|Program Title||Federal Grain Inspection Services|
|Department Name||Department of Agriculture|
|Agency/Bureau Name||Grain Inspection, Packers and Stockyards Administration|
Direct Federal Program
|Assessment Rating||Moderately Effective|
|Assessment Section Scores||
|Program Funding Level
|Year Began||Improvement Plan||Status||Comments|
Delegating official inspection services to private sector companies on a port-by-port basis.
|Action taken, but not completed||GIPSA is monitoring the performance of the pilot programs to ensure the integrity of the USDA export certificate and to assess the level of customer service and cost effectiveness of delivering mandatory export grain inspection using third party contractors.|
Complete the Centralized Laboratory Initiative.
|Action taken, but not completed||The agency is consolidating lab services and is working with GSA to build a new facility.|
|Year Began||Improvement Plan||Status||Comments|
Improving how data is collected, analyzed and integrated as part of its fee structure by examining the assumptions that underlie the fee structure.
|Completed||Agency has established a three year cycle in which all user fee programs will be reviewed.|
Work with OMB to determine the best approach for adapting to diminished demand for its rice inspection services, pending the outcome of workforce restructuring.
|Completed||The updated study concluded that there was not a strong interest from third party contractors to provide rice inspection services and that outsourcing would not deliver cost savings. Based on these findings, GIPSA will utilize contracting and cooperative agreements to fill program staffing gaps where it is determined to be cost effective (e.g., rice sampling).|
Measure: Percentage accuracy of the official inspection results (statistical quality).
Explanation:GIPSA?s goal is to achieve the highest statistically sound level that documents the accuracy of the agency's inspection results given established tolerances and statistical variation.
Measure: Percent of total U.S. grain exports traded without disruptions or reported quality discrepancies.
Explanation:This measure indicates the accuracy and reliability of FGIS? quality measurements, and the success of our efforts to ensure that at all of America?s international trading partners understand how quality is determined.
Measure: Percent of market-identified quality attributes for which GIPSA has provided standardization.
Explanation:This measure evaluates GIPSA's effectiveness at facilitating marketing through promoting the introduction of more enhanced-valued crops, reducing trade disputes resulting from conflicting descriptions of crop quality and value, and minimizing the cost of transactions between buyer and seller in both the domestic and global markets.
Measure: Number of official United States grain standards reviewed
Explanation:This measure reflects the number of official grain standards that the agency reviews on an annual basis to ensure that the quality attributes contained in the standards reflect the current needs of the market.
Measure: GIPSA measures the efficiency of its oversight of official agencies for inspection services (shown as a dollar value per inspection).
Explanation:GIPSA authorizes States and private entities (official agencies) to perform a variety of services under the oversight of GIPSA personnel as measured by the cost of oversight per official agency inspection.
|Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design|
Is the program purpose clear?
Explanation: The purpose of GIPSA's Federal Grain Inspection Service (FGIS) is to facilitate the trade of U.S. grain through regulation, information, and services to help ensure that grain markets are efficient, transparent, and free from deceptive and fraudulent trading practices.
Evidence: The program is carried out under the United States Grain Standards Act (Act), as amended (7 U.S.C. 71 et seq.) and the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946, as amended, (7 U.S.C. 1621 - 1627), and the ensuing regulations in Titles 7 CFR 800 and 7 CFR 868 of the Code of Federal Regulations.
Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?
Explanation: GIPSA facilitates grain trade by addressing two needs: creating and maintaining commodity standards and facilitating consistency in grain trade commerce. Commodity standards facilitate grain trade by providing a common language to describe grain attributes for U.S. producers and exporters and their customers. Consistency in the marketplace assists U.S. producers and exporters in providing customers with specific qualities and quantities of grain. In addition, in FY 2004, GIPSA worked with foreign officials to set up grain inspection laboratories mirroring the U.S. system in Mexico, Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania, in addition to laboratories in Egypt, Yemen, and Syria set up in previous years. While GIPSA has no authority to require foreign buyers to comply with U.S. grain standards, the program measures the success of outreach and educational efforts through increases in export volume, decreased quality complaints, and feedback from numerous stakeholders. The laboratories established in Egypt and Syria are used for training seminars, most recently for the Iraqi Grain Board. The laboratories established in Mexico have also proven beneficial in expanding the knowledge of those purchasing U.S. grain which has contributed to fewer quality complaints (related to both an annual and long-term measure).
