Agencies improved information dissemination, access in 2006, OMB says

Amid the rash of government data breaches last year, the Office of Management and Budget used $470,000 from the E-Government Fund to partially support the establishment and operation of a contact center for the Veterans Affairs Department.This was one of three areas in which OMB authorized the use of the $3 million E-Government Fund last year.The administration reported the use of those funds in its fourth annual report on the implementation of the E-Government Act of 2002. Officials sent the report to Congress March 1.The act requires OMB to update lawmakers on agencies’ progress on improving information dissemination and access, information technology workforce development, and the use of e-government.“Federal agencies are improving the dissemination of and access to government information for the public,” OMB stated in the report.The administration used $1.5 million of funding to support the new Line of Business consolidation initiatives — IT Infrastructure, Geospatial, and Budget Formulation and Execution.It also gave the National Institute of Standards and Technology $1 million to validate the 25 e-government and nine Lines of Businesses standards used to increase interoperability. NIST started with E-Travel, Enterprise Human Resources Integration, Geospatial One-Stop, Consolidated Health Informatics, and the HR Management and Federal Health Architecture lines of business.In the report, OMB highlighted areas in which agencies made progress in implementing the law. Under Freedom of Information Act requests, the administration said two promising practices for improving access to records included updated IT systems and a “proactive disclosure of information prior to receipt” of a request.Agencies made headway in how they disseminate information to the public by working with private-sector companies, the report found. The National Archives and Records Administration signed an agreement with IArchives of Lindon, Utah, to digitize and provide access to selected records.NASA also is discussing a similar agreement with private-sector experts, OMB said.The Federal Geographic Data Committee established a Future Directions governance team to improve the management of geospatial data and promote interagency, intragovernmental and private-sector sharing.Additionally, OMB said 17 of 25 agencies met all their workforce skill and competency milestones, while 15 agencies meet their IT hiring targets to fill project management, security and architecture positions.OMB said 83 percent of all major investments had qualified project managers in 2006, up from 70 percent last year.“During 2006, e-government activities continued to grow with services improving and being used in greater numbers by agencies, business, and the public,” said Karen Evans, OMB’s administrator for e-government and IT. “E-Government is good government, and we will continue to look for ways we can improve and expand on these important services to the public.”
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