Office of Personnel Management:

Status of Achieving Key Outcomes and Addressing Major Management Challenges

GAO-01-884: Published: Jul 9, 2001. Publicly Released: Aug 8, 2001.

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This report reviews the Office of Personnel Management's (OPM) fiscal year 2000 performance report and fiscal year 2002 performance plan. OPM's mission, in part, is to provide strategic human capital management leadership and services to federal agencies. OPM's fiscal year 2000 performance report and fiscal year 2002 performance plan contain many goals that measure the extent of their activities, but there are few goals and measures that assess the actual state of strategic human capital management in the federal government or the specific contributions that OPM's programs and initiatives make. Although OPM does not directly control these outcomes in federal agencies, it needs to measure the results to assess how well its leadership services are working. OPM recognizes this weakness and is working with human resource directors at federal agencies to develop a series of human capital measures. In its report and plan, OPM also need to strengthen goals and measures to improve their reliability, link its internal human capital goals to OPM programs, and establishing a program management performance goal to assess fraud and error in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM has developed the Human Capital Assessment & Accountability Framework, a governmentwide tool to manage, measure, and evaluate the workforce in accordance with 6 standards of success. The six standards are strategic alignment, workforce planning & deployment, leadership & knowledge management, results-oriented performance culture, talent, and accountability. OPM reports that it uses this information along with its quarterly assessments of the status of each agency's strategic human capital plan to assess the status of human capital in the federal government.

    Recommendation: To better assess OPM programs, as part of OPM's continued strengthening of its efforts to clearly define goals, measure its performance, and provide leadership over strategic human capital management, the Director of OPM should develop goals and measures that assess the state of human capital at federal departments and agencies.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM conducts formal ongoing evaluations using its Human Capital Assessment and Accountability Framework to measure progress on agency human capital transformation efforts. OPM uses results of these evaluations as a basis for collaboration between agencies and assigned OPM Human Capital Officers and as a basis for comparisons across agencies and benchmarking. In addition, OPM has developed and used the Federal Human Capital Survey as a general indicator of how well agencies are running their human capital management systems and as a tool for OPM to assess individual agencies and their process toward "green" status on Strategic Management of Human Capital under the President's Management Agenda.

    Recommendation: To better assess OPM programs, as part of OPM's continued strengthening of its efforts to clearly define goals, measure its performance, and provide leadership over strategic human capital management, the Director of OPM should replace informal feedback measures with indicators that are more reliable.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM reports that it has developed a comprehensive Plan for the Strategic Management of its Human Capital: FY 2004-2007, the first of its kind for this organization. The plan lays out a systematic, integrated, agencywide, and goal-specific approach to improving its Human Capital management. Through it, OPM believes it is ensuring that it has the talent and capacity necessary to meet its new and expanded responsibilities. The agency says the goals set forth in this plan are focused on achieving results that are tracked, analyzed, and used in making Human Capital decisions. Before FY 2001, the annual goals and performance measures used in OPM's annual performance plans were developed randomly and focused primarily on process, not program, outcomes and results. OPM now has identified clear and specific program outcomes, adopted a program logic approach for determining its performance measures, and revamped its performance measures to focus on program outcomes. According to OPM, this new emphasis has resulted in a more stable array of measures for each program and annual goals that are derived from expected performance. For example, in the field of evaluating agencies' Human Capital programs, OPM has established a goal dealing with employee security. The outcome is that employee on-the-job safety is secured through comprehensive safety plans. Success in achieving this goal is measured by the percentage of agencies that have workforce safety plans in place and the percentage that meet relevant personnel security standards.

    Recommendation: To better assess OPM programs, as part of OPM's continued strengthening of its efforts to clearly define goals, measure its performance, and provide leadership over strategic human capital management, the Director of OPM should better link internal strategic human capital management goals to specific OPM programs and outcomes.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OPM's Center for Retirement and Insurance Services has adopted a three-prong strategic approach towards preventing fraud and abuse in the FEHBP. OPM stated that it communicated this strategic approach to all the carriers in its 2003 Call letter and has reaffirmed this information in its Call letter for 2006. OPM also established a work group to study fraud and abuse in the FEHBP, introduced eight industry standards for health plan fraud and abuse prevention and detection, implemented the raising of consumer awareness, and developed a listing of potential fraud indicators. OPM now takes the approach of requiring carriers to report to OPM on their fraud and abuse activities, and carriers are subject to review by the IG as a component of the audit protocol for each plan.

    Recommendation: The Director of OPM should develop goals and measures that assess the prevention and detection of fraud and errors in the Federal Employees Health Benefits Program, perform a risk assessment to identify areas most vulnerable to fraud and errors, and institute internal controls to prevent and detect occurrences.

    Agency Affected: Office of Personnel Management

 

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