Evidence: Evidence: GIPSA regulations under 7 CFR 800 and 7 CFR 868. GIPSA regulations and programs assist domestic grain producers by bringing accuracy, consistency, and integrity to both the domestic and international grain markets. Widespread corruption including misgrading, short-weighing, bribes, and outright theft of grain characterized the U.S. grain marketing system in the 1970s and threatened U.S. market share around the world. Buyers and sellers of U.S. grain around the world use GIPSA's official U.S. grain standards as a common language to trade grain; rely on GIPSA's verified quality assessments to accurately differentiate quality factors for marketing and end-use purposes; and use our impartial services to obtain an official inspection and weighing certificate. In fiscal year 2004, the U.S. grain market requested and received 2.6 million inspections on 246 million metric tons of grain, or nearly 61 percent of America's $50 billion total grain production.
Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?
Explanation: Private sector companies also offer grain inspection services. In domestic commerce, market participants may choose to have grain inspected by the private and State entities comprising GIPSA's official inspection system or by unofficial private laboratories. Currently, most grain exported from U.S. ports must be officially inspected and weighed by either GIPSA or one of its cooperating agencies.
Evidence: Evidence: BSI Inspectorate is one example of a private sector company that offers inspection services. Examples of delegated states within GIPSA's official inspection system include Washington Department of Agriculture; Wisconsin Department of Agriculture; and Minnesota Department of Agriculture; designated states include Georgia Department of Agriculture; Missouri Department of Agriculture; and Montana Department of Agriculture. Examples of designated private agencies with GIPSA's inspection system include Aberdeen Grain Inspection, Inc., Aberdeen SD; J. W. Barton Grain Inspection Service, Inc., Owensboro, KY; California Agri Inspection Company, Ltd.,West Sacramento, CA; and Kansas Grain Inspection Service, Inc.,Topeka, KS. In FY 2004, the domestic market voluntarily requested approximately 2.5 million official inspections, or nearly 96 percent of all official inspections performed.
Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?
Explanation: GIPSA's current infrastructure constrains the agency from changing and adapting with changing conditions in the marketplace. 100 percent Federal oversight over inspection services delegated to private sector companies is one example of an alternative mechanism for service delivery that would not limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency.
Evidence: PART guidance states that to receive a "Yes" there must be no strong evidence that another approach or mechanism would be more effective to achieve the intended purpose.
Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?
Explanation: GIPSA effectively targets program resources by establishing standards for quality assessments, regulating grain handling practices, and managing a network of Federal, State, and private laboratories that provide impartial, user fee funded official inspection and weighing services under the authority of the U.S. Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946.
Evidence: Evidence: GIPSA's fee-for-service export grain inspection program. FGIS assists in the successful marketing of $14 billion of U.S. grain exports each year through regulatory enforcement activities and oversight of the quality of service operations. The program has begun the process of modernizing nearly every aspect of GIPSA operations via development of enterprise-wide electronic government systems. These systems will affect all business functions -- from registering as a grain exporter to requesting grain inspection services to receiving final certified results online -- to improve internal program efficiencies and effectiveness, and service delivery to our customers. GIPSA also is reengineering and centralizing quality control functions to more effectively target resources to improve accuracy of the system with fewer field offices and personnel.
|Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design||Score||60%|
|Section 2 - Strategic Planning|
Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?
Explanation: GIPSA managers and program staff have developed specific long-term performance measures that cover the range of grain-related agency activities, but are specific enough to measure actual program outcomes and fulfillment of its mission to facilitate the marketing of domestic grain.
Evidence: The program's two long-term measures are: (1) the percent of U.S. grain production traded domestically and internationally without complaint or disruption (i.e., the buyer receives the quantity and quality of grain for which they contracted and paid) and (2) the percent of market-identified quality attributes for which GIPSA has provided standardization. These measures are indicators of the key outcomes of GIPSA's activities: promoting fair and transparent markets, increasing crop value by aligning crop quality with specific consumer demands, and reducing trade disputes resulting from conflicting descriptions of crop quality and value.
Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?
Explanation: GIPSA's long term targets support the long term goal of maximizing the level of U.S. grain production that is traded domestically and internationally without complaint or disruption and increasing the percent of market-identified quality attributes for which GIPSA provides standardization.
