Detailed Information on the
Bureau of Indian Affairs - Realty and Trust Assessment

Program Code 10003728
Program Title Bureau of Indian Affairs - Realty and Trust
Department Name Department of the Interior
Agency/Bureau Name Bureau of Indian Affairs and Bureau of Indian Education
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2006
Assessment Rating Results Not Demonstrated
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 80%
Strategic Planning 38%
Program Management 100%
Program Results/Accountability 20%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $119
FY2008 $123
FY2009 $125

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Demonstrate that budget allocation decisions are tied explicitly to accomplishment of annual and long-term performance goals, such that budget allocation decisions fully reflect performance targets.

Action taken, but not completed An automated performance module in TAAMS will give the program the capability to determine time and cost per unit of work and per output, e.g. time and cost to complete a lease; total cost to complete all leases for the year, etc.

Include transparent discussion of program efficiency in budget submission.

Action taken, but not completed Substantial ground was gained in FY 2006 as evidence through the reduction in case processing time in years. This was accomplished through managerial accountaiblity but resulted in greater program efficiency. Efforts were also supplemented by surge contractual labor.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Establish baselines and targets for all PART performance measures.

Completed The item on the measures baselines and targets is only partially complete at this time. Data systems are being updated and collection of data is ongoing.

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Annual Outcome

Measure: Percent of eligible trust land acres that are under lease for agricultural use.

Explanation:Measurement of improved economic condition.

Year Target Actual
2005 Historical 73%
2006 No Target No data
2007 74% 72%
2008 99%
2009 100%
2012 100%
Long-term/Annual Output

Measure: Percent of backlog cases closed during the year (Probate Program). (New measure, added August 2007).


Year Target Actual
2006 --- 55%
2007 38% 52%
2008 100%
2009 100%
Long-term/Annual Output

Measure: Percent of estates closed (Probate Program) (New measure added, August 2007).


Year Target Actual
2006 --- 58%
2007 100% 89%
2008 100%
2009 100%
Long-term/Annual Efficiency

Measure: Percent of agricultural and range acres leased where lease proceeds exceed administrative cost of the leased-acres base. (Realty Program) (new measures added, August 2007)


Year Target Actual
2007 Establish Baseline 72%
2008 75%
Long-term/Annual Output

Measure: Percent of title encumbrances requested during the reporting year that are completed by the end of the reporting year. (Realty Program) (new measure added, August 2007)


Year Target Actual
2009 96%
2008 90%
2007 Establish Baseline 89%

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: Through treaties dating back to the 1800's and legislation starting with the Snyder Act of 1921, the Federal Government has assumed responsibility for the benefit, care and assistance of Native Americans throughout the United States for general support that includes Indian trust lands. The BIA has 350,104 tracts in TAAMS and of those tracts there are 74,163 unique tracts with 1 or more leases. This means that 21% of the tracts have at least one lease or more. However, there are millions of acres with grazing permits that are not captured in this figure. Program managers are proactive when it comes to securing leases and they have certain time frames to initiate and award the lease.

Evidence: The Snyder act of November 2, 1921 -- ch. 115, 42 Stat. 208, PL 94-482 (sec. 410) 90 Stat. 2233, 25 USC 13) (providing funding for Indian programs); Indian Land Consolidation Act of 2000 (PL 102-238); and American Indian Probate Reform Act of 2004 (AIPRA)(PL 108-374). ILCA & AIPRA introduce a nationwide, federal intestate probate code; expand existing land consolidation programs; standardize consent requirements for many trust transactions; enable individuals to directly manage agricultural leases; and explore private trust mechanisms that will increase the effectiveness of administering fractionated interests.

YES 20%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: The program maintains all land ownership records which are often complicated by highly fractionated ownership interests and probate activities that distribute decedent trust assets among heirs, devisees, legatees and claimants. The Real Estate Program is responsible for managing 56 million acres of tribal and individually allotted trust lands. The program provides technical assistance, guidance, and program reviews to the regional and field offices who process more than 42,000 transactions annually including acquisitions, disposals, rights-of-way, leasing, permits, sales, cadastral surveys, trespass, lease compliance reviews, title recordation and probate activities.

