Status of Major Recommendations Affecting Governmental Systems

NPR's September 7, 1993, report contained 130 major recommendations affecting government wide management systems, such as budget, procurement, financial management, and personnel. These recommendations are discussed in more detail in separate accompanying reports, which break these recommendations into 403 specific action items. Of these action items, agencies report that 11 percent are complete and another 77 percent are in progress. Following are highlights of government wide system reinvention efforts.

Creating Quality Leadership and Management

NPR Recommendations

QUAL01--Provide Improved Leadership and Management of the Executive Branch

QUAL02--Improve Government Performance Through Strategic and Quality Management

QUAL03--Strengthen the Corps of Senior Leaders

QUAL04--Improve Legislative-Executive Branch Relationships

Progress to Date

At the President's direction, all agencies have designated chief operating officers whose primary responsibility is to manage the operations of the agencies. In addition, the President created the President's Management Council, comprising the chief operating officers of the major agencies and one representative of the small agencies, to provide leadership in government wide management initiatives. For example, this council provided leadership in getting the buyout legislation passed and is leading the development of agency streamlining plans, the crafting of legislation on civil service reform, and the education of employees on quality management principles. The Office of Personnel Management is providing orientation training for political appointees. In addition, it has expanded its training on quality management and performance measures with a focus on implementing the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA).

Streamlining Management Control

NPR Recommendations

SMC01--Implement a Systems Design Approach to Management Controls

SMC02--Streamline the Internal Controls Program to Make It an Efficient and Effective Management Tool

SMC03--Change the Focus of the Inspectors General

SMC04--Increase the Effectiveness of Offices of General Counsel

SMC05--Improve the Effectiveness of the General Accounting Office Through Increased Customer Feedback

SMC06--Reduce the Burden of Congressionally Mandated Reports

SMC07--Reduce Internal Regulations by More Than 50 Percent

SMC08--Expand the Use of Waivers to Encourage Innovation

Progress to Date

OMB is drafting revised internal control guidelines and will circulate them for comment this fall. Agency inspectors general adopted a vision statement defining a reinvented role and describing how they will be less adversarial and more collaborative in implementing positive changes. Legislation is pending before the Senate to eliminate nearly 300 congressionally mandated reports; other pending legislation would consolidate about another 200 reports.

The President issued an executive order in September 1993 requiring agencies to cut internal regulations in half. Several agencies have reported making significant progress; for example, the Department of Veterans Affairs eliminated about 11,000 pages of internal directives, and the General Services Administration has targeted 106 of 164 directives in its management services and human resources branch for elimination.

Several Offices of General Counsel are making progress in increasing their responsiveness to agency program offices. For example, USIA reports that its program offices are allowed to select attorneys from within their OGC to support them in providing needed legal advice and services. One-third of the major agencies have put in place a waiver process for their regulations, and most of the others are developing such a process.

To date, the President's Management Council has not begun to develop a systems design approach to create new accountability and management controls for federal agencies.

Transforming Organizational Structures

NPR Recommendations

ORG01--Reduce the Costs and Numbers of Positions Associated With Management Control Structures by Half

ORG02--Use Multi-Year Performance Agreements Between the President and Agency Heads to Guide Downsizing Strategies

ORG03--Establish a List of Specific Field Offices to be Closed

ORG04--The President Should Request Authority to Reorganize Agencies

ORG05--Sponsor Three or More Cross-Departmental Initiatives Addressing Common Issues or Customers

ORG06--Identify and Change Legislative Barriers to Cross-Organizational Cooperation

Progress to Date

Congress has statutorily required agencies to cut 272,900 positions by 1999. Agencies are developing plans on how they will target these reductions to positions associated with unnecessary management control, and the President's Management Council is leading an effort to identify field offices to be closed. The fiscal year 1995 budget identifies three cross-departmental initiatives addressing common problems: ecosystem management, homelessness, and job training programs.