Evidence: GIPSA's goal of ensuring that more than 99 percent of total U.S. grain production is traded without complaint or disruption is ambitious, given the number of variables, ranging from crop quality and international regulatory requirements, that may impact this level. GIPSA has set a target of providing standardization for 98.5 percent of market-identified quality factors by fiscal year 2006. GIPSA is responsible for providing grading standards, as well as standardized reference methods, calibrations, and rapid test methods for 12 grains and oilseeds, as well as rice, beans, peas, and lentils, and for numerous attributes (e.g., protein, moisture, test weight) for each of these commodities. To effectively trade grain and related products, the entire U.S. grain marketing chain, from producer to end user to international customer, must be able to measure intrinsic grain qualities of their product. This is an ambitious goal, as new attributes are being introduced at an accelerated rate due to technological advancements in breeding and genetics.
Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?
Explanation: The program's annual performance measures reflect the desired outcomes of its long-term strategic goals, namely to increase the efficiency of U.S. grain trade through programs and services.
Evidence: GIPSA's annual performance measures are: (1) the quality (statistical accuracy) of GIPSA's official inspection results; and (2) the number of official U.S. standards reviewed.
Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?
Explanation: GIPSA's baselines and targets are ambitious given the volume of grain traded annually and the pace at which new characteristics and quality attributes are introduced into the marketplace. One goal of the PART evaluation is to measure program performance in a way that demonstrates continual improvement towards a long-term goal or programmatic outcome. While GIPSA's current annual and long-term measures are acceptable, the agency has committed to work with OMB to develop at least one additional annual and long-term measure that demonstrates increased progress toward achieving a long-term goal.
Evidence: GIPSA's annual measures leave little room for error and set a high minimum standard for the accuracy of its inspection service and the development of market identified quality characteristics. For quality of inspection results, GIPSA is using a baseline of 96.0 percent accuracy of results, with a goal of 97.0 percent in FY 2005, and continued improvement to 98.0 percent by 2007. GIPSA reviewed 4 official United States standards for grain in fiscal year 2004; with a goal of 6 in FY 2005. Both of these measures contribute to achievement of GIPSA's long-term goals of ensuring uninterrupted trade and providing market participants with information to facilitate grain trade.
Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?
Explanation: GIPSA works with stakeholders, USDA and other Federal government partners, as well as State and private partners (official agencies) in the official inspection system, to achieve annual and long-term goals. For example, when designated to provide inspection and weighing services on behalf of GIPSA under the U.S. Grain Standards Act, official designated agency (State and private sector company) management sign a "designation document" committing to adhere to the provisions of the Act and all requirements established by GIPSA in accordance with the Act. In part, official agencies agree to participate in an ongoing national quality control and assurance program (spelled out in GIPSA's quality handbook) which measures the performance of official agencies and serves as a basis for the GIPSA annual performance measure, the quality (statistical accuracy) of official inspection results. In addition, these designated agencies are subject to random supervision by local GIPSA officials and periodic compliance reviews (audits) by GIPSA's Compliance Division both designed to measure the performance and commitment of designated agencies to carry out the mission of the agency.
Evidence: Evidence: GIPSA's Quality Handbook, dated October 1, 1996 (establishing the quality assurance program). In addition, GIPSA partners with ARS to identify and conduct research needed to address emerging market needs for grain inspection and standardization. GIPSA has agreements with FDA and APHIS to address sanitary and phytosanitary issues that impact U.S. grain commerce, and to avoid duplicative inspection activities. GIPSA collaborates with other government partners to remove non-tariff barriers to trade, and open and expand markets for U.S. agricultural products. GIPSA participates in interagency international activities, including the International Plant Protection Convention to address sanitary and phytosanitary issues; the Cartegena Protocol on Biosafety, relating to international movements of products of modern biotechnology; the North American Biotechnology Initiative; and in bilateral and multilateral forums related to specific aspects of facilitating U.S. grain marketing.
Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?
Explanation: GIPSA's Compliance Division is autonomous of program functions and evaluates program delivery, regulations, and policies to ensure they are effective, efficient, and relevant. The unit performs triennial reviews (including interviews with stakeholders) of each official service provider's effectiveness, efficiency, quality and timeliness of service delivery. Findings of operational ineffectiveness and inefficiency can lead to termination of the partnership.
Evidence: In FY 2004, GIPSA's Compliance Division evaluated 12 official agencies and 1 field office. Additional unscheduled reviews are conducted in response to performance or other concerns. All reviews are formally documented and shared with management to allow for program improvements. GIPSA's findings of violations of the United States Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act are independently investigated by USDA's Office of Inspector General (OIG). In FY 2004, GIPSA opened 7 investigations; closed 5 cases and referred one case to OIG for investigation; one is pending. GIPSA also contracts with independent sources to evaluate program effectiveness and relevance. In 2002, GIPSA commissioned a prominent quality expert in academia to study the program's quality assurance/quality control and oversight program. The report recommended that GIPSA centralize it quality control activities to gain operational efficiencies (a function currently performed at each field office), improve its automated data entry, and develop web-based systems for data collection and sharing.
Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?
Explanation: GIPSA is in the process of more closely integrating budgets with performance planning. Annual and long-term performance targets are integral considerations during budget formulation and execution. The program's budget requests are reviewed and approved by the USDA Budget and Performance Integration (BPI) Board, which provides a secondary executive review to ensure alignment of funding and performance with the Department's strategic goals.
Evidence: Evidence: GIPSA's FY 2006 budget request. One of GIPSA's two strategic goals is to facilitate the marketing of U.S. grain and related agricultural products. In line with the agencies strategic plan and a strategic objective, GIPSA requested $950,000 in the FY 2006 budget for the development of new tests for emerging grain attributes. These new methods would align new and emerging crop qualities with food and feed manufacturing needs and alternative uses, thereby increasing crop value and improving U.S. market share. The request identified the USDA strategic goal, Agency strategic goal, Agency objective, and key performance targets and measures related to this increase.
Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?
Explanation: In FY 2004, USDA conducted reviews of each agency's strategic plan and rated each as "Good" or "Needs Work". GIPSA's strategic plan scored a "Needs Work," with performance measures cited as an area for improvement. In response to this review and the changing needs of the market, GIPSA recently revised its strategic plan to set improved baselines and develop better long term and annual measures.
Evidence: Evidence: GIPSA's strategic plan. The two long-term measures - percent of total U.S. grain exports traded without disruptions or reported quality discrepancies, and percent of market-identified quality attributes for which FGIS has provided standardization - are both direct measures of the agency's success in achieving its strategic goal of facilitating the marketing of U.S. grain and related agricultural products. GIPSA's annual performance measures relate to the long-term measures and link to the agency's strategic objective 2.1 (to provide the market with terms and methods for quality assessments). For example, the number of official United States grain standards reviewed measures our success in providing the market with terms and methods it needs to effectively market grain. In addition, the agency's progress in achieving strategic objective 2.3 (to provide official grain inspection and weighing services), is directly measured by the annual measure of the statistical accuracy of official inspection results.
|Section 2 - Strategic Planning||Score||100%|
|Section 3 - Program Management|
Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?
Explanation: In recent years, GIPSA has struggled to translate performance data into timely fee increases that adequately meet the needs of the program and maintain the requisite operating reserve. Currently, the program collects performance information through a number of discrete databases (e.g., National Quality Database, Quality Assurance/Quality Control Database, Grain Inspection and Weighing Information System, and the Export Grain Information System). GIPSA is in the process of modernizing its multiple data collection systems into a single enterprise-wide application that will provide managers with the aggregated information to improve internal program efficiencies and effectiveness. Once completed, this consolidated system will increase operational efficiency and effectiveness. GIPSA also collects information from stakeholders through customer surveys.
Evidence: PART guidance states that a "Yes" answer requires all the following: the program regularly collects high-quality performance data, including data from key program partners, relating to program goals; the program use that information to adjust program priorities, allocate resources, or take other appropriate management actions; the program considers the performance of the program partners as well when assessing progress on key program activities; and the program has collected the baseline performance data necessary to set meaningful, ambitious performance targets.
Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?
Explanation: Performance standards for GIPSA's management are aligned with the goals and objectives contained in the Agency's strategic plan. Program partners, including contractors, are held fully accountable for performance. For example, the manager of GIPSA's enterprise-wide application modernization program oversees the performance of private contractors. Managerial checks used to ensure project efficiency include regular meetings with the contractor, program director, and project manager to review the tasks on the project plan and any new issues that have arisen; tracking issues that arise using an electronic system; required weekly reports; and final application/product testing. In addition, official agencies (service partners) must comply with statutory, regulatory and policy requirements originating from the United States Grain Standards Act. All program partners (official agencies and cooperators) participate in a GIPSA quality assurance program which monitors daily performance based on a statistical sampling of all inspection services. Unlike typical government contracts or grants, official agencies and cooperators do not receive federal funding. They charge a fee for the services they provide to the grain industry to cover operating costs. Agency fees are reviewed and approved by GIPSA to ensure that they are reasonable. Agencies receive an "official" designation for up to three years, during which time GIPSA audits the agencies to determine if fees/costs to the industry are being applied in accordance with the approved fee schedule and in a uniform manner to all customers.
