USDA FOREST SERVICE : Strategic Planning and Resource Assessment

Forest Service at a Glance

Roadmap to the FY 2003 Performance and Accountability Report

Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

The Government Performance and Results Act of 1993 requires each Federal agency to report, no later than 180 days following the close of the year, to the President and the Congress on its performance for the previous fiscal year. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Circular No. A-11 Part 2, Section 231

According to the OMB Circular No. A-11 Part 2, Section 231, dated June 27, 2002 (with July 2003 Section 230 revisions), each report must include the following elements:

A comparison of actual performance with the projected (target) levels of performance as set out in he performance goals in the annual performance plan. The target levels are shown in their most current form, and the agency’s annual report must state actual performance for every performance goal in the annual performance plan. For some programs, the performance reported may reflect previous year’s monies during that fiscal year. Where tangible results are produced, examples may be noted (Section 231.2).

If actual performance information is unavailable at the time an annual report is prepared, the performance information, comparison to performance goal target levels, and explanations for such will be included (when available) in a subsequent year’s annual report. If the actual performance information is characterized as preliminary, the comparison between actual and target performance is deferred until a future year’s report (Section 231.3).

For a performance goal not achieved, an explanation for why the goal was not met. The depth of explanation may vary but an explanation is encouraged if a target level was exceeded by a significant extent. This information can explain the usefulness and lend management understanding f that particular program. A general explanation must be provided even if the difference between the target and actual performance is miniscule. Effect on overall program or activity performance must also be noted. If deferring an explanation, this must be noted in the annual report (Section231.4).

A description of the plans and schedules to meet an unmet goal in the future, or alternatively, there commended action regarding an unmet goal that the agency has concluded it as impractical or infeasible (current or future attainment). This may include discontinuing or adjusting a goal, and should also be reflected in the agency’s strategic goals (Section 231.5).

An evaluation of the performance goal levels fort he current fiscal year (taking into account the actual performance achieved during the past fiscal year). An assessment of the program’s initiatives and effectiveness, in keeping aligned with the President’s Management Agenda, should also be included (Section 231.6).

Abiding by the Reports Consolidation Act of 2000, an assessment of the reliability and completeness of the performance data. This act provides permanent authority to combine performance information with financial information, beginning in 2000. Agencies are required to note any material inadequacies, as well as the actions being taken to correct for these weaknesses. Performance data is considered complete if the actual performance is described for every performance goal and indicator, and if the agency describes any performance goals and indicators for which actual data are not available at the time of reporting (Section 231.7).

Trend data, including actual performance information for at least 4 fiscal years. Agencies may choose to stop reporting actual performance data for goals that have been terminated. Agencies should not change actual performance information for goals in prior years, however, that may reflect what was originally reported in an annual report (Section 231.8).

Section 231.9 of the OMB Circular also provides that the performance report may summarize findings of program evaluations, budget information, classified appendices, and descriptions of information quality. According to Section 231.10, there is no prescribed structure for the report. The agency is encouraged to include a mission statement, however, with general objectives and goals for how to fulfill this mission.

Forest Service Business Model

The mission of the Forest Service is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of the Nation’s forests and rangelands to meet the needs of present and future generations. The Forest Service supports two cornerstone elements via this mission statement— “To care for the land and serve people.”

In support of its mission, the Forest Service business model has been developed over time by way of strategic planning to provide better public service and sustainable land stewardship practices. As a key element of the Forest Service Performance and Accountability Report—Fiscal Year 2003, the Management Discussion and Analysis section presents financial statements and narrative descriptions to illustrate a cohesive and comprehensive picture of program discussion and financial performance, with greater understanding of the goal. This includes who we are, what we do, and how well we met the performance goals set for fiscal year 2003.

The Forest Service Performance and Accountability Report—Fiscal Year 2003 satisfies requirements for accountability reporting and includes the agency Chief and Chief Financial Officer's statements and U.S. Department of Agriculture Office of the Inspector General assessment of financial reporting.