A new federal reports says that the National Strategy for Financial Literacy needs to contain some measures of accountability.The strategy belongs to the Financial Literacy and Education Commission, which was created by December 2003 legislation. The Government Accountability Office says that while the strategy is comprehensive in identifying the breadth of issues involved, the plan does not serve as a plan of action designed to achieve specific goals.

The GAO says that the commission’s Web site (averaging some 57,000 visits each month) has served as an effective portal to existing federal financial literacy sites, though calls to the commission’s hotline -- which serves as an order line for a free tool kit of federal publications -- has been limited.

The GAO also noted that the commission’s efforts to coordinate the financial literacy efforts of federal agencies has been challenging, in part because the commission must achieve consensus among 20 federal agencies. A survey of overlap and a review of the effectiveness of federal activities relied largely on agencies’ self-assessments than an independent review of the commission.

Among its recommendations, the GAO said that commission needs to incorporate ways to measure its own results; conduct usability tests of its Web site; independently review the effectiveness of federal activities; and expand upon current efforts to cultivate partnerships with nonprofit and private entities.

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