Evidence: The ILCA, 25 CFR 150 and external reporting requirements such as the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990, the Information Technology Management Reform Act of 1996, and many others that require reports on a regular basis.

YES 20%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: No other entity in the Federal Government is authorized to perform the trust land activities for the Indian tribes and individual Indian land landowners. However, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) surveys Indian lands through an intra-agency agreement between the Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) and BLM. In addition, some of the Indian tribes provide surveys for their reservation through the Indian Self-Determination Act. Minerals Management Service is responsible for ensuring that the Indian tribes and allottees are paid timely and in full for the leasing of all mineral located on Indian lands and for its royalty. These activities do not overlap BIA's responsibilities.

Evidence: 25 CFR Parts 150, 151 (Land Acquisitions), 152 (Issuances of Patents in Fee, Certificates of Competency, Removal of Restrictions and Sale of Indian Lands), 162 (Leases and Permits), 169 (Rights-of-Way Over Indian Lands), 211 (leasing of Tribal Lands for Mineral Devleopment), 212 (Leasing of Alloted Lands for Mineral Development), ILCA, and AIPRA

YES 20%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: The Trust Asset and Accounting Management System (TAAMS) is an automated system that tracks land, titles and records which is currently being deployed to all regions. Although fractionation of small interests continues to impact the program's efficiency, provisions within AIPRA which became effective in June 2006, should substantially reduce the challenges in real estate and title management. However, it is too soon to assess the full impact of these provisions on the program's effectiveness.

Evidence: 25 CFR Parts 150, 151, 152, 162, 169, 211, 212, ILCA, AIPRA, and the Probate Process Flow 3.4X

NO 0%

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: The program participated in the regulatory initiative in support of the Fiduciary Trust Model (FTM) to examine how trust reform efforts are being implemented. In 2006, handbooks were developed for leasing and permitting, rights-of-way, probates, land titles and records, fluid minerals, hard rock and sand and gravel. Handbooks are currently being developed for Acquisitions and Disposals. In order to ensure that probate efforts are well targeted, annual quotas have been established for each region. These quotas identify specific cases that are to be prepared for adjudication and others for which assets are to be distributed.

Evidence: Quarterly GPRA reports reflect the transactions completed and processed by the field offices; the annual acreage report reflects the increase or decrease in the total number of trust acres managed by the Real Estate General program. Annual quotas and weekly probate progress reports illustrate performance against quotas.

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 80%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

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: The long term measures that the Real Estate Program is using is the: (1) % of acres under lease, (2) number of title encumbrances completed each year, and (3) the number of probate cases closed each year. The baseline year for measuring items 1 and 2 is FY 2005. The long term goal is to improve economic development in Indian Country and protect the land and to get and remain current with the demand for the Probate services. The goals do not show targets. For example, by 2012, BIA will have leases on XX% of leaseable acres. Then annual goals would follow.

Evidence: Annual acreage and lease compliance reports, special data calls, Activity Based Costing that measure activity outcomes, TAAMS Ad Hoc query reports, the Fiduciary Trust Model (FTM) and through weekly probate progress reports showing the number of cases closed to date for the current fiscal year. The baseline for measuring items 1 and 2 is FY 2005. Baseline for probates began on October 1, 2005.

YES 12%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: The Real Estate program is evaluating data to substantiate accurate targets for long term measures. The program will be using FY 2005 data as its baseline.

Evidence: Annual acreage reports, lease compliance reports, special data calls, Ad Hoc query reports from TAAMS, and probate annual quotas.

NO 0%

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: Real Estate's goals are: (1) percent of eligible trust land acres that are under lease (% for agricultural use; and % for commercial property use), and (2) the number of probate backlog cases closed each year which marks progress toward eliminating the probate backlog.

Evidence: Strategic plan for Office of Trust Services, GPRA goals and probate bi-weekly progress reports showing the number of cases closed to date for the current fiscal year.

