 24 measures required and are only tracking 18 of them.

The Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 required OMB to create a single performance-related website, and the agency launched the Performance.gov website as a result in August 2011.

OMB also hasn’t met all of the public reporting requirements under GPRAMA for the site, according to the report. But staff told auditors they know the site is not compliant and “moving forward, are focused on ensuring its compliance.”

The report noted that OMB, PIC and the General Services Administration — which handles IT, program and contract management for the Performance.gov — had taken steps to improve the website, but their progress still did not meet requirements for federal websites.

OMB staff agreed with the report’s recommendations, which were to ensure the information on the website complies with public reporting requirements, analyze, and “where appropriate” implement the results from the 2013 usability test and develop a strategic plan for the site.

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Agencies, General Services Administration (GSA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), performance.gov, Usability
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