Evidence: Evidence: GIPSA's Quality Handbook, dated October 1, 1996 (establishing the quality assurance program).
Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?
Explanation: GIPSA uses the National Finance Center's (NFC) Financial Foundation Information System (FFIS) to obligate funds in a timely manner with strict accountability. GIPSA's budget staff and program managers collaborate throughout the year to ensure that spending estimates are accurate. GIPSA budget staff and APHIS financial staff (with whom GIPSA contracts for financial services) conducted an exhaustive research of the potential ADA violations cited by the Office of the General Counsel (OGC). The research identified an erroneous reversal of a general ledger entry during conversion to the new FFIS system. Corrective actions were taken making sufficient funds available during the fiscal years in question.
Evidence: Evidence: USDA OGC memo dated January 14, 2005. USDA's OGC officially reversed their opinion that GIPSA violated The Anti-deficiency Act. OGC based their decision on financial data provided by GIPSA in September 2004 including an Expenditure Adjustment Form and Year-End Closing Statement showing that sufficient funds were available once the Agency made technical corrections.
Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?
Explanation: GIPSA authorizes official agencies (both States and certain private entities) to perform a variety of services under the oversight of GIPSA personnel. GIPSA measures the efficiency of its oversight of these agencies inspection services.
Evidence: GIPSA has a long term goal of improving the efficiency of its oversight activities as measured by the cost of oversight per official agency inspection. The deployment of a new information management system between 2005 and 2009, the re-engineering of business processes, and the consolidation of organizational structures allow GIPSA to target a 41 percent improvement in the efficiency of oversight activities between 2004 and 2009.
Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?
Explanation: GIPSA collaborates and coordinates effectively with related programs, including Federal entities, other USDA agencies, State and private program partners, and international governments and private sectors to fulfill its mission and achieve long-term goals.
Evidence: Evidence: The following directives provide evidence of how GIPSA collaborates effectively with other agencies to meaningfully allocate and manage resources. GIPSA Directive 9060.2, "Implementation of the FGIS-FDA Memorandum of Understanding" dated May 1, 1997 (outlining the agreement between GIPSA and FDA on food safety issues); GIPSA Directive 9180.35, "Phytosanitary Inspection" dated May 1, 1997 (establishing the agreement between GIPSA and APHIS on phytosanitary certification of grain products); GIPSA Directive 9070.6, "Reporting Violations of the U.S. Grain Standards Act and the Agricultural Marketing Act of 1946" dated October 5, 2000 (establishing procedures for investigative matters with the Office of the Inspector General); GIPSA Directive 9100.1, "Foreign Quality and Weight Complaints" dated October 8, 1998 (establishing procedures with the Foreign Agricultural Service on international trade issues and programs).
Does the program use strong financial management practices?
Explanation: GIPSA's fee-for-service inspection programs have been hindered by diminished retained earnings and, in some cases, an inadequate fee structure because of either a lack of timely and accurate financial information or failure to act on that information. As a result, the program receives a "No" in response to this question.
Evidence: According to PART guidance, a Yes requires the following criteria: the program has procedures in place to minimize erroneous payments; financial management systems meet statutory requirements; financial information is accurate and timely; and integrated financial and performance systems support day-to-day operations.
Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?
Explanation: GIPSA acts quickly to address management deficiencies when they have been identified. GIPSA's internal quality control program recently identified administrative, program, and management deficiencies through an audit of the League City Field Office in the administrative billing process. Billing errors included hours worked that were not billed to the applicant and hours billed at rates that were lower than the current fee schedule. The program immediately assembled a team of headquarters and field representatives to develop a correction plan that currently is being implemented. A follow-up compliance audit is schedule for the end of the calendar year to assess the effectiveness of the new management control plan.
Evidence: In FY 2002 and 2003, GIPSA identified financial management deficiencies. GIPSA immediately acted to improve its financial management system by instituting new controls, changing financial managers, and acquiring expert assistance from other USDA agencies. GIPSA also identified that its current information technology structure would not allow the agency to realize needed improvements and efficiencies. In response, GIPSA hired a contractor to develop an enterprise-wide architecture to integrate data and business processes. GIPSA then established an Enterprise Architecture Program Management Office and hired a manager, and is now developing and deploying the enterprise architecture. GIPSA recognized deficiencies in its debt management program during FY 2004. Through a newly-established agreement that leverages the resources of the USDA Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, GIPSA rectified its debt management deficiencies.
|Section 3 - Program Management||Score||72%|
|Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability|
Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?
