OMB looks for progress on improved performance

Agencies should be looking ahead at performance goals for fiscal 2012, 2013

Senior Obama administration officials are interested in how agencies have improved themselves based on their important priorities during the last year.

In an effort to do better work, agencies laid out fiscal 2011 priority goals, areas they planned to focus on to improve how they manage their operations.

By June 30, each agency head and chief operating officer, with the performance improvement officer (PIO), must run data-driven progress reviews at least quarterly on the agency’s current near-term priority goals, according to an April 14 memo from Jacob Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Jeffrey Zients, OMB’s deputy director for management and chief performance officer.

They should also be looking ahead at goals for fiscal 2012 and 2013 as part of the internal budget processes, Lew and Zients wrote. For advice on goals, they pointed to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address and his recent budget proposal.

The new goals criteria should also mirror the requirements for the previous priority goals. They should be outcome-oriented with “stretch targets” relative to the agency’s available resources, the memo states.

The goals are part of Obama's Accountable Government Initiative and implementing the Government Performance and Results Act Modernization Act, which he signed into law in January.

“Our goal is to create a performance management framework that encourages good management and innovation without fear of penalty for failing,” the memo states.

To make agencies run better, government must create “a culture of performance where agencies constantly strive to achieve meaningful progress,” according to the memo. “Government leaders must know what works on the ground and what does not, and speed adoption of best government practices.”

Lew and Zients also gave several short-term deadlines. They want agencies to confirm their chief operating officer, which should be the deputy of the agency’s head or someone of an equal leadership position, by May 2. The agencies should have picked out their PIOs, which will report directly to the COO, by June 1.

Lew and Zients will have more guidance in the coming months.


About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

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