Survey shows federal agencies need help with transparency

More than 40 percent of federal agencies not ready to comply with OMB mandate for transparency, efficiency and accountability

Fewer than half of government executives judge themselves and their agency fully capable of meeting White House transparency and accountability standards for economic stimulus law reporting, according to a new survey of 200 federal managers released today.

While only 43 percent of survey respondents believe that their agency could meet the transparency requirements today, 31 percent believe that they could meet the requirements within a year, while 27 percent believe that they could do so within two years, according to the survey results.

Serena Software sponsored the survey to evaluate the response of civilian and Defense agency officials to Office of Management and Budget mandates regarding transparency, efficiency and accountability.

More than half of the respondents, 54 percent, said their agencies have some of the capabilities needed to meet the transparency requirements. Forty-six percent were in the process of implementing a solution to address the new transparency requirements. Nearly two-thirds, or 64 percent, said they could benefit from tools to automate and track transparency.

The study suggests that the new economic stimulus law reporting requirements, although vital for oversight and auditing, “will stretch many, if not most, federal agencies to the limit,” said Dave Dantus, director of Serena Software Federal.

Meeting the transparency goals related to the law is a high priority at most of the agencies.

Three-quarters of the respondents said that their agencies have placed a medium-to-high level of importance on meeting the stimulus law’s transparency goals. Sixty-eight percent of those surveyed said OMB is placing a high degree of importance on meeting those goals.

Seventy percent of the respondents rate their agency's current level of transparency for economic stimulus law funding as average or above average.

The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus seven percent. It was performed with assistance from 1105 Media Inc., which is the parent company of Federal Computer Week.

Federal agencies must report their stimulus spending on contracts, grants and loans to Recovery.gov. The Web site recently posted the first set of comprehensive spending reports that were filed by federal, state and local agencies as of Oct. 10, but it represents only a small portion of overall stimulus spending.

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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