oversight

Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1999-07-20.

Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)

United States General Accounting Office                                                                  Health, Education, and
Washington, D.C. 20548                                                                                  Human Services Division




                 B-282414

                 July 20, 1999

                 The Honorable Dick Armey
                 Majority Leader
                 House of Representatives

                 The Honorable Dan Burton
                 Chairman, Committee on Government Reform
                 House of Representatives

                 The Honorable Fred Thompson
                 Chairman, Committee on Governmental Affairs
                 United States Senate

                 Subject: Observations on the Department of Labor’s Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan

                 As you requested, we have reviewed and evaluated the fiscal year 2000 performance plans for
                 the 24 Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act agencies that were submitted to Congress as
                 required by the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 (Results Act). Enclosure I
                 to this letter provides our observations on the fiscal year 2000 performance plan for the
                 Department of Labor (Labor). Enclosure II lists management challenges we and Labor’s
                 Inspector General identified that face the agency and the applicable goals and measures in
                 the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan.

                 Our objectives were to assess (1) the usefulness of the agency’s plan for decisionmaking
                 purposes and (2) the degree of improvement the agency’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan
                 represents over the fiscal year 1999 plan. Our observations were generally based on the
                 requirements of the Results Act, guidance to agencies from the Office of Management and
                 Budget (OMB) for developing the plan (OMB Circular A-11, Part 2), our previous reports and
                 knowledge of Labor’s operations and programs, and our assessment of Labor’s fiscal year
                 1999 performance plan. Our summary report on the CFO Act agencies’ fiscal year 2000 plans
                                                                                             1
                 contains a complete discussion of our objectives, scope, and methodology.



                 1
                  Managing for Results: Opportunities for Continued Improvements in Agencies’ Performance Plans (GAO/GGD/AIMD-99-215,
                 July 20, 1999).




                 Page 1                                                GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
As agreed, unless you announce the contents of this letter earlier, we plan no further
distribution until 30 days from the date of the letter. If you have any questions about this
letter, please call me at (202) 512-7215. Other major contributors to this letter include
Marlene Shaul, Sigurd Nilsen, Christine Shine, and Wayne Sylvia.

Sincerely yours,




Cynthia M. Fagnoni
Director, Education, Workforce
  and Income Security Issues

Enclosures -- 2




Page 2                                      GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I

Observations on the Department of
Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance
Plan
Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides a generally clear picture of
intended performance across the agency and provides a general discussion of strategies and
resources the agency will use to achieve its goals. However, the plan provides limited
confidence that information on agency performance will be credible. For example, Labor’s
plan identifies budgeted funding amounts for each of the three strategic goals and details the
activities from the component offices that will help accomplish each of the strategic goals.
However, the lack of reliable and timely data across all of Labor’s data systems raise
concerns about its ability to accurately assess performance. Figure I.1 highlights the plan’s
major strengths and key weaknesses as Labor seeks to make additional improvements to its
plan.

Figure I.1: Major Strengths and Key Weaknesses of Fiscal Year 2000 Annual Performance Plan

Major Strengths
•Performance goals and measures are objective, clear, measurable, and provide a clear
picture of intended performance across the agency.
•The need for information technology goals was recognized and goals were developed.
•Human capital management goals have been revised to better address workplace issues.
•Means and strategies are linked to performance goals.

Key Weaknesses
•Serious data limitations affect the accuracy of reported performance. Labor recognizes these
limitations but does not discuss how the data limitations it identifies will affect its
measurement of performance goals.
•The plan does not adequately describe how Labor will actively work with other agencies that
share responsibility for some of Labor’s functions to ensure that Labor’s goals are achieved.
•The plan does not always explain how strategies will help achieve individual performance
goals.

Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan represents a moderate improvement over
the fiscal year 1999 plan, because Labor has made some progress in addressing the
weaknesses we identified last year. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that it
(1) provided only a partial picture of intended performance across the agency, (2) partially
portrayed how Labor’s strategies and resources would help achieve its goals, and (3) did not
provide sufficient confidence that the agency’s performance information would be credible.

