Agencies improve management

Score card updates on

Two years into the President's Management Agenda, agencies are beginning to move beyond planning and into action on the five top management challenges facing government, according to the Bush administration.

In the latest score card, issued today, administration officials noted that agencies have made significant progress, improving scores in three of agenda's five areas. The other two now have the tools in place to make progress, Office of Management and Budget officials said at the release of the mid-year update.

The score card measures agencies on a red/yellow/green scale in overall status and quarterly progress in five areas:

* Strategic workforce management.

* Expanded use of e-government.

* Increased competitive bidding of government services.

* Improved financial performance.

* Budgets linked to performance.

"Much has been demonstrated, much has been planned, much has been strategized, and now agencies are beginning to move forward," said Clay Johnson III, the recently confirmed deputy director for management at OMB.

Nine of 130 status scores across the 26 agencies measured on the score card went up, either from red to yellow or yellow to green. Johnson said that although the numbers may not seem like a significant improvement, it illustrates that agencies are getting useful plans in place and acting on them. By next year, he expects the majority of the status scores to be yellow, and "the average agency will be performing better than the best agency two years ago," he said.

Three of the improved scores are in competitive sourcing, an agenda item that started out with across-the-board red scores. The new yellow scores — at the Defense and Education departments and the Office of Personnel Management — represent the first agencies to put in place a complete program and infrastructure for planning and evaluating competition among public- and private-sector organizations to perform federal functions, said Angela Styles, administrator of OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy.

Other agencies are on their way toward implementing such programs. And come the next score card, Styles expects even more improvements to yellow.

"I think we're at a historic point in the competitive sourcing initiative," she said.

A major initiative for OMB in the next year is improving education about the management agenda, for program and frontline employees and Congress, Johnson said.

For the employees, OMB officials are already encouraging agencies to include information on the management agenda in their internal training and awareness programs. The Bush administration is also planning to expand its Web site to address career employee concerns and issues, he said.

For Congress, one of the biggest pushes will be in the area of budget and performance integration, particularly the Program Assessment Rating Tool, said Marcus Peacock, head of the budget and performance integration initiative. He and Johnson are working on a plan to spend more time with lawmakers educating them about both the authorizing and appropriations committees. "You can't expect anyone to use [the performance tool] on a consistent basis until they understand it," Peacock said.


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