Weekly Round-up: September 12, 2014

John Kamensky

OMB Updates Performance.gov.  OMB posted third quarter performance progress updates for cross-agency and agency-specific priority goals on performance.gov.  In an accompanying blog post, OMB director Shawn Donovan highlights some specific accomplishments.

Creating Risk-Responsive Frameworks

Other federal agencies also face a wide range of risks. Some are external, others are internal. Some are financial (such as having to deal with managing under Sequester or the market impact on external investments in pension funds, which could affect federal pension guarantees). Some are operational, such as those faced by FERC, or cybersecurity threats, or even insider threats. And some are reputational, such as the recent accusations of Patent Office telework abuse, or the General Services Administration’s lavish conferences scandal.

Why Isn't Performance Information Being Used?

The initial premise twenty years ago was that if performance information was made readily available, it would be used by agency decision-makers. That turned out to not be true. Background. A recent GAO study conclude that the “use of performance information has not changed significantly” in surveys of federal managers between 2007 and 2013. More specifically: “. . . only two [of the 24 major] agencies – OPM and the Department of Labor – experienced a statistically significant improvement in managers’ use of performance information.” And four experienced a decrease.

Federal Program Inventory Deemed Useless

Senator Coburn has long campaigned against the seeming incomprehensibility of the federal government’s many programs. He sponsored two pieces of legislation in 2010 to address his concerns. The first bill requires the Government Accountability Office (GAO) to annually assess the fragmentation, overlap and duplication of federal programs. The second bill requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to create and publish on the Internet an inventory of all federal programs. Background.

Magnifying the Voice of the Future

Dr. Boston, visiting the U.S. on a Fulbright Scholarship, sums up some of his initial research on how the U.S. and several other democratic countries address long-term policy issues, in a recent presentation at American University. Background. Dr. Boston says that there are a number of important societal problems that reach beyond the span of an election cycle, and that for political leaders there can be “a temptation for intergenerational buck-passing.

Next Steps in Moneyball Government

In mid-November, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) released an assessment of how well agencies use performance information in decision making, with a particular focus on program evaluations. Around the same time, a study on evidence-based policymaking in the states was released by the Pew Charitable Trusts and the MacArthur Foundation; and a new book, Moneyball for Government, by Peter Orzag and Jim Nussle, was announced by the non-profit Results for America.

Who Will Be the Next "Mayor of the Pentagon?"

Years ago, career executive David O. “Doc” Cooke was informally called the “Mayor of the Pentagon.” He was responsible for the internal administration and management of the Pentagon and had broad influence on its operations. He like to remind people that he served every Secretary of Defense since the department was created in 1949. While he died in 2002, the role he served has been expanded to focus on transforming the department’s thousands of business systems.

Can IGs Successfully Walk a Tightrope?

By law, agency inspectors general are given a great deal of independence from pressures from both their agencies and Congress. But to be effective, they need to develop positive relationships with both. Some are more effective than others. What makes the difference? In January 2015, Michael Horowitz, chair of the cross-agency Council of Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency, highlighted “independence” as their most-cherished attribute. But what steps can the IGs, agency heads, and Congress take to make sure that the work of the IGs is not ignored?

"What Could Possibly Go Wrong?"

Risk experts Doug Webster and Tom Stanton think not. Writing in a new report for the IBM Center for The Business of Government, they observe: “The front pages of national newspapers constantly report on actions by private companies, federal leaders, or agencies that do not appear to have considered the risks associated with various decisions and actions.

Using Performance Info to Make Decisions

The Government Accountability Office is mandated by law to track the progress of agencies’ implementation of the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010. It’s summary highlights “mixed progress” but the report’s details show a great deal of progress. The report covers a range of issues, summing up a series of related reports over the course of the past year. But the core issue is: are agencies using performance data to make decisions? The track record hasn’t been promising.

Pages

Your cart

Your cart is empty.