Among improvements in the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan are modified
performance goals that better focus on outcomes and elimination of other goals that could
not be adequately measured. For example, Labor made one goal measurable by specifying a
percentage increase for job retention and wages for Job Corps program participants. Labor
also eliminated a goal that was not measurable relating to distribution of educational




Page 3                                     GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




materials on pensions. A second improvement is a better linking of agency strategies to
specific performance goals. For example, for each strategy listed, Labor identified the
specific performance goal to which it applied. Thirdly, Labor added goals related to
information technology. For example, one goal states that Labor will complete reviews of 70
percent of risk assessment and disaster recovery plans developed to ensure that its
information systems are adequately protected, secure from tampering, reliable; and that
security is well managed and documented.

Labor’s Performance Plan Provides a Generally Clear Picture of
Intended Performance Across the Agency
Labor’s plan generally provides a clear picture of intended performance across the agency. Its
performance goals are generally objective, measurable, and quantifiable. The performance
goals are comprehensive and explicitly cover all program activities in Labor’s budget and
define the level of performance to be achieved by identifying specific measures for each goal.
Baseline data are shown for most indicators and, where applicable, compare past
performance or accomplishment with projected future performance or accomplishment.
However, several of the performance goals in the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan
are new and baseline data have not been established. For example, one performance goal is
to increase by 2 percent over fiscal year 1999 the percent of those leaving the Trade
Adjustment Assistance and the North American Free Trade Agreement-Trade Adjustment
Assistance programs that (a) get a job immediately and (b) still have jobs 13 weeks later. And,
a 1999 baseline will be established when a new reporting system under development provides
data on performance. In addition, several indicators are based on old data and thus do not
depict current conditions. For example, one performance goal is to reduce three of the most
prevalent workplace injuries and causes of illnesses by 7 percent from baseline levels in
selected industries and occupations. However, the available data for use as a baseline for
assessing workplace injuries are over 4 years old. This raises concern that some of Labor’s
performance measures are based on old data and in need of updating and may not be
available to provide timely assessments of performance.

The fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan generally addresses mission-critical
management problems at Labor. Labor has established long-term management initiatives and
performance goals to address cross-cutting departmental functions such as financial,
information technology, and human capital management. For example, Labor recognizes the
importance of having a capable and diverse workforce and indicates that it will test and adopt
career and family-friendly programs, expand the use of innovative work practices, and work
closely with employee organizations to address workplace issues. Table II.1 shows how the
plan addresses the major management challenges GAO and Labor’s Office of Inspector
General (OIG) have identified.




Page 4                                            GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




Although Labor’s management goals discuss efforts to work with other federal agencies, the
plan does not identify specific actions Labor will take to ensure effective interaction with
other federal agencies. Specifically, the plan does not identify common or complementary
performance goals and measures elsewhere in the federal government that relate to Labor’s
goals and measures. For example, although two performance goals relate to helping veterans
find jobs; no mention is made of how Labor will work with other federal agencies, such as the
Department of Veterans Affairs. In addition, to assist youth in making the transition from
school to work, Labor stated in its plan that, working with the Department of Education, it
will continue to expand school-to-work activities and will build partnerships at the state and
local levels that include employers, organized labor, community leaders, educators, and
parents. However, the plan provides no information specifying what is being done with
Education to jointly achieve these goals and how all these partnerships will help Labor
achieve its goal of engaging youth in school-to-work activities.

The fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan is a moderate improvement over the fiscal year
1999 plan in that it addresses, to some degree, the weaknesses that we identified in our
assessment of the fiscal year 1999 annual performance plan as it relates to providing a clear
picture of intended performance across the agency. We identified a number of weaknesses in
the fiscal year 1999 plan and suggested changes Labor should make to improve it. Labor
addressed most of our concerns about last year’s plan in this year’s plan, but deficiencies
remain. Among the improvements in the fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan are
modifications in performance goals. Specifically, Labor added 7 new performance goals that
are objective and measurable and eliminated 5 performance goals that were of limited value
or questionable validity because they did not sufficiently measure performance. However,
Labor still does not adequately discuss the effect of external factors on its ability to meet
performance goals, and many goals may not reflect true performance due to poor indicators
or inadequate baseline data.