NO 0%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: Senior management has reviewed performance measures by validating them against the program's long term goals in view of appropriate measures. GPRA measures that the program used were no longer being considered by upper level management. The program selected the number of annual measures based upon the key program areas for which it has direct control and has statistics from field operations. FY 2005 was established as the baseline because the data was more consistent than data collected in 2004. Some measures were eliminated as outside of the span of control; others were not considered key measures for program success. The probate baseline was established on October 1, 2005. That baseline identifies all backlog cases that must be closed by the end of the fiscal year 2008.

Evidence: Percentages from the GPRA, annual acreage, lease compliance reports and probate annual quotas.

NO 0%

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: Some Tribes have contracted portions of the real estate program to provide services to their members. BIA provides technical guidance to the tribes by way of the handbooks and oversight. Tribes are required to follow the same policy and procedures in accordance with Federal laws and regulations. The Tribes are required to report GPRA data in accordance with the terms and conditions of the P.L. 93-638 Contracts/P.L. 103-413 Compacts but if this has not been included in the terms and conditions, BIA does not have a way of getting the data. Other government partners have their own long term goals but it may not always be consistent with BIA's needs. Probate combines the efforts of the BIA, OHA and OST with those of outside contractors. All parties are working toward the same goal to eliminate the backlog by the end of 2008. The cumulative efforts of all parties are reflected in the progress reports.

Evidence: Compact agreements, contracts and policy documents -- manuals and handbooks

YES 12%

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: The program has on-going evaluations being performed by GAO in 2005 and 2006 affecting acreage and rights-of-way. The program has contracted with an outsider contractor to conduct an independent program review resulting in the development of the crosscutting Comprehensive Trust Management Plan (the outside contractor was EDS who completed the required evaluation). Probate case preparation and case closing efforts are being incorporated in the agency review process conducted by the OST. However, these evaluations are not of sufficient scope for realty and probate.

Evidence: See GAO-06-781, BIA's Processing Land in Trust Application (this being provided) and GAO-04-923, Alaska Native Allotments Conflicts with Utility Rights-of-Way Not Resolved Through Existing Remedies. Comprehensive Trust Management Plan page 1-5.

NO 0%

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: The BIA is in the process of adopting an activity-based costing methodology. The program has not yet fully implemented its performance planning and budget-planning process, such that budget allocation decisions fully reflect performance targets.

Evidence: Budget justifications, budget allocations (Pub. L. 93-638 indirect costs) and Probate-Annual Case Load Data 1.0.3.

NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: Through the FTM initiative, the program has standardized its handbooks, procedures and forms. The program is currently rewriting the realty related regulations for rights-of-way; leasing: business and agriculture; and for minerals: fluid, hard rock, sand and gravel. Probate has made three significant changes: 1) the annual quotas to establish performance expectations for each region and permit the regional directors to properly allocate resources; 2) external contracts have been revised to ensure that the contractor's efforts are aligned with regional performance expectations; and 3) progress reports are produced and distributed to senior management on a frequent, regular and as requested basis.

Evidence: AIPRA, ILCA, LTRO, handbooks, updated regulations, updated land ownership information systems (TAAMS), and probate quotas, contracts and weekly progress summaries. See evidence for question 1.1 and 1.3.

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 38%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

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: The program prepares annual reports on all real estate transactions throughout BIA and data collected from the field offices, Indian tribes and Alaska natives in support of this effort. The performance information is collected from our field offices through the following reports: Annual Acreage Report, Lease Compliance Report, Unresolved Rights, GPRA, Special Reports, and Fee-to-Trust (On & Off Reservation) data. The program also captures the number of land and leasing transactions and other data from its automated programs, quarterly and annual reports which are consolidated by the regional offices from data received from its agencies; evaluates the data to identify problems to make corrective actions as needed. Probate teams capture time and performance information used to adjust the formulas that produce annual performance quotas. The program has difficulty sometimes disseminating the data in a timely and accurate information for which it is working to improve.

