An Assessment of SES Performance Appraisal Systems

Gao ID: GGD-84-16 May 16, 1984

GAO reviewed Senior Executive Service (SES) performance appraisal systems at various federal agencies to determine the extent to which such systems are meeting the requirements of the Civil Service Reform Act. GAO sent questionnaires to SES personnel and reviewed individual SES performance plans and appraisals.

GAO found that most agencies have implemented SES performance appraisal systems that meet the requirements of the act, but some systems need refinements to more fully meet the objectives of the act. GAO believes that this is not unusual because agencies had less than 1 year after the enactment of the act to implement appraisal systems. GAO found that: (1) less than 30 percent of the performance plans reviewed contained qualitative performance standards and less than 60 percent contained quantitative standards; (2) performance requirements were not always established before the beginning of each rating period; and (3) many performance plans had not been updated in response to changes in job responsibilities. In addition, GAO found that: (1) 71 percent of the executives sampled believed that their performance plans met the act's objectives; (2) at least 57 percent of those surveyed believed that their agency's SES performance appraisal system had no effect on performance and was not worth its cost; and (3) none of the agencies surveyed had established a system to evaluate its SES performance appraisal system.


Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.

Director: Rosslyn S. Kleeman Team: General Accounting Office: General Government Division Phone: (202) 512-9204

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