Labor’s Performance Plan Provides a General Discussion of the
Strategies and Resources the Agency Will Use to Achieve Its
Goals
Labor’s performance plan provides a general discussion of strategies and resources it will use
to achieve its performance goals. More specifically, Labor’s plan identifies budgeted funding
amounts for each of the three strategic goals and identifies the activities from the component
offices that will contribute to the accomplishment of each of the strategic goals. However, the
plan does not identify where requested funding is included in the program activity structure
of the agency’s budget request. For example, to achieve the strategic goal of quality
workplaces, which includes 4 outcome and 13 annual performance goals, Labor identifies the
specific budgeted activities in its Employment and Training Administration (ETA),
Employment Standards Administration, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, Mine




Page 5                                            GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




Safety and Health Administration, and Departmental Management that contribute to
achieving quality workplaces that are safe, healthy, and fair. However, Labor’s plan could be
more useful if the agency showed how these program activities and their funding related to
more discrete sets of performance goals. For example, the plan explicitly describes
incremental funding requests for new initiatives by strategic goal, but broadly aggregates the
Department’s total budget request across the three strategic goals.

Labor identified 112 means and strategies to accomplish its 42 performance goals. It
separates the means and strategies into two categories: (1) sustained efforts and (2)
significant new or enhanced efforts. In this year’s plan, Labor linked each strategy to a
specific performance goal. However, in some instances, the strategies do not identify how
they would help achieve the stated goal. For example, one performance goal states that 60
percent of local employment and training offices will be part of one-stop career center
systems. In a related strategy, Labor stated that it will “continue its support of the adoption
and implementation of continuous improvement initiatives throughout the workforce
development system,” but does not indicate how these efforts will help achieve the one-stop
career center performance goal.

Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan also describes its human capital and
information technology management initiatives, but does not link human capital and
information technology to either the three strategic goals or the 42 performance goals. For
example, Labor discusses the importance of having a capable and diverse workforce and
addresses workplace issues, but does not relate how its management of human capital will
help the Department in achieving its performance goals.

 As required by the Results Act, Labor’s strategic plan describes major external factors that
could affect the Department’s performance. While it is not required to do so by the Results
Act, we believe Labor’s annual performance plan does not provide an adequate discussion of
how these external factors might affect individual performance goals or how the Department
plans to mitigate the effect of these factors. For example, several of Labor’s performance
goals relate to finding jobs for various target populations, but the plan does not discuss how
economic conditions or the existence of other employment programs serving these same
populations may affect Labor’s success in achieving its performance goal.

The fiscal year 2000 performance plan represents moderate improvement in addressing the
weaknesses that we identified in our assessment of the fiscal year 1999 performance plan
relating to providing a specific discussion of strategies and resources Labor will use to
achieve its performance goals. In reviewing the fiscal year 1999 plan, we observed that it did
not (1) clearly convey how its strategies would achieve the plan’s goals, (2) identify external
factors that could affect Labor’s ability to meet its goals, or (3) adequately discuss the human
capital or information technology Labor would use to achieve its goals. Among improvements
in the fiscal year 2000 performance plan is a better effort to link each strategy with a specific




Page 6                                            GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




performance goal. Labor’s plan would be further improved if it showed how these program
activities and their funding related to discrete sets of performance goals. Another
improvement is Labor’s recognition of the need for, and development of, information
technology goals. For example, Labor established an outcome goal aimed at improving
organizational performance and communication through effective use of information
technology resources and developed six related performance goals.

Labor’s Performance Plan Provides Limited Confidence That
Agency Performance Information Will Be Credible
Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan provides limited confidence that its
                                                                  1
performance information will be credible. We recently reported that Labor lacks adequate
information to assess whether many of its programs are operating efficiently and are
producing intended results. Labor recognizes that challenges lie ahead in overcoming three
performance measurement issues: (1) lack of data, (2) insufficient data, and (3) untimely
reporting. Labor further notes that data are missing in some areas and that data integrity is an
issue in other areas where existing measures are insufficiently precise or are unreliable.
Labor’s recognition of its data problems is an important first step to improving its data.
Nonetheless, Labor’s data problems raise concerns about its ability to accurately measure the
extent to which performance goals are achieved. Furthermore, while Labor identifies three
major issues with data problems, it does not identify which of its data systems contain these
deficiencies and which performance goals these data quality issues affect.

In its fiscal year 2000 performance plan, Labor notes that it has 14 performance measurement
systems in place providing reliable data to evaluate current performance, but we question the
usefulness of some of these data. One of the systems identified is used to evaluate Job
Training Partnership Act program performance; however, this system produces untimely
information—data are reported with a 15-month lag. In its plan, Labor notes that it is
exploring ways to obtain valid, relevant, and timely program information using this system.
Another of the 14 data systems Labor deemed reliable is used to evaluate the Job Corps
                           2
program. However, GAO and OIG reports have raised concerns about the accuracy of the
data produced by this system, especially in terms of reporting placement results.




