Eight agencies earn top marks in PMA scorecard

What a difference a quarter makes. In the latest quarterly President’s Management Agenda scorecard released today by the Office of Management and Budget, eight agencies improved their status in the E-government category—a significant jump from last quarter—while only one slipped.

These results are a marked departure from the previous quarter, which saw six agencies slip in the E-government category.

The scorecard tracks agency compliance with PMA requirements for improving government management. Aside from E-government, the PMA scores agency progress in meeting goals for human capital, competitive sourcing, financial and budget performance, and integration. A green rating means an agency has met all the standards for success, a yellow rating means it has met some standards but not all, and a red rating means there are serious problems.

Three agencies—the Environmental Protection Agency, the Housing and Urban Development Department and NASA—improved to earn the coveted green score for the quarter ending Dec. 31, 2005, joining the Labor Department, the Small Business Administration and the National Science Foundation, which maintained their green status from the previous quarter.

Five others, including the Defense, Justice and Treasury departments, the Smithsonian Institution, and the Agency for International Development improved to reach yellow status.

Only the Transportation Department saw a rating decline, slipping from green to yellow for the quarter, while the Agriculture, Commerce, Education, Energy, Health and Human Services, and State departments, as well as the General Services Administration, OMB, the Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration maintained their yellow status.

The departments of the Interior, Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security and the Army Corps of Engineers retained their red score.

Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for E-government and IT, said the improvements this quarter largely stem from agencies hitting key milestones before the end of the year, while also certifying that they have taken efforts to secure their IT security as required by the Federal Information Security Management Act.

“What happened this quarter is a lot of data was due between the annual reports that come in for the cybersecurity FISMA report, and then, of course, all of our implementation plans,” Evans said after an OMB briefing today. “You’re seeing a combination of them hitting their implementation milestones, as well as information that came in with the FISMA report that moved people up.”

Elsewhere in the scorecard, no agencies saw any change in their status for competitive sourcing, with GSA, NASA, OPM, SBA and the Education, HHS, Interior, Labor, Transportation and Treasury departments all retaining their green scores.

Clay Johnson, OMB deputy director for management, said that while competitive sourcing remains controversial, analyzing whether the government should outsource inherently commercial tasks will result in significant taxpayer savings and improved government performance.

“If you look at the annual savings projected from those decisions reached by those competitive sourcing studies, the annual savings are $900 million a year,” Johnson said.

Meanwhile, Labor remained the only agency to earn green for all five categories, while the VA received red marks in all categories except for human capital, where it received a yellow score.

In its entirety, 13 agencies received green marks in the human capital section, 10 for competitive sourcing, eight for financial performance and nine for budget/performance integration. The most reds were seen in financial performance, with 17.

Johnson said the scores overall reflect the changing nature and accountability of government. “Federal employees are improving the way their agencies work,” he said. “They are clearly defining what their management practices should be, and the benefits that should result from these new practices, and then being held accountable for achieving them.”

And to heighten this accountability, Johnson said that OMB will be releasing information related to improving the effectiveness of government programs online after the president submits his budget proposal to Congress next week.

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