Government Management:

Observations on OMB's Management Leadership Efforts

T-GGD/AIMD-98-148: Published: May 12, 1998. Publicly Released: May 12, 1998.

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GAO discussed its observations on the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) efforts to carry out its responsibilities to set policy and oversee the management of the executive branch.

GAO noted that: (1) OMB is the lead agency for overseeing a framework of recently enacted financial, information resources, and performance planning and measurement reforms designed to improve the effectiveness and responsiveness of federal agencies; (2) OMB's perennial challenge is to carry out its central management leadership responsibilities in a way that leverages opportunities of the budget process, while at the same time ensuring that management concerns receive appropriate attention in an environment driven by budget and policy decisions; (3) OMB's Deputy Director for Management and the Office of Federal Financial Management, in concert with the Chief Financial Officers Council, have led governmentwide efforts to focus greater attention on financial management issues; (4) OMB has played a pivotal role in fostering ongoing financial management reform, ranging from improved financial systems and reporting to new accounting standards; (5) despite this progress, GAO was not able to form an opinion on the reliability of the federal government's consolidated financial statements because of serious deficiencies; (6) OMB's Office of Federal Procurement Policy (OFPP) has worked to implement the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act and the Clinger-Cohen Act; (7) OFPP has also been working to streamline the procurement process, promote efficiency, and encourage a more results-oriented approach to planning and monitoring contracts; (8) OMB's efforts to improve capital decisionmaking are a third example of where OMB's leadership efforts are yielding some results; (9) to address widespread weaknesses in federal information security, the Chief Information Officers (CIO) Council, under OMB's leadership, has taken some significant actions; (10) agencies' computer systems' year 2000 compliance remains a concern, and serious vulnerabilities remain, although OMB, the President's Council on Year 2000 Conversion, and the CIO Council all have focused attention on increasing compliance; (11) GAO also found that improvements are needed in the process used to review and clear regulations; (12) OMB's Circular A-76 sets forth federal policy for determining whether commercial activities associated with conducting the government's business will be performed by federal employees or contractors; (13) OMB's oversight role across the government can provide the basis for analyzing crosscutting program design, implementation, and organizational issues; and (14) the experiences to date suggest that certain factors are associated with the successful implementation of management initiatives.

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