1
    Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Labor (GAO/OCG-99-11, Jan. 1999).
2
 Job Corps: Links With Labor Market Improved but Vocational Training Performance Overstated (GAO/HEHS-99-15, Nov. 4,
1998) and Job Corps: High Costs and Mixed Results Raise Questions About Program’s Effectiveness (GAO/HEHS-95-180, June 30,
1995).




Page 7                                                  GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




Labor identified some activities planned to address the quality of its data. It will develop a
departmentwide information technology architecture and departmentwide data standards to
facilitate the efficient collection of timely and reliable program data by Labor components.
Related to the Job Corps program data concerns, Labor states that it is undertaking a variety
of actions to address issues raised by us and by OIG, such as creating a job retention
standard, revising systems procedures, and adding staff to improve the accuracy of
placement data and the verification of job retention. Without specific information on the
details of efforts to improve the quality of these data, it is unclear how Labor will address
some of the specific shortcomings of its existing data systems. For example, the information
provided on the departmentwide information technology effort is so general that it gives no
indication as to how it will improve data quality. The Job Corps effort is more specific, but
because so much of the data are provided by program subcontractors, more discussion is
needed about how Labor will ensure the integrity of the data being provided by these
subcontractors.

While Labor identifies data system shortcomings in one section of its plan, it states in another
section that these same data systems are reliable. Furthermore, Labor’s plan does not
adequately describe how the lack of complete, timely, and reliable data may affect its ability
to assess its performance goals. For example, Labor notes that we and OIG have raised
concerns about Job Corps data, but there is no discussion of how these concerns affect the
measurement of the performance goal related to the Job Corps program.

The fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan recognizes the weaknesses we identified in our
assessment of the fiscal year 1999 annual performance plan related to (1) not providing full
confidence that the agency’s performance information will be credible and (2) not making
specific commitments nor identifying efforts to address those weaknesses. However,
progress in improving these areas is not yet evident and the fiscal year 2000 plan represents
little, if any, improvement over the fiscal year 1999 plan in this area. In reviewing the fiscal
year 1999 plan, we observed that Labor (1) did not discuss the quality of specific data it
planned to use to measure performance, including the use of data with known significant
limitations, (2) did not specify how component agencies would develop measurement
systems that are both reliable and integrated with other agency systems, and (3) relied too
heavily on the role of OIG ensure that its performance measures were complete, accurate,
and consistent. Among the improvements contained in Labor’s fiscal year 2000 plan is a
greater recognition of the challenges facing the agency in obtaining accurate, reliable, and
timely data from its component offices. However, Labor has made little progress to improve
the quality of the data being used to measure performance. For example, Labor states that
actions to improve the timeliness of the Job Training Partnership Act program and the
reliability of Job Corps data are being explored, but have yet to be implemented.




Page 8                                            GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




Other Observations on Labor’s Implementation of Performance-
Based Management
Labor’s decentralized structure and the numerous federal, state, and local partners that share
responsibility for Labor’s programs pose a challenge for internal and external coordination.
For example, not only does Labor itself have 22 offices—many with overlapping
responsibilities—but for many of its programs, such as job training, enforcement of
workplace standards, and collection of economic and workforce statistics, Labor must work
with state and local governments or nongovernmental organizations that often manage
Labor’s programs on a day-to-day basis. In the past, Labor has shown limited capacity to
effectively organize the activities of the many units at the federal, state, and local levels that
share its responsibilities. While this task is difficult, the Results Act offers a mechanism to
address this challenge. However, Labor’s fiscal year 2000 performance plan does not
adequately describe how it will actively work with other agencies to ensure that Labor’s goals
are achieved. Labor needs to be more proactive in engaging all agencies with responsibilities
relating to its mission. In addition, the 1996 welfare reform legislation and Labor’s welfare-to-
work grant program created in 1997, combined with the passage of the Workforce Investment
Act in 1998, have affected the nation’s job training system in ways that are now just beginning
to become apparent. These developments require Labor to re-evaluate its approach and reach
out more effectively to other departments, especially the Department of Health and Human
Services.