There are areas, however, where progress has slowed. For example, Congress--after requiring agencies to cut staff--has legislation pending to exempt from any cuts nearly 250,000 positions in 15 agencies; this would require other agencies to bear the burden of greater cuts.

Also, the President proposed reducing legislative barriers to cross-organizational cooperation, but there has been no legislative action on this proposal to date. Separately, the request to Congress for Presidential authority to reorganize agencies has been postponed.

Improving Customer Service

NPR Recommendations

ICS01--Create Customer-Driven Programs in All Departments and Agencies That Provide Services Directly to the Public

ICS02--Customer Service Performance Standards--Internal Revenue Service

ICS03--Customer Service Performance Standards--Social Security Administration

ICS04--Customer Service Performance Standards--Postal Service

ICS05--Streamline Ways to Collect Customer Satisfaction and Other Information from the Public

Progress to Date

The President issued an executive order requiring agencies to develop standards for quality services to the public. More than 100 agencies have developed customer service plans and set service standards; these are being published in September 1994. Last September the IRS, the Social Security Administration, and the Postal Service published initial service standards. These standards put a focus on key service areas and let the public judge agency performance in those areas. Agencies have shifted resources and made management changes to improve service delivery where they do not measure up to the standards. In addition, OMB has made it easier for agencies to conduct voluntary surveys of customers. OMB streamlined its review procedures under the Paperwork Reduction Act, so these customer survey clearances can now be obtained by agencies in two weeks or less.

Mission-Driven, Results-Oriented Budgeting

NPR Recommendations

BGT01--Develop Performance Agreements With Senior Political Leadership That Reflect Organizational and Policy Goals

BGT02--Effectively Implement the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993

BGT03--Empower Managers to Perform

BGT04--Eliminate Employment Ceilings and Floors by Managing Within Budget

BGT05--Provide Line Managers With Greater Flexibility to Achieve Results

BGT06--Streamline Budget Development

BGT07--Institute Biennial Budgets and Appropriations

BGT08--Seek Enactment of Expedited Rescission Procedures

Progress to Date

Progress has been made on strengthening accountability for achieving results. Seven of 24 major agency heads have piloted the signing of performance agreements with the President that reflect agreed-upon organizational priorities. Many of these agency heads have "cascaded" these agreements to senior executives within their agencies to forge a team committed to common goals. In addition, agencies have established about 70 pilot projects to develop measures of program performance under the Government Performance and Results Act. OMB's budget guidance has been revised to place a greater emphasis on the use of performance information in the budget decision making process.

Progress has also been made at a slower pace on empowering managers to perform. About one-third of the agencies report that they have restructured their budget accounts to reduce over-itemization and have identified direct operating costs. Progress on managing within operating costs rather than using employee head counts to manage has been postponed, and, in most cases, Congress has not provided agencies with the flexibility to carry over 50 percent of unspent operating funds to the next year as an incentive not to waste funds through year-end spending.

OMB has made progress in streamlining the budget development process by discussing key Administration priorities with agencies before White House decisions were made and creating a more transparent budget development process where agencies could present their views. Agencies are receiving early guidance on their allocations and are addressing cross-agency issues earlier in the process. In addition, legislation is pending before Congress to create a biennial budget process and to expedite rescissions of funding.

Improving Financial Management

NPR Recommendations

FM01--Accelerate the Issuance of Federal Accounting Standards

FM02--Clarify and Strengthen the Financial Management Roles of OMB and Treasury

FM03--Fully Integrate Budget, Financial, and Program Information

FM04--Increase the Use of Technology to Streamline Financial Services

FM05--Use the Chief Financial Officers (CFO) Act to Improve Financial Services

FM06--"Franchise" Internal Services

FM07--Create Innovation Funds

FM08--Reduce Financial Regulations and Requirements

FM09--Simplify the Financial Reporting Process

FM10--Provide and Annual Financial Report to the Public

FM11--Strengthen Debt Collection Programs

FM12--Manage Fixed Asset Investments for the Long Term

FM13--Charge Agencies for the Full Cost of Employee Benefits

Progress to Date

The Chief Financial Officers' Council is committed to building a strong financial management infrastructure. It has developed a vision statement and is developing a strategic plan for improving financial management and integrating budget, financial, and program information. In addition, the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Board has been issuing accounting standards and has committed to issuing a complete set of financial accounting standards for the federal government by March 1995. Also, in June 1994, the Secretary of Commerce approved a digital signature standard, which is critical to progress toward the greater use of electronic data interchange and fund transfers.

