Agencies told to plan for leaner days

"Performance Goals and Management Initiatives for the FY 2002 Budget"

Streamlining government and boosting the use of outsourcing are among the management and performance improvement programs that President Bush will tout as part of a new agenda when he unveils his budget blueprint for fiscal 2002 next Wednesday.

The agenda centers on the fact that "the federal government's record on performance needs to improve," wrote Mitchell Daniels, director of the Office of Management and Budget, in a memo to agency heads last week.

"The past administration, Congress and the General Accounting Office concluded that we still have much work to do," Daniels wrote.

Bush's agenda builds on existing laws that include the Government Performance and Results Act, which requires agencies to submit performance plans that link their budgets and programs to results, and the Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act, under which agencies must inventory functions that are not inherently governmental and could possibly be outsourced to the private sector.

But Daniels' memo said the agenda also will focus on several other reforms, including:

Expanding the use of online procurement and other e-government services and information. Streamlining agencies by getting rid of the many management layers. Improving financial accountability and reducing incorrect payments to beneficiaries and contractors. Making greater use of performance-based contracts. Expanding the use of A-76 and other outsourcing competitions and issuing more accurate FAIR Act inventories. To begin work on these tasks, Daniels outlined several steps that agencies must take to adjust their 2002 budget requests and performance plans. Although most agencies gave OMB an initial version of their performance plans last fall, those plans did not reflect Bush administration wishes. Daniels is directing agencies to update their 2002 plans now and to provide OMB with their key goals by March 2 for inclusion in the governmentwide performance plan.

When OMB sent agencies' fiscal 2002 budget requests back to them, it asked many to propose some near-term, agency-specific management reforms. Those reforms should also be included in each agency's 2002 performance plans, Daniels wrote.

The administration will issue further guidance on many of the reforms, including improvements in financial accountability and financial systems, according to Daniels. But by mid-March, agencies should provide OMB with a copy of the performance plan that they will submit to Congress after April 3.

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