GAO: OMB needs better oversight tools

The Office of Management and Budget needs to improve the methods it uses to oversee billions in federal agency information technology spending, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

OMB has made progress in developing oversight and transparency in IT procurements, but “more attention needs to be placed on improving these initiatives,” states the GAO report released April 28.

For example, OMB’s Management Watch List identifies high-risk IT projects that fail to meet one of four performance criteria. However, OMB should consider additional steps, GAO recommended. “More needs to be done by both OMB and the agencies to address recommendations GAO has previously made, such as identifying and publicizing performance shortfalls on high-risk projects,” the report states.

Meanwhile, OMB has not decided if it will continue to use the watch list. If OMB discontinues it, the agency should implement other assessment tools, the GAO recommended.

GAO also noted shortcomings with the accuracy and reliability of agencies’ IT spending justifications and on applying earned value management policies in assessing progress on IT projects.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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