Evidence: Each OST Regional Supervisory Appraiser submits a monthly and quarterly workload report to the Chief Appraiser which contains information on the following: number of appraisal on hand at the beginning of the month/quarters, number of appraisal reports completed by staff/contracts, number of completed appraisal reports transmitted to client, and number of backlogged appraisals. The information contained in these reports are used to determine areas where additional staff and funding should be directed and identify areas where improvements in workflow management are needed. Beginning in FY 2007, the Office of Appraisal Services (OAS) will implement an Indian Trust Appraisal Request Tracking System (ITARS), which will enable the OAS to use Activity Based Costing (ABC) to track the costs of both appraisal work and supporting costs for each assignment, identify the turnaround time for appraisal reports and track the productivity of the appraisal staff.

YES 14%

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: Managers are held accountable through their performance appraisals. Agency staff are accountable to regional directors for achieving annual probate quotas, realty transactions, and title status reports. Regional managers, project managers and bureau directors are accountable to the Secretary for achieving annual probate quotas, title status reports quotas, and realty general reports. All regional directors are aware of the incentives and consequences associated with performance expectations.

Evidence: The Chief Appraiser provides quarterly status reports to the Special Trustee, and is responsible for the performance of the OAS staff. Regional Supervisory Appraisers submit monthly and quarterly workload reports to the Chief Appraiser and are held accountable for the information request. Beginning in FY 2007, the OAS ITARS system will track the workflow of each regional office and the individual performance of the OAS staff based on ABC.

YES 14%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner, spent for the intended purpose and accurately reported?

Explanation: The Real Estate program obligates funds daily through the issuance of requisitions, purchase orders, credit card purchases, travel authorizations/vouchers, intra-agency and interagency agreements. Real Estate General carried over 1.4% of its funds, Cadastral Surveys billing did not get expended until after the end of FY 2005 (any funding that was carried over was obligated in the intra-agency agreement to BLM.

Evidence: Through the use of BIA's financial reports, the program expenditures are monitored daily through the use of daily and monthly transactions register reports, budget status reports, monthly obligation and status reports, payroll cost detail reports and accounts payable and undelivered order reports.

YES 14%

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: Quarterly quota progress and real estate data is captured through: GPRA reports, TAAMS/LTRO/Realty, ProTrac, Annual Acreage, Lease Compliance, and Unresolved Rights Reports/data, the Fee-to-Trust tracking system, the Secretary's Trust Tracking System (STTS), the Realty Tracking System (RTS), and the Information Management System (IMS). Time based efficiency is captured and measured. Probate performance incentives for performance and disincentives for non-performance have been defined and communicated to the regional directors. Quarterly quota progress is captured for evaluation and reporting.

Evidence: Through the use of GPRA; TAAMS/LTRO; annual acreage, lease compliance and unresolved Indian rights reports; fee-to-trust tracking system; and ProTrac.

YES 14%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: The program coordinates activities with the following agencies: BLM and OST regarding regulatory initiatives; handbooks; cadastral survey initiatives; and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) requirements for Title Status Report (TSR) policy. Indian Land Consolidation Office, a related but previously PARTed program, has not developed the procedures/regulation on how it will interact with Probate. This is a logical next step that BIA will have to develop.

Evidence: Interagency and intra-agency agreements and the BIA's Environmental Services.

YES 14%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: Funds are obligated through procurement documents, intra-agency/interagency funding agreements and fund allocation documents. The Program's budget is reconciled using the Federal Finance System (FFS) through the use of the procurement and intra-agency/interagency agreements document numbers as payments are made and through the financial reports as indicated in evidence.

Evidence: FFS, annual funding agreements, FFS tables, accounts payable and undelivered order, daily/monthly transaction register reports, budget status reports, payroll detail cost reports, and accounts payable and undelivered order reports.

YES 14%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: The program has standardized it processes and its handbooks for: leasing and permitting, fluid minerals, hard rock, sand and gravel; land title and records; probate; and rights-of-way; and have standardized its forms covering real estate transactions. The program has not reviewed its field locations over five years, but will begin in FY 2007 to conduct reviews at four regions and its agencies annually over a three-year cycle. Probate quotas have been established for the cases that need to be completed at each of the BIA regions. The SES performance standards have included: eliminating probate backlog; eliminating the backlog for data cleanup in the LTRO activities; as well as, eliminating the Special Deposit Account (SDA) backlog. Overall the program is now ahead of schedule for eliminating the probate backlog by the end of FY 2008.

