This is the accessible text file for GAO report number GAO-03-229 
entitled 'Electronic Government: Selection and Implementation of the 
Office of Management and Budget's 24 Initiatives' which was released on 
December 20, 2002.



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Report to the Committee on Governmental Affairs, U.S. Senate:



November 2002:



Electronic Government:



Selection and Implementation of the Office of Management and Budget’s 

24 Initiatives:



GAO-03-229:



GAO Highlights:



Highlights of GAO-03-229, a report to the Committee on Governmental 

Affairs, U.S. Senate.



Why GAO Did This Study:



In the President’s Management Agenda, a key element for reforming 

the federal government is the expansion of electronic government 

(e-government)—that is, the use of technology, particularly the 

Internet, to enhance access to government information and services. 

Accordingly, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established

a task force to select  and manage strategic e-government initiatives. 

GAO was asked to review the completeness of information used for 

choosing and overseeing these initiatives.



What GAO Found:



OMB’s e-government task force developed abbreviated (“mini”) business 

cases on which to base its selection of initiatives. GAO compared the 

content of these mini business cases with best practices for the 

content 

of e?government business cases. Based on this comparison, all the 

business 

cases contained at least some of the key information needed, but 

many 

elements were missing (see figure). In particular, fewer than half 

addressed 

collaboration and customer focus, despite the importance of these 

topics to

 OMB’s e-government strategy and the President’s stated goal: to 

“champion 

citizen-centered electronic government that will result in a major 

improvement in the federal government’s value to the citizen.”:



Similarly, the work and funding plans associated with the 

initiatives all 

contained at least some key information necessary for OMB oversight. 

However, 

based on GAO’s analysis, OMB did not have all the information needed 

to fully 

monitor the progress and development of the initiatives. For example, 

only 9 

of the initiatives identified a strategy for obtaining needed funds. 

Also, 

the accuracy of the estimated costs in the funding plans may be 

questionable: 

since May 2002, estimated costs for 12 of the initiatives have 

changed 

significantly—by more than 30 percent. Without accurate cost, 

schedule, and 

performance information, OMB cannot ensure that its e-government 

initiatives 

are on schedule and achieving their goals of providing value to 

customers and 

improving government efficiency.



Highlights Figure: Best Practice Elements Included in Mini 

Business Cases:



[See PDF for image]



Note: OMB’s e-government task force members developed business 

cases for 23 

and 24 Initiatives.



[End of figure]



What GAO Recommends:



The OMB Director should ensure that the managing partners for 

all 24 e-government 

initiatives focus on customers by soliciting input from the 

public and conducting 

user needs assessments, work with partner agencies to develop 

and document 

effective collaboration strategies, and provide OMB with 

adequate information to 

monitor the cost, schedule, and performance of the 24 e-government 

initiatives.



Contents:



Letter:



Results in Brief:



Recommendations for Executive Action:



Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:



Appendix:



Appendix I: Selection and Implementation of the Office of Management 
and Budget’s

24 Initiatives:



Abbreviations:



e-government: electronic government:



G2B: government to business:



G2C: government to individual citizens:



G2G: overnment to government:



IEE: internal efficiency and effectiveness:



IT: information technology:



MP: managing partner:



OMB: Office of Management and Budget:



PMC: President’s Management Council:



Letter November 22, 2002:



The Honorable Joseph I. Lieberman

Chairman

The Honorable Fred Thompson

Ranking Minority Member

Committee on Governmental Affairs

United States Senate:



The President has identified the expansion of electronic government

(e-government)[Footnote 1] as one of the five priorities of his 

management agenda. To support this priority, the Office of Management 

and Budget (OMB) developed an implementation strategy that identified 

24 e-government initiatives. These initiatives are expected to support 

the goal of the President’s management agenda and ultimately provide 

improved government services to citizens, businesses, and other levels 

of government.