Progress is also being made on adopting good business practices. Legislation pending before Congress would simplify financial reporting requirements, create pilot franchise funds, and provide for an audited annual financial report to the public. In addition, many agencies are pursuing opportunities to market their internal services (franchising), such as payroll processing and procurement, to other agencies. Also, five agencies are operational or are piloting automated time and attendance tracking systems, while about half of all agencies are beginning efforts to streamline their time keeping systems and process.

Reinventing Human Resource Management

NPR Recommendations

HRM01--Create a Flexible and Responsive Hiring System

HRM02--Reform the General Schedule Classification and Basic Pay System

HRM03--Authorize Agencies to Develop Programs for Improvement of Individual and Organizational Performance

HRM04--Authorize Agencies to Develop Incentive Award and Bonus Systems to Improve Individual and Organizational Performance

HRM05--Strengthen Systems to Support Management in Dealing With Poor Performers

HRM06--Clearly Define the Objective of Training as the Improvement of Individual and Organizational Performance; Make Training More Market-Driven

HRM07--Enhance Programs to Provide Family-Friendly Workplaces

HRM08--Improve Processes and Procedures Established to Provide Workplace Due Process for Employees

HRM09--Improve Accountability for Equal Employment Opportunity Goals and Accomplishments

HRM10--Improve Interagency Collaboration and Cross-Training of Human Resource Professionals

HRM11--Strengthen the Senior Executive Service So That It Becomes a Key Element in the Government wide Culture Change Effort

HRM12--Eliminate Excessive Red Tape and Automate Functions and Information

HRM13--Form Labor-Management Partnerships for Success

HRM14--Provide Incentives to Encourage Voluntary Separations

Progress to Date

Congress passed legislation to allow agencies to offer separation incentives to minimize the need for reductions in force (layoffs) as government employment is reduced. So far in fiscal year 1994, 63,197 employees (14,760 in non-defense agencies as of August 4, 1994) have accepted incentives of up to $25,000 to leave the work force voluntarily. Another round of incentives will be offered in early fiscal year 1995. New laws also allow telecommuting in pilot agencies, reauthorize voluntary leave banks, and deregulate training to make it more responsive to market forces.

In October 1993, the President established a National Partnership Council and has directed agencies to develop labor-management partnerships. To date, 32 partnership agreements have been signed. Now that headquarters have paved the way, agreements and councils are rapidly springing up in components and field installations. The President also directed agencies to create family-friendly workplaces while continuing to ensure accountability for customer service. Pursuant to the President's direction, the Office of Personnel Management, in concert with the General Services Administration, has begun reviewing and revising regulations that act as barriers to family-friendly work arrangements. In the coming year, the President will take action to improve accountability for equal employment opportunity accomplishments and reduce overlapping EEO reporting among agencies.

The Office of Personnel Management phased out the Federal Personnel Manual a year ahead of schedule, abolished the SF-171 "Application for Federal Employment," and has taken steps to abolish the time-in-grade requirement for promotion. It has also created an interagency forum to strengthen the Senior Executive Service as an element in changing the culture of the government. OPM has developed automated systems for functions performed by human resource managers and automated all information about federal job openings for ease of use by applicants and employees who process those applications.

The Administration is preparing a human resources management (HRM) reform legislative proposal largely drawn from the recommendations in NPR and National Partnership Council (NPC) reports and from comments by the various stakeholders regarding the NPC report. The legislation will directly contribute to reinventing government by making changes in HRM law that give agencies the authority they need to achieve improvements in their HRM systems.