Evidence: The BIA developed handbooks for leasing and permitting; fluid minerals, hard rock, sand and gravel; land title and records, probate and rights-of-way; and drafted proposed regulations for 25 CFR § 150, 151, 162, 169, 211, and 212. Transfer of function to Office of the Special Trustee in FY 2001.

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 100%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The program has identified potential discrepancies in data for long term measures which moves this data into the category of unverified data for the proposed lease measures. Once this data is verified, the program expects to revise its baseline and prior performance years' data. The long term goal is to process 51,000 transactions per year with an increase of 2,500 transactions per year or a 6% increase annually. Transactions consist of on and off reservation acquisitions; land disposals; mortgages, partitions, surface leases and permits; mineral leases; rights-of-way/easements/condemnations; administrative appeals; lease compliance and unresolved rights (trespass) issues. Probate has a goal to process 5,100 cases per year. Probate's long term goal is to eliminate the backlog by FY 2008.


NO 0%

Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: The program has identified potential discrepancies in data for annual measures which moves this data into the category of unverified data for the proposed lease measure. Once this data is verified, the program expects to revise its baseline and prior performance years' data. Assurances were made by the program that supporting data would be provided in the month of November to allow reconsideration of the evidence in support of this question.

Evidence: Probate performance goals are embedded in the annual quotas. The Department, overall, is ahead of schedule in meeting performance expectations. The following summarizes FY 2006 plans, as stated in the FY 2007 budget request and actual progress as of 5/5/2006. Cumulative cases closed in 2006 is 20,718 with a plan for closing 18,882 probate cases in 2006. Probate is already 10% over their target and have completed 6,846 cases so far in FY 2006 plan of 6,910 cases.

NO 0%

Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: Under the Department's trust reform initiative, the development of the FTM standardization and streamlining of business processes have now been defined. The program established efficiency measures and conveyed consequeces of meeting and not meeting annual targets to managers at all levels of management. BIA substantially exceeded its target for the time efficiency measure by reducing processing time for probates from 7 years to 2.2 years.

Evidence: The Real Estate Program has completed handbooks with implementation of the handbooks to the field office in 2006, drafting regulations, and cited through the FY04-06, and 07 Presidents' Performance Budgets.


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: Comparisons with other entities are challenging due to the unique nature of the fiduciary trust role in most program transactions. The BIA clientele are the Indian tribes and individual Indian landowners. The Department is the only entity that protects the trust assets of Indian tribes and individual Indian landowners. The BIA maintains the trust records for the 56 million acres of trust lands. No other agency has this trust responsibility. It is similar to the other Departmental bureaus and other Federal agencies who manage land, e.g. BLM, MMS, FWS, USGS, NPS, and IHS and local and state government recordation of titles, rights-of-way, permits and leasing actions. In contrast, these other agencies do not have to deal with fractionated interests.

Evidence: The BIA mission statement "is to enhance the quality of life, to promote economic opportunity, and to carry out the responsibility to protect and improve the trusts assets of American Indians, Indian tribes and Alaska Natives."


Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: The program has an ongoing evaluation conducted by GAO as it affects telecommunications rights-of-way, acreage and fee-to-trust land acquisitions. A report on the fee-to-land acquisitions program has not been received yet. These evaluations are limited in scope to specific components of the overall program. In addition, there has been a broad-sweeping independent evaluation of all Indian Trust, resulting in the creation of the Comprehensive Trust Management Plan. GAO audits have been performed in 2005 and are ongoing in 2006.

Evidence: See GAO-06-781, BIA's Processing Land in Trust Application and GAO-04-923, Alaska Native Allotments Conflicts with Utility Rights-of-Way Not Resolved Through Existing Remedies, Comprehensive Trust Management Plan

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 20%

Last updated: 09062008.2006SPR