The financial and information systems discussion in Labor’s fiscal year 2000 annual
performance plan is adequate, but Labor needs to ensure that its performance goals are
linked to suitable performance measures. For example, Labor plans to initiate a
departmentwide program to target financial management training in critical skill areas
including the application of cost accounting standards and financial management systems
development. However, the performance goals—compliance with the Federal Financial
Management Improvement Act, Government Management Reform Act, and Federal
Accounting Systems Advisory Board standards—do not reflect the accomplishment of these
goals.

Agency Comments
We obtained comments from the Department of Labor on a draft of our analysis of its Labor’s
fiscal year 2000 annual performance plan. Labor generally concurred with our observations of
the plan’s strengths and weaknesses and acknowledged the need for improved data quality,
better descriptions of collaboration efforts, and clearer linkages between strategies and goals.
Labor commented that it is taking several steps to overcome management challenges and
address the areas where improvements are needed. Labor also stated that it will use our




Page 9                                            GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure I
Observations on the Department of Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan




analysis of its fiscal year 2000 plan as a basis for improvements to the next version of its
performance plan.

In response to our concerns about data limitations, Labor noted that it is launching an effort
to obtain technical assistance to develop better outcome measures and to improve its
performance data systems. For example, Labor stated that the Occupational Safety and
Health Administration has already begun conducting record keeping inspections to verify
site-specific data. Labor also noted that the Employment and Training Administration has
launched a major data initiative using contractor support to review its data reporting systems
and to develop specific recommendations for improving accuracy, reliability and timeliness.

In response to the need for a better description of collaboration efforts with other agencies,
Labor commented that it recently forwarded a report to Congress on interagency
collaboration. Labor said that the report, among other things, identifies Labor’s plans to
actively work with other federal, state and local agencies in areas that share common
functions to improve the dialogue and coordination to improve results.




Page 10                                           GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II

Management Challenges


In January 1999, GAO identified several management challenges confronting the Department
of Labor in carrying out its mission. In February 1999, Labor’s OIG issued a similar report.
Table II.1 summarizes how Labor’s annual performance plan addresses the major
management challenges and program risks identified by us and Labor’s OIG.

Table II.1: Management Challenges in Labor’s Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
                                                  1
Management challenges identified by GAO                        Applicable goals and measures in the fiscal year
                                                               2000 annual performance plan
Labor lacks accurate and reliable information to               None. However, under section 5 of the plan, Labor
assess program performance. For example, data                  recognizes its challenges in overcoming data validity
reported by the Job Corps program on the                       and reporting problems and acknowledges that we and
percentage of participants who complete their                  OIG have identified these problems. The fiscal year
vocational training and obtain jobs related to that            2000 plan addresses issues in performance
training are misleading and overstate the program’s            measurement, including information systems and data
results. In addition, Labor needs to rely less on OIG          challenges and states that new methods of assessment
to ensure the reliability and validity of program              are under study and that program evaluations will be
performance data.                                              used to ensure validity and reasonableness of goals
                                                               and strategies. However, the plan does not provide
                                                               details on what these new methods are or how the
                                                               program evaluations will be carried out. The fiscal year
                                                               2000 plan continues to rely on OIG to ensure reliability
                                                               and validity of program performance data.
(OIG also identified aspects of this area as a
management challenge.)
Labor’s coordination challenge is intensified by               None. Labor’s plan does not contain a specific goal to
decentralization. Labor has shown limited capacity to          address its overall coordination challenge. However,
effectively coordinate the activities of the many units        within outcome goal 3.4 and its three related
at the federal, state, and local levels that share             performance goals, Labor discusses plans to reduce
responsibility for implementing worker protection              the exploitation of child labor and address core
programs. For example, we reported that the lack of            international labor standards issues. Under section
effective coordination could result in farmworker              6.3.4, Labor states that the need for cooperation and
children working in violation of the law.                      collaboration with other federal agencies on these
                                                               issues is crucial. Labor plans to work closely with
                                                               numerous federal agencies including the Departments
                                                               of Commerce, Treasury, and Education to implement
                                                               worker protection programs.