Reinventing Federal Procurement

NPR Recommendations

PROC01--Reframe Acquisition Policy

PROC02--Build an Innovative Procurement Workforce

PROC03--Encourage More Procurement Innovation

PROC04--Establish New Simplified Acquisition Threshold and Procedures

PROC05--Reform Labor Laws and Transform the Labor Department into an Efficient Partner for Meeting Public Policy Goals

PROC06--Amend Protest Rules

PROC07--Enhance Programs for Small Business and Small Disadvantaged Business Concerns

PROC08--Reform Information Technology Procurement

PROC09--Lower Costs and Reduce Bureaucracy in Small Purchases Through the Use of Purchase Cards

PROC10--Ensure Customer Focus in Procurement

PROC11--Improve Procurement Ethics Laws

PROC12--Allow for Expanded Choice and Cooperation in the Use of Supply Schedules

PROC13--Foster Reliance on the Commercial Marketplace

PROC14--Expand Electronic Commerce for Federal Acquisition

PROC15--Encourage Best Value Procurement

PROC16--Promote Excellence in Vendor Performance

PROC17--Authorize a Two-Phase Competitive Source Selection Process

PROC18--Authorize Multiyear Contracts

PROC19--Conform Certain Statutory Requirements for Civilian Agencies to Those of Defense Agencies

PROC20--Streamline Buying for the Environment

Progress to Date

Both houses of Congress have passed legislation containing the most important of NPR's recommended statutory changes to reinvent the federal government's $180 billion-a-year procurement system. This legislation is projected to save about $12.2 billion over five years by raising the threshold for simplified acquisition, increasing the federal government's reliance on commercially available products, and freeing purchases under $2,500 from most restrictions.

Administratively, a number of initiatives are under way to reduce bureaucracy, foster commercial practices, and center authority and accountability with line managers. The President has charged agencies with creating a government wide effort to use electronic commerce to procure goods and services. In addition, a number of agencies report that they are reframing their acquisition policies by cutting internal regulations. A number of other agencies, led by Treasury, have pledged to double their use of procurement cards (thereby cutting administrative costs) and they beat their target--saving an estimated $50 million. Twenty-one agencies are piloting the use of past vendor performance as a criterion in selecting future vendors with whom to do business. Other agencies, such as the Defense Department and the General Services Administration, no longer require the use of custom specifications when ordering supplies if the items are available commercially.

Reinventing Support Services

NPR Recommendations

SUP01--Authorize the Executive Branch to Establish a Printing Policy That Will Eliminate the Current Printing Monopoly

SUP02--Assure Public Access to Federal Information

SUP03--Improve Distribution Systems to Reduce Costly Inventories

SUP04--Streamline and Improve Contracting Strategies for the Multiple Award Schedule Program

SUP05--Expand Agency Authority and Eliminate Congressional Control Over Federal Vehicle Fleet Management

SUP06--Give Agencies Authority and Incentive for Personal Property Management and Disposal

SUP07--Simplify Travel and Increase Competition

SUP08--Give Customers Choices and Create Real Property Enterprises That Promote Sound Real Property Asset Management

SUP09--Simplify Procedures for Acquiring Small Blocks of Space to House Federal Agencies

SUP10--Establish New Contracting Procedures for the Continued Occupancy of Leased Office Space

SUP11--Reduce Postage Costs Through Improved Mail Management

Progress to Date

Some progress is being made to reform government printing. While Congress has not acted to eliminate the printing monopoly of the Government Printing Office, the President has narrowed GPO's role by instructing agencies that the exclusive authority of GPO related to the production of government documents is restricted to documents intended for distribution to and use by the general public. Separately, an interagency effort is underway to create a Government Information Locator System to ease public access to federal information.

