Sidestepping the Government's Monopolies

All across government, interagency arrangements that offer financial, administrative, and other services have sprung up. No longer must an agency depend on its own office--a kind of internal monopoly; instead, it can shop around at interagency franchises, thus reducing costs for the agencies involved.

Now, a governmentwide work group that has identified about 100 existing franchises wants to spread the idea far and wide. It is crafting a booklet with contact points and telephone numbers, and plans to hold a conference through which other agencies can learn about franchises.

The recent progress on franchising and other financial management issues is due in no small measure to the Chief Financial Officers Council, created under the Chief Financial Officers Act of 1990. Upon the release of From Red Tape to Results, the council adopted afar more aggressive approach to financial management. Its members are monitoring progress on the 54 action items in NPR's financial management accompanying report as well as other related NPR recommendations.

On the legislative front, meanwhile, Congress is nearing passage of important financial management legislation. By forcing 23 major agencies to submit financial statements for the entirety of their operations, not just parts of them, it would increase those agencies' accountability.

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