This report responds to your request that we review the information and 

documentation related to the selection and implementation of each of 

the e-government initiatives identified within OMB’s e-government 

strategy. Our objectives were to (1) describe the completeness of the 

business case information used by OMB to make the initial selection of 

e-government initiatives and (2) describe the completeness of the work 

plans and funding plans submitted to OMB in May 2002 for use in 

overseeing implementation of the initiatives. To fulfill our first 

objective, we reviewed best practices for preparing information 

technology (IT) business cases developed by leading government, 

academic, and private sector organizations. We then compared the 

initial business cases used in the selection of the 24 initiatives with 

these best practices. To fulfill our second objective, we compared the 

information in the May 2002 work plans and funding plans with 

identified best practices from GAO and OMB guidance on IT project 

management and oversight. We conducted our review from June through 

September 2002 in accordance with generally accepted government 

auditing standards.



While we were able to obtain sufficient information to address the 

objectives in this report, OMB declined to provide certain information 

we requested. Specifically, OMB officials declined to provide business 

cases submitted by agencies in December 2001 and other relevant 

information submitted as part of the budget development process, 

stating that these documents were never updated by the agencies to 

reflect the final information presented in the President’s fiscal year 

2003 budget. The OMB officials agreed to provide us this information as 

soon as it is updated after the 2004 budget is released.



On October 8, 2002, we provided a detailed briefing to your office on 

the results of our review. The briefing slides[Footnote 2] are included 

as appendix I. The purpose of this report is to provide the published 

briefing slides to you and to officially transmit our recommendations 

to the Director of OMB.



Results in Brief:



The business cases, work plans, and funding plans obtained by OMB all 

contained at least some of the key information that we identified as 

necessary to select and oversee the initiatives. However, we also 

reported that OMB did not collect complete business case information 

before making its selection of 24 e-government initiatives. 

Specifically, despite the importance that OMB attached to collaboration 

and customer focus in its e-government strategy, fewer than half of the 

initiatives’ initial business cases addressed these topics. In 
addition, 

the May 2002 work and funding plans provided OMB with insufficient 

information to monitor the status of its 24 e-government initiatives. 

Without addressing these issues, OMB increases the risk that the 

initiatives will not meet the President’s goal of a citizen-centric 

electronic government that seeks to enhance the federal government’s 

value to its citizens.



Recommendations for Executive Action:



In order to help ensure the success of the President’s objective of 

expanding electronic government to improve the potential value of 

government to citizens, we recommend that the Director of OMB ensure 

that the managing partners for all 24 e-government initiatives 

(1) focus on customers by soliciting input from the public and 

conducting user needs assessments, (2) work with partner agencies to 

develop and document effective collaboration strategies, and 

(3) provide OMB with adequate information to monitor the cost, 

schedule, and performance of the 24

e-government initiatives.



Agency Comments and Our Evaluation:



In providing oral comments on a draft of this report, officials of 

OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs and its Office of 

General Counsel generally agreed with the facts, conclusions, and 

recommendations. These officials emphasized that while OMB leads the 

administration’s overall electronic government effort, federal 

agencies are responsible for leading the 24 individual initiatives. OMB 

officials also provided technical comments, and we have made changes 

where appropriate.



As agreed with your office, unless you publicly announce the contents 

of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days 

from the report date. At that time, we will send copies of this report 

to the Director of OMB and other interested congressional committees. 

We also will make copies available to others upon request. In addition, 

the report will be available at no charge on the GAO Web site at http:/

/www.gao.gov.



Should you have any question on matters contained in this report, 

please contact me at (202) 512-6240, or by E-mail at koontzl@gao.gov. 

Other key contributors to this report included Barbara Collier, Felipe 

Colón, Jr., John de Ferrari, Elizabeth Roach, and Megan Savage.



Signed by Linda D. Koontz:



Linda D. Koontz

Director, Information Management Issues:



[End of section]



Appendixes:



Appendix I: Selection and Implementation of the Office of Management 
and 

Budget’s 24 Initiatives:



[See PDF for image]



[End of figure]



FOOTNOTES



[1] E-government refers to the use of technology, particularly Web-

based Internet applications, to enhance the access to and delivery of 

government information and services to citizens, business partners, 

employees, other agencies, and other entities.



[2] We have amended the briefing as of October 31, 2002, to include 

technical corrections and clarifications.



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