Friday, July 24, 2020
Articles from across the Web that we at the IBM Center for The Business of Government found interesting for the week of July 20-24, 2020.

Data Failure. Don Kettl, in commentary for Government Executive, writes: “Without a standard, trusted language of COVID data collection, it’s been hard to measure the disease, track its trend, and build effective policy.  . . at the core, the United States has been profoundly crippled by the challenge of putting together the most basic information about what’s happening, in a way that ensures everyone is speaking the same language.”

Pandemic Oversight Plans. The Pandemic Response Accountability Committee released its five-year strategic plan that prioritizes its oversight priorities within in four strategic goals.

History Can Repeat. Mark Abramson, in commentary for Government Executive, writes about the polio vaccine: “The big day arrived on April 12, 1955, when Salk announced the efficiency of the polio vaccine and that it was ready for distribution. . . . It turned out, however, that the government had no plans for how to distribute the vaccine, despite knowing for two years that it was coming.”

Recovered Dollars. Federal News Network reports: “The IRS and Treasury Department made speed a top priority for pandemic payments in the weeks after Congress passed the CARES Act, and in doing so sent more than a million payments to the deceased. . . . Dave Lebryk, the Treasury Department’s fiscal assistant secretary, said Tuesday that the IRS has already recovered about 70% of the $1.6 billion in improper payments to the deceased.”

Human Capital ReformFederal News Network reports: “A group of good government organizations, federal employee affinity groups and private sector organizations are again making the case for an extensive, large-scale modernization of the current human capital management systems. . . . A new report, . . .  reiterates many arguments that numerous good government groups and other organizations have, in some form or fashion, been making for years.

Governance and Engagement.  The National Academy of Public Administration released a pair of action plans for improving the institutions of governance and public engagement to restore trust in government and other civic institutions.  The plans include both near-term actions in 2021 as well as longer-term aspirations, such as setting national public service expectations for youth and the use of citizen assemblies to inform legislative actions.