Weekly Round-up: February 08, 2013

Gadi Ben-Yehuda

John Kamensky

OMB Grants Process to Get Makeover. Jason Miller, Federal News Radio, reports: “Agencies oversee more than $600 billion in grants each year, but the rules surrounding how agencies oversee and award the money are far less standardized as compared to the acquisition of goods and services.” OMB’s Danny Werfel announced a proposed streamlining and standardization of these regulations for formal comments in the Federal Register. You have until May 2 to comment on them here via the e-rulemaking website.

ACSI Releases Data on Customer Satisfaction With Federal Services. Eric Katz, Government Executive, reports: “The American Customer Satisfaction Index survey found approval of federal government services rose 2.2 percent to a score of 68.4 out of 100. The score ranked 10th out of 10 sectors, 3.5 points behind the information sector.” Interpretation: The good news: the federal government’s getting better. The bad news: it’s still in last place.

OMB Offers Streamlining Strategy. Well, sort of. Government Executive’s Charles Clark reports that OMB’s lead on management issues, Danny Werfel, spoke to the Business Roundtable about the need to streamline, but he really focused on why it’s so hard: “The chief impediments to streamlining federal functions are ‘parochial stakeholder interests’ and a lack of urgency among managers implementing laws and programs.” . . . The solution? An independent commission. Well, maybe. . . .

Michael Keegan

Controller outlines strategy to simplify government
The chief impediments to streamlining federal functions are “parochial stakeholder interests” and a lack of urgency among managers implementing laws and programs, U.S. Controller Danny Werfel told a business group on Wednesday. The solutions include relying more on independent commissions in deciding how to “rightsize and reshape” government as well as “changing the culture to channel the urgency” commonly felt during a crisis into everyday situations.

Civilian agencies set to release sequestration details to employees
Civilian federal agencies are expected to begin telling employees how automatic budget cuts set to go into effect in March will impact them, according to federal employee unions who were briefed by Obama administration officials. The Office of Management and Budget gave agency heads the go-ahead to begin communicating to their employees as early as Tuesday about the possible effects of sequestration, including employee furloughs.

Agencies turn to HRStat to make better sense of workforce data
There was never a dearth of data about agency human capital actions. Agencies had access to time-to-hire data, employee retention information, data on the number of workers eligible to retire in any given year and much, much more. But departments didn’t always have the ability to use that information to make better decisions to ensure they are meeting the demands of their workforce. The Office of Personnel Management said the HRStat process might just be that missing link that pulls all the data together.

Watchdog finds more than $1T in misreported federal spending
The Department of Health and Human Services tops the list of the agencies most delinquent in reporting spending on USASpending.gov, with nearly $800 billion in unreported funds, according to a watchdog group. The Sunlight Foundation’s latest “Clearspending” findings reveal discrepancies in what was posted on USASpending.gov about agencies’ grants versus the information available in other bookkeeping records. The analysis is based on the organization’s measurements of grant spending in terms of consistency, completeness and timeliness. The analysis does not include spending on contracts.

The Business of Government Radio Show: Conversation with Authors: John Whitley on Five Methods for Measuring Unobserved Events — A Case Study of Federal Law Enforcement

Mondays at 11 a.m., Wednesdays at 12 p.m.

The Business of Government Hour features a conversation about management with a government executive who is changing the way government does business. The executives discuss their careers and the management challenges facing their organizations.

John Whitley is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). His work at IDA includes resource allocation and performance issues in national security, defense resource management analysis, and the study of immigration policy. He is also an adjunct lecturer at The George Washington University in the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration where he has taught National Security Economics.

Broadcast Schedule: The show airs Monday at 11 a.m., and Wednesday at noon, on Federal News Radio 1500AM WFED

If you can’t wait, though, you can listen to (or download) this week’s program and all our previous interviews at businessofgovernment.org and by searching our audio archives.

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