The General Services Administration is making significant progress in streamlining the distribution system of federal supplies in order to reduce costly inventories. For example, it is piloting a direct order system from suppliers. GSA has also proposed regulatory changes to eliminate the mandatory use of its supply schedules by agencies. As part of its effort to pilot new purchase strategies under the Multiple Award Schedule, GSA has negotiated reduced costs and increased delivery speed for contracts that have been awarded. In addition, GSA has increased choices for federal travelers and is in the process of streamlining travel regulations. GSA is also in the process of creating an interagency mail management committee to reduce postage costs.

GSA has also begun efforts to reduce its monopoly on government real estate services by piloting initiatives giving its customers choices. It has created a government wide policy for real property asset management, is creating competitive enterprises to provide services on a fee basis with benchmarks for performance, and has created centers of expertise for real property services. It suspended the acquisition of new office space and, by reevaluating its needs, will save $1.2 billion. In the coming year it will pursue a legislative initiative to commercialize the Federal Building Fund.

Reengineering Through Information Technology

NPR Recommendations

IT01--Provide Clear, Strong Leadership to Integrate Information Technology Into the Business of Government

IT02--Implement Nationwide, Integrated Electronic Benefit Transfer

IT03--Develop Integrated Electronic Access to Government Information and Services

IT04--Establish a National Law Enforcement/Public Safety Network

IT05--Provide Intergovernmental Tax Filing, Reporting, and Payments Processing

IT06--Establish an International Trade Data System

IT07--Create a National Environmental Data Index

IT08--Plan, Demonstrate, and Provide Government wide Electronic Mail

IT09--Improve Government's Information Infrastructure

IT10--Develop Systems and Mechanisms to Ensure Privacy and Security

IT11--Improve Methods of Information Technology Acquisition

IT12--Provide Incentives for Innovation

IT13--Provide Training and Technical Assistance in Information Technology to Federal Employees

Progress to Date

The Vice President chartered a Government Information Technology Services (GITS) working group to lead the implementation of recommendations in this report. The working group created a government wide strategic vision statement on the use of information technology to deliver services to the public on its terms. The working group is supporting interagency teams to carry out each of NPR's information technology recommendations. One interagency team has released a plan to distribute an estimated $111 billion in federal benefits electronically on a nationwide basis within three years. Another team has developed electronic commerce standards which, when implemented in the next few years, will reduce the cost of purchases by about 10 percent and reduce delivery times by one-third.

Work groups, plans, and completion dates have also been put in place to implement various other aspects of creating an electronic government, such as eliminating the need to file routine tax returns, creating a national law enforcement/public safety network, and establishing one-stop government services kiosks.

The working group has also moved to improve the government's overall information infrastructure. For example, it has created a committee to consolidate federal data centers and is overseeing efforts to reengineer basic systems to improve service delivery. It has also drafted principles to establish privacy protection standards and information security principles. In addition, the Secretary of Commerce has signed a digital signature standard and developed a national crisis response clearinghouse for computer security. The working group is also developing a strategy to improve training of federal employees in the use of information technology.

To streamline the buying of computer equipment, GSA has drafted rules to delegate purchasing authority to agencies, several agencies have been granted waivers to pilot the purchase of small items, and OMB is piloting performance-based service contracts.

In addition, GITS supports OMB's efforts to promote the improvement of agency performance through the use of information technology in many ways. For example, GITS supports OMB by providing input to the drafting of information resource management policy and implementation directives.

Rethinking Program Design

NPR Recommendations

DES01--Activate Program Design as a Formal Discipline

DES02--Establish Pilot Program Design Capabilities in One or Two Agencies

DES03--Encourage the Strengthening of Program Design in the Legislative Branch

DES04--Commission Program Design Courses

Progress to Date

No progress has been made in implementing these recommendations.