Explanation: GIPSA has had success in reaching its current long-term goals: 1). Ensuring that more than 99 percent of U.S. grain production is traded domestically and internationally without complaint or disruption (i.e., the buyer receives the quantity and quality of grain for which they contracted and paid); and 2). Providing the market with standardization for market-identified quality attributes.
Evidence: PART guidance states that partial credit, such as Large or Small Extent, should be given in cases where there is partial, but notable, achievement of long-term targets. While GIPSA's current annual and long-term measures are acceptable, the agency has committed to work with OMB to develop at least one additional annual and long-term measure that demonstrates increased progress toward achieving a long-term goal.
Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?
Explanation: The purpose of this question is to determine whether the program is meeting the targets evaluated in Question 2.4 and also to determine whether program partners (such as regulated bodies or participating State agencies) are meeting annual targets. GIPSA works effectively with program partners to achieve objectives and goals. For example, GIPSA partners with ARS to conduct research regarding emerging market needs for grain inspection and standardization. In addition, GIPSA has agreements with FDA and APHIS for inspection services to address sanitary and phytosanitary issues that impact U.S. grain commerce.
Evidence: GIPSA's annual measures set a high minimum standard for the accuracy of its inspection service and the development of market identified quality characteristics. For quality of inspection results, GIPSA is using a baseline of 96.0 percent accuracy of results, with a goal of 97.0 percent in FY 2005, and continued improvement to 98.0 percent by 2007. GIPSA reviewed 4 official United States standards for grain in fiscal year 2004; with a goal of 6 in FY 2005.
Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?
Explanation: The agency's efficiency measure evaluates the cost of Federal oversight of official agencies for inspection services. In addition, GIPSA has pursued opportunities to reengineer business functions to increase efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
Evidence: GIPSA is in the process of consolidating its performance monitoring system into a single central laboratory to achieve optimal efficiency in our operations. By 2009, GIPSA will have eliminated an additional 25 percent of our field structure in favor of a single "center of excellence." Within the next 3 years, GIPSA will deploy an enterprise-wide electronic government system that will consolidate our information systems into a single enterprise-wide application that will provide managers with aggregated data information they need to improve internal program efficiencies and effectiveness.
Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?
Explanation: The U.S. Grain Standards Act specifies that GIPSA will facilitate the orderly and timely marketing of U.S. grain by regulating the weighing and the certification of the weight of U.S. grain shipped in interstate or foreign commerce, establishing official United States standards for grain and promoting their uniform application, and providing for an official inspection system for grain. In carrying out its responsibilities, GIPSA partners with State and private sector entities as appropriate to fulfill its mission. The inspection and weighing certificate issued by GIPSA and its partners in the official inspection system are recognized as being accurate and reliable by customers throughout the world.
Evidence: According to PART guidance, the purpose of the question is to determine how well the program performs relative to other programs engaged in a similar activity. Programs are not limited to Federal government and can include State and local government and the private sector. A "Large Extent" is provided as recognition of the program's cooperation with State and private sector entities, but also notes the need to implement additional re-engineering efforts to create efficiencies.
Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?
Explanation: In the past, the program has undergone a number of independent evaluations by entities external to the agency such as the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and USDA's Office of Inspector General (OIG). While it has been nearly ten years since a comprehensive, external, and independent evaluation has occurred, the program's compliance unit (independent of program delivery functions) conducts audits of program efficacy. The findings of these evaluations indicate that GIPSA is meeting its goals or adjusting operations and organizational structure to do so. For example, GIPSA's internal quality control program recently identified administrative deficiencies in a field location. The program immediately assembled a team to develop a correction plan that currently is being implemented.
Evidence: The purpose of this question is to determine whether the program is effective based on independent and comprehensive evaluations. A "Yes" answer would require that independent program evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective. In November of 2003, USDA's OIG audited the agency's management and security of information technology and found 200 high and medium risk vulnerabilities that resulted in 24 recommendations. As of August 2004, the program had taken action on all of the recommendations contained in the audit. In addition, the program's compliance division reviews grain inspection and weighing field operations among the Federal, State, and private offices. These compliance reviews evaluate management effectiveness and efficiency, procedural compliance, and customer satisfaction (including potential service delivery discrimination).
|Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability||Score||67%|