Creating a Cadre of Cross-Agency Executives

Cross –agency collaboration is a critical element to solving many of the hardest challenges that government faces in providing effective services to citizens.  In his report, “The Next Government of the United States,” noted public administration scholar Don Kettl writes that “effective 21st century government requires new mechanisms for coordinating government agencies to ensure they can connect organically as they seek to solve the manifest problems they confront.”

How Will Government Adapt?: Sharing Across Stovepipes Is the New Normal

Fiscal sustainability continues to drive the impetus to reduce backroom costs, more from necessity than from a desire for government organizations to dramatically change the status quo. OMB is already moving aggressively in this direction through its Federal IT Shared Services Strategy (“Shared First”) and the issuance of its Memorandum to agencies in 2013, Improving Financial Systems Through Shared Services (M-13-08).

Is Foresight an Ethical Imperative?

Greenleaf’s statement is pretty strong. And most people would think that he refers to political leaders. But his observation is pointed at leaders at all levels. Efforts to create a strategic foresight capacity in the U.S. federal government have experienced fits and starts over the past 40 years. But in recent years, there has been some progress at the agency level, largely at the behest of political and career leaders who appreciate the value of foresight as part of their decision making processes. They might not think of it in terms of an ethical issue, but as good leadership.

The Low-Down on Agency-Run Strategic Reviews

This memo indirectly adds some urgency to the relatively new “agency annual strategic reviews” which are currently underway in agencies across the government. The 2010 amendments to the Government Performance and Results Act created a series of cycles for four-year strategic plans, annual plans, the designation of two-year agency priority goals and four year cross-agency priority goals. The law also requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to annually assess agencies’ progress.

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.

FITARA Guidance Moves Forward

OMB conducted a broad set of internal and external outreach meetings to draft the guidance, and is now taking comments on that draft. OMB strongly encourages substantive comments to be sent today to allow for careful consideration of early feedback. This process could be a model for OMB guidance in other areas. Congress passed the FITARA statute in December 2014, as Sections 831-837 of the National Defense Authorization Act.

Weekly Roundup: June 8 - 12, 2015

DATA Act Implementation Status. FedScoop sums up interviews with Treasury and OMB staff regarding the progress and upcoming deadlines for the implementation of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. Federal Computer Week shares the enthusiasm of participants at a recent conference on the implementation of the DATA Act. Evolution of Federal Chief Operating Officers. Federal News Radio says a new report on the evolving role of agency chief operating officers, by the Partnership for Public Service, examines their challenges and priorities.

The DATA Act Moves Forward

Across the government, agencies are working under leadership from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of Treasury to implement the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act).

Budgeteers MAXimize Their Line of Business

Former federal budget officer Doug Criscitello participated on a panel on budget reform recently, in a room packed with concerned finance professionals. He noted: “It is clear the key practitioners in the field are desperate for improvements in a process that has not only failed taxpayers in recent years but has also hindered the ability of government finance professionals to plan and execute the financial management programs of their agencies in a responsible way.” It may take years before such reforms are possible, but what happens in the meanwhile?

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