Strengthening the Partnership in Intergovernmental Service Delivery

NPR Recommendations

FSL01--Improve the Delivery of Federal Domestic Grant Programs

FSL02--Reduce Red Tape Through Regulatory and Mandate Relief

FSL03--Simplify Reimbursement Procedures for Administrative Costs of Federal Grant Disbursement

FSL04--Eliminate Needless Paperwork by Simplifying the Compliance Certification Process

FSL05--Simplify Administration by Modifying the Common Grant Rules on Small Purchases

FSL06--Strengthen the Intergovernmental Partnership

Progress to Date

A number of initiatives are under way to improve the delivery of federal domestic grant programs. The President created the Community Empowerment Board to oversee more than 100 initiatives in community empowerment. In addition, he endorsed consolidated plans submitted by Indiana and West Virginia for the coordination of 199 different federal grants affecting children and families. Federal, state, and local agencies have collaborated to integrate application forms on a pilot basis in Atlanta, thereby reducing six separate applications for federal assistance programs totaling 64 pages to a single eight-page form. In the coming year, federal agencies will work with states, such as Oregon, to streamline federal aid, strengthen intergovernmental partnerships, and focus on achieving results for American citizens.

Separately, Congress has created a demonstration program allowing six states to waive federal requirements in education programs--without first having to ask federal permission--to integrate federal funding sources and better achieve national education goals. Also, pending before Congress is an elementary and secondary education bill that would consolidate obsolete programs and allow states and local school districts to submit a single plan instead of separate plans for each federal grant.

The President signed two executive orders to address unfunded federal mandates; Congress is also considering legislation to achieve the same objectives. OMB is considering ways to eliminate needless grant paperwork and to simplify the reimbursement process for administrative costs, thereby saving money for both grantees and the federal government. The President has acted to strengthen the intergovernmental partnership by appointing 11 new members and a new chair to an intergovernmental advisory committee and meeting regularly with governors and mayors.

Reinventing Environmental Management

NPR Recommendations

ENV01--Improve Federal Decision making Through Environmental Cost Accounting

ENV02--Develop Cross-Agency Ecosystem Planning and Management

ENV03--Increase Energy and Water Efficiency

ENV04--Increase Environmentally and Economically Beneficial Landscaping

Progress to Date

A set of cross-agency ecosystem management teams have been formed to conduct management and budget reviews of federal programs affecting four ecosystems. In addition, the President signed directives requiring federal agencies to increase energy and water efficiency and to use environmentally beneficial landscaping for federal lands and projects. Action on developing demonstration projects to assess the feasibility of environmental cost accounting will be taken in the coming year.

Improving Regulatory Systems

NPR Recommendations

REG01--Create an Interagency Regulatory Coordinating Group

REG02--Encourage More Innovative Approaches to Regulation

REG03--Encourage Consensus-Based Rule making

REG04--Enhance Public Awareness and Participation

REG05--Streamline Agency Rule making Procedures

REG06--Encourage Alternative Dispute Resolution When Enforcing Regulations

REG07--Rank Risks and Engage in "Anticipatory" Regulatory Planning

REG08--Improve Regulatory Science

REG09--Improve Agency and Congressional Relationships

REG10--Provide Better Training and Incentives for Regulators

Progress to Date

The President signed Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, in September 1993. This order articulates this Administration's regulatory principles and created an interagency regulatory working group that has implemented most of NPR's regulatory recommendations. The group, for example, serves as a forum to help agencies implement various provisions of the order, including those that encourage innovative approaches to rule making. These approaches include regulatory negotiation, incentives-based rule making, enhanced public participation, and streamlined regulatory processes.

Subgroups are working on risk assessment, cost-benefit analysis, streamlining, and the use of information technology in rule making. Conferences are being held with state, local, and tribal governments to help improve relationships between them and the federal government. Likewise, meetings are being held with small business representatives to sensitize regulators to the needs of small businesses. In addition, OMB has started a regulatory training and exchange program to help train agency regulators to implement the provisions of the executive order.

The President has directed agencies to experiment with negotiated rule making, and nearly three-quarters of the departments and major agencies have begun to do so. Further, about half the agencies say they are piloting the use of alternative dispute resolution techniques as a way of resolving regulatory disputes. And about half the agencies report having drafting services in place to assist congressional staff in technical bill drafting. However, no action has been taken to create additional science advisory boards.


Return to Table of Contents