OMB fleshes out agency financial management road map

The Office of Management and Budget will release a migration guidance document for public comment at the end of this month. It also will contain a set of performance measures and a sample service level agreement for agencies to help them plan to use shared-services providers under the Financial Management Line of Business.

The draft will be available for public comment for 30 days, said Danny Werfel, chief of OMB’s financial integrity and analysis branch.

“[The measures] are not an exhaustive list, but a set that are a good starting point,” he said Friday at the Federal Financial Management Conference sponsored by the Joint Financial Management Improvement Program and the U.S. Chief Financial Officers Council in Washington.

The performance measures will cover categories common among agencies, such as cost per transaction, response time, technical difficulties and customer feedback measures. Many of the measures are likely to be cost based, he said.

OMB controller Linda Combs first alerted agencies in December that OMB expects more transparency and standardization under the financial management initiative. Agencies will choose a public or private shared-services provider for their integrated financial management needs under the Financial Management Line of Business

There are some common performance measures already accepted in industry, such as for hosting IT systems and for accounting, said Mary Mitchell, General Services Administration’s deputy associate administrator for e-government and technology.

“It really is the game of picking the fewest number of measures that tell you the most and drive the positive change that you’re trying to see,” Mitchell said last week at the FOSE 2006 trade show sponsored by PostNewsweek Tech Media, the parent company of Government Computer News.

GSA, which manages the Financial Management Line of Business, has considered various benchmarking services and industry best practices for the performance measures. However, officials are exploring the differences between public and private providers and how that affects performance measures, she said.

The proposed guidance is based on feedback OMB received from the agencies, Werfel said. For example, they wanted to know what a service level agreement will look like, what the client and provider responsibilities are and what happens if they don’t meet their performance targets under the agreement.

“Our intent is [that] the sample service agreement and corresponding supplemental guidance will help answer those questions and give agencies a road map that this is how I should structure my agreement,” he said.

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