In an effort to increase efficiency, the GAO looked at Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART), an initiative started under the Bush administration requiring all government programs to adopt at least efficiency measure.
The GAO reports that “36 efficiency measures in 21 selected programs in 5 agencies and a generalizable sample from the other 1,355 measures governmentwide were analyzed, along with reviewed documents and interviewed officials from selected programs, reviewed literature on efficiency, and interviewed experts.”
That said, the report finds that the OMB, “as the focal point for management in the executive branch, provides guidance and supports information-sharing mechanisms,” might be an ideal tool to create a more strategic outline to improve process across the federal government.
The GAO suggests that OMB chief Peter Orszag “should evolve toward a broader approach that emphasizes identifying and pursuing strategies and opportunities to improve efficiency at each of the governmentwide, agency, and program levels.”
Furthermore, it is recommended OMB should clarify on the program level whether agencies should keep developing and using program-level efficiency measures. If they are, then OMB needs to support and supplement those efforts with provide enhanced guidance and technical support.