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January 8, 2009
Contact: OMB Communications, 202-395-7254

The State of Government Performance

Washington, DC — The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released three key reports today to provide the state of agency performance – the first 2008 Performance Report of the Federal Government; the Improving the Accuracy and Integrity of Federal Payments report, reporting the FY 2008 improper payments; and the first quarter FY 2009 President’s Management Agenda (PMA) Scorecard which demonstrates agencies’ continued commitment to improving performance.  The report results shared today are part of an ongoing effort by Federal Agencies to provide greater transparency, hold government accountable, and deliver results for taxpayers.

“As President-elect Obama said yesterday, the commitment to greater government effectiveness is more important now than ever,” said Clay Johnson, OMB Deputy Director for Management. “There is more transparency than ever before about what works and what doesn’t; so the next Administration has the information they need to focus on ‘known’ opportunities for improved performance, as well as determine additional opportunities.”

Continuously Making the Government More Effective

OMB released The 2008 Performance Report of the Federal Government, which presents for the first time a candid two-page summary of agencies’ performance. From this report, the public will also be able to access in one place agency planning, performance, budget, financial, and high-risk plans and reports.  Some government-wide performance trends include:

  • Improved performance results. 57% of 2008 program measures improved performance results over the prior year, compared to 45% in 2007.
  • Met performance goals. 63% of program performance goals met their targets in 2008, compared to 74% in 2007.

“Instead of just producing 300-400 page reports, for the first time, each major federal Agency has summarized its budget, financial, and performance results in two pages,” said Johnson. “Citizens should expect their Federal government to spend their taxpayer dollars effectively and more effectively each year and this way they can see it more clearly whether and where it is occurring.”

Improving the Accuracy and Integrity of Federal Payments

OMB also released the FY 2008 improper payments results in its report, Improving the Accuracy and Integrity of Federal Payments.  The report summarizes Agency reporting under the Improper Payments Information Act (IPIA) and the Recovery Auditing Act.  Selected highlights of results include:

  • Overall error rate.  The FY 2008 overall government-wide error rate was 3.9% (or $72.1 billion), compared to last year’s error rate of 2.8% (with $42.1 billion in errors).  The increase was largely driven by 12 newly measured programs in Fiscal Year 2008 that reported improper payments of $28.9 billion with an error rate of 10.3%.
  • Error reduction in the programs originally reported in 2004.  Improper payments continued to decrease in the programs first measured in FY 2004.  In FY 2004, the error rate for these programs was 4.3% (totaling $45 billion in improper payments); and in FY 2008 the rate has declined $7.1 billion to 3.0% (totaling $37.9 billion).
  • Closing the reporting gap.  Agencies are measuring 97% of all high risk outlays for error (or approximately $1.84 trillion of $2.98 trillion in Federal outlays), up from 85% last year.  Agencies have plans in place to measure the remaining 3% of Federal outlays by FY 2010.
  • Recovering improper contract payments.  Agencies identified $173.3 million in erroneous contract payments and recovered $132.4 million, or 76.4%.  Since FY 2004, the cumulative amount of recovered payments is $982 million, or 52.5% of identified payments errors.

“Agencies are successfully working to eliminate improper payments on all programs with a risk of error,” said Johnson.

FY09 Q1 PMA Scorecard

Notable scorecard improvements include:

  • Human Capital. Eighty percent of hires are made within the PMA standard of 45 days (a vast improvement from previous years when fewer than 50% of hires were achieved in 45 days.)
  • Commercial Services Management. Agencies have lowered costs and improved performance of their commercial services through the disciplined use of internal business process reengineering and public-private competitions. Total projected savings from these management tools exceed $7 billion; actual savings to date exceed $2 billion.
  • Financial Management. In FY 2008, the number of agencies achieving a “clean” opinion on their financial statement audits increased to 21 of the 24 major agencies, reflecting the highest total in the past 6 years. In addition, the number of material weaknesses government-wide declined by 18%, from 39 to 32.
  • E-Government and IT. Overall, agencies continued to maintain their status and progress in the overall management of their information technology portfolio which now includes their mutually agreed upon implementation plans for the completion and use of HSPD-12 credentials.  
  • Performance Improvement Initiative. OMB and agencies have assessed the effectiveness of 98% of Federal programs and made the findings available to the public on 

Reports discussed are here:

Performance Report of the Federal Government: /omb/expectmore/2008Performance.pdf
Improving the Accuracy and Integrity of Federal Payments: /omb/financial/fia/2008_ipia_final.pdf
FY 2009 President’s Management Agenda (PMA) Scorecard: