Obama's accountability board lays out streamlining strategy

The Obama administration’s transparency board told the president July 9 that it’s seeking to streamline operations in three ways to make the government more accountable for where its money goes.

IT plays a key role in the strategy that the Government Accountability and Transparency Board, or GATB, proposes. The board wants a system to detect waste and abuses, and to create a centralized platform to ensure accountable spending across the government. The board expects all major agencies to use the Do Not Pay tool to pinpoint fraud and waste before sending out money. The board is also working with inspectors general on their programs created by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to keep up with payments.

The board wants to integrate the methods that agencies use to display data on spending and grants. It’s considering as the example Recovery.gov, which was launched to track economic stimulus spending. It’s also evaluating how take advantage of existing system consolidation efforts, like the General Services Administration’s System for Award Management. The government could integrate its collection of spending data and create a single, cohesive source for the data.

The board is also considering ways to set up a universal award identification system to provide data to the public that’s easier to understand. Officials have efforts underway to assess possibility, as well as determining the “intelligent” components that would underpin it.

And that's not all, wrote Danny Werfel, the controller at the Office of Federal Financial Management within the Office of Management and Budget, on the OMBlog July 9.

OMB is developing a new Statement of Spending. The statements show where and how officials spend tax dollars. They will be a part of agencies’ annual audited financial statements. OMB expects to pilot the new statement with a number of agencies in their financial reports that will be submitted in November, Werfel wrote.

As these efforts move forward, the board has a new chairman. Richard Ginman, director of defense procurement and acquisition policy at the Defense Department, will be the new chairman of the board. Ginman has had more than 37 years of experience in contracting and financial management.

“Under Mr. Ginman’s leadership, I am confident that the GATB will continue to serve as an indispensable voice in pushing the federal government to function more efficiently, effectively, accountably for the American people,” Werfel wrote.

About the Author

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

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