Agencies need to tighten telework coordination, GAO says

Potential agency IT infrastructure limitations weren't taken into account before the “unscheduled telework” option for federal employees went into effect earlier this year because agencies failed to coordinate, the Government Accountability Office said in a July 22 report.

The Office of Personnel Management updated its Washington, D.C. area dismissal and closure procedures in March to include unscheduled telework, which allows federal employees to telework when emergencies disrupt commuting.

However, GAO found that OPM and the General Services Administration didn’t work together to reach agency CIOs about capacity gaps before releasing the revised procedures.

“Consequently, officials did not offer any governmentwide guidance on ways to address IT infrastructure limitations or provide direct assistance to agencies regarding the adequacy of their IT infrastructure,” the report said.


Related stories:

New WH memo outlines telework security guidelines

OPM updates unscheduled telework option


To enhance the use of telework during emergencies, GAO recommended that the director of OPM coordinate with other agencies responsible for policy areas under the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010 to provide governmentwide guidance on emergency preparedness.

GAO also recommended OPM consult with those agencies to develop a definition and cohesive set of practices for incorporating telework into emergency and continuity planning and improve its related data collection.

The report also suggested an interagency coordination process be established among OPM, GSA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Federal Protective Service, and the National Archives and Record Administration “to ensure all major areas of agency operations are considered when OPM issues new or updated guidance related to telework during emergencies.”

John Berry, OPM's director, concurred with all the report’s recommendations in a letter sent to GAO.

About the Author

Alyah Khan is a staff writer covering IT policy.

The Fed 100

Read the profiles of all this year's winners.

Featured

  • Shutterstock image (by wk1003mike): cloud system fracture.

    Does the IRS have a cloud strategy?

    Congress and watchdog agencies have dinged the IRS for lacking an enterprise cloud strategy seven years after it became the official policy of the U.S. government.

  • Shutterstock image: illuminated connections between devices.

    Who won what in EIS

    The General Services Administration posted detailed data on how the $50 billion Enterprise Infrastructure Solutions contract might be divvied up.

  • Wikimedia Image: U.S. Cyber Command logo.

    Trump elevates CyberCom to combatant command status

    The White House announced a long-planned move to elevate Cyber Command to the status of a full combatant command.

  • Photo credit: John Roman Images / Shutterstock.com

    Verizon plans FirstNet rival

    Verizon says it will carve a dedicated network out of its extensive national 4G LTE network for first responders, in competition with FirstNet.

  • AI concept art

    Can AI tools replace feds?

    The Heritage Foundation is recommending that hundreds of thousands of federal jobs be replaced by automation as part of a larger government reorganization strategy.

  • DOD Common Access Cards

    DOD pushes toward CAC replacement

    Defense officials hope the Common Access Card's days are numbered as they continue to test new identity management solutions.

Reader comments

Mon, Aug 1, 2011 Christina Morrison

I agree with their assessment! We’re not that far away from the winter of 2011-2012, and I hope that agencies work closely with technology providers to address these issues well in advance of next year’s storms.

Mon, Jul 25, 2011

IT is mentioned but not all government agencies combine IT and telecommunications in a single organization. Telecommunications support for Teleworking should be addressed as well.

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group