1
    Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Labor (GAO/OCG-99-11, Jan. 1999)




Page 11                                                 GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II
Management Challenges




                                                               Applicable goals and measures in the fiscal year
                                                  2
Management challenges identified by GAO                        2000 annual performance plan
Labor has not effectively leveraged its limited                None.
resources by using alternative enforcement
strategies. For example, we found that billions of
dollars in federal contracts were awarded to
employers already found to be violating workplace
safety and health standards. Labor could do more to
help other agencies during the contract procurement
process by developing procedures to periodically
transmit data on contractors’ safety and health
records to agency contracting officers.
Labor’s Year 2000 computer problems could                      None. However, Labor states within its means and
jeopardize benefit payments and economic statistics.           strategies discussion that it will develop and implement
For example, the inability of some Labor computer              improvements to the unemployment insurance
systems to properly distinguish between the years              program’s computer systems to facilitate performance
2000 and 1900 is potentially a critical challenge,             achievement. Labor will also provide leadership,
putting at risk unemployment insurance benefits                technical assistance and resources to state efforts to
payments and the timely issuance of economic                   bring their Unemployment Insurance automated
statistics. Also, Labor makes extensive use of                 systems into Year 2000 compliance and be prepared to
complex information technology to support its                  implement contingency plans to assure their continued
mission. Without effective, up-to-date information             functioning.
technology, Labor cannot ensure the income security
of millions of workers or generate crucial national
economic data. Adding to the complexity of this
challenge is the fact that these data rely on many
information systems outside of Labor.

(OIG also identified this area as a management
challenge.)



Other areas identified by the IG-Department of                 Applicable goals and measures in the fiscal year
Labor:                                                         2000 performance plan
Labor needs to ensure that performance and cost                None.
information generated are accurate, auditable, and
credible.

Labor should monitor the effectiveness of the                  None. However, within the plan, performance goal 1.1A
welfare-to-work initiative. It needs to provide                deals with placement of welfare recipients, and a
effective training and employment services to help             portion of this population may be provided assistance
individuals move from welfare dependency to self-              through the welfare-to-work program.
sufficiency. Specifically, Labor needs to collect and
report results of its efforts on behalf of eligible
individuals.



2
    Major Management Challenges and Program Risks: Department of Labor (GAO/OCG-99-11, Jan. 1999)




Page 12                                                 GAO/HEHS-99-152R Labor's Fiscal Year 2000 Performance Plan
Enclosure II
Management Challenges




Other areas identified by the IG-Department of               Applicable goals and measures in the fiscal year
Labor:                                                       2000 performance plan

Labor needs to ensure that the Employment and                None.
Training Administration’s (ETA) cost data for grants
and contracts are recorded promptly.
Labor needs to ensure that weaknesses,                       None. However, Labor stated in its plan that the OIG
vulnerabilities, and criminal activity are identified and    will conduct an investigation targeting service providers
addressed.                                                   of union pension plans under the influence of organized
                                                             crime.
Labor has serious vulnerabilities within three major         None. Labor did not add any performance goals to
worker benefit programs: the continued proliferation         specifically address these vulnerabilities. Labor’s
of unemployment insurance fraud schemes, the                 outcome goal 2.2 broadly discusses these concerns but
questionable cost-efficiency of the Federal                  does not address specific actions it will take. Labor
Employees’ Compensation Act program, and the                 states that OIG will conduct an investigation targeting
escalating indebtedness of the Black Lung Disability         service providers of pension plans and that OIG will
Trust Fund.                                                  also help identify and investigate multi-state fraud
                                                             schemes against the UI program. Labor did not
                                                             address efforts for reducing the indebtedness of the
                                                             Black Lung Disability Trust Fund.
                                                             None.
Labor’s collection and disbursement activities related
to the Wage and Hour Division’s back wage
collections and related penalties are questionable.
Labor’s day-to-day accounting operations, primarily          Labor added a new goal (FM1) to the fiscal year 2000
related to needed improvements in financial                  annual performance plan that all financial systems meet
management system design, are deficient.                     the standards set in the Federal Financial Management
Specifically, 7 systems do not substantially meet one        Improvement Act and the Government Management
or more of the Federal Financial Management                  Reform Act.
Improvement Act requirements.
Labor needs to exercise effective stewardship over           None.
information technology resources related to financial
and performance systems—for example, identifying
and mitigating risks to avoid inflated budgets, cost
overruns, delays, and failures.
ETA does not have sufficient operating procedures            None.
to keep the inventory of real properties reasonably
current. This places ETA at risk of not being fairly
compensated when the properties are sold, disposed
of, or put to other use.




(205399)



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