The Physics of Federal Programs

Defining Federal Programs Isn’t Simple

There is more than one way to define what constitutes a federal “program,” and it is not unlike trying to define molecules, atoms, and sub-atomic particles.

Creating an Evidence-Based Government

Policymakers are fixated on short-term budget austerity measures such as furloughs, pay freezes, and conference and travel spending. However, there is a small, but growing effort to take a longer, more strategic look at how to manage austerity by finding what works and targeting dollars there instead of to programs that cannot demonstrate effectiveness.

Four Evidence-Based Initiatives in the Federal Government

Within OMB, there is an active effort to catalyze agencies to develop and undertake a series of evidence and evaluation initiatives in ways that they can learn from each other and so they can quickly leverage promising practices.

Half Empty or Half Full?

A recent GAO report on the executive branch’s approach to new requirements in the Government Performance and Results Act recommends that “OMB improve the implementation of the act.” But a sub-theme in the report describes how agencies are actually building a long-term, solid foundation for a performance-driven government.

 

Five Steps to Building an Evidence-Based Culture in Government

OMB’s guidance to agencies on the development of their FY 2015 budgets promises that “OMB will issue a separate memo at a later date that encourages the increased use of evidence and evaluation, including rigorous testing of innovative strategies to build new knowledge of what works.” This encouragement comes on top of a foundation already under development in many agencies. 

 

Weekly Round-up: March 8, 2013

Dan Chenok

Center’s Guide for New Leaders Across Government Now Available

Four years ago, the IBM Center for The Business of Government released a book to guide new government executives, especially new political appointees. The goal of the book was to quickly acclimate new government executives to the world of public service as practiced in Washington, D.C.

What's the Recipe for Good (Collaborative) Relationships?

With Valentine’s Day approaching, there are all sorts of advice columns about improving relationships.  Well, A new IBM Center report by Dr. Jane Fountain, Implementing Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Guide for Federal Managers, offers advice on successful cross-agency relationships.  She says there is a recipe for success, but that it depends on a number of factors.

Moving Forward on the New Management Agenda

Key themes from this agenda reinforce some existing management activities and introduce new ones, and tie to the use of evidence, data and research to make better management and budget decisions.

Three Levers for Better Budgeting

A timely new book by veteran public finance experts at the International Monetary Fund describes how budget and finance reforms have evolved over the past two decades in more advanced countries.  While their book doesn’t contain any magic formula for success, it does provide a useful context for understanding what is going on in the field.  It also provides some poor comfort for the fact that what the U.S. is facing is not uncommon and that there may be some avenues for being more successful in the future.

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