Mercatus Examines Agencies’ Efforts to Inform Public

Posted: May 22, 2001 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

While some federal agencies are getting better at writing performance reports, others still have trouble evaluating their work, according to a study released by the Mercatus Center last week. “Performance Report Scorecard: Which Federal Agencies Inform the Public?” was the center’s second analysis of the annual performance reports federal agencies are now required to release.

“While the Bush administration recently announced its intentions to link federal agencies’ performance to budgeting decisions in fiscal year 2003, many agencies aren’t listening,” says Maurice McTigue, director of government accountability at the Mercatus Center. “Our study found that while some performance reports improved, many agencies are still behind the curve when it comes to communicating the bottom line to their shareholders–the American public.”

The Department of Veterans Affairs, the Department of Transportation, and the U.S. Agency for International Development wrote the best reports this year. Those three agencies also had the best reports last year. This year’s worst reports came from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the study found. The National Science Foundation moved from the bottom of the list to sixth place this year, and the Justice Department also improved, moving from 21st place to fifth place.

Among the criteria used to judge the reports, which covered fiscal year 2000, were how well they documented an agency’s public benefits and how clearly they listed costs.

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