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Highlights

In accordance with the President's Management Agenda, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has sponsored initiatives to promote electronic government--the use of information technology, such as Web-based Internet applications, to enhance government services. Generally, these "e-gov" initiatives do not have direct appropriations but depend on a variety of funding sources, including monetary contributions from participating agencies. GAO was asked to review the funding of e-gov initiatives that relied on such contributions: specifically, to determine, for fiscal years 2003 and 2004, whether agencies made contributions in the amounts planned and to determine the timing of these contributions.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget In order to avoid errors and to better assist the managing partner agencies in obtaining funds to execute the OMB-sponsored e-gov initiatives, the Director of OMB should take steps to ensure that OMB's budget guidance to partner agencies correctly reflects the funding plans of each of the initiatives that rely on funding contributions.
Closed - Implemented
In April 2005 we reported that although agencies generally contributed amounts as planned to OMB-sponsored e-government initiatives, shortfalls nevertheless occurred. These shortfalls occurred in part because of a lack of budget guidance from OMB reflecting the original planned amounts. For example, an error by OMB that assessed the Department of Energy the same amount as the Department of Education (the two departments have similar abbreviations) for the Integrated Acquisition Environment initiative resulted in nearly a $10 million dollar shortfall over fiscal years 2003 and 2004. Accordingly, we recommended that OMB take steps to ensure that its budget guidance to partner agencies correctly reflects the funding plans of each of the initiatives that rely on funding contributions. In response to our recommendation, OMB has taken steps to ensure budget guidance accurately reflects funding plans by expanding the length of the process for determining agency allocations for various projects, thus allowing more time for potential errors to be identified and resolved. Therefore, OMB believes it is less likely that errors will occur and agencies will have adequate time and opportunity to seek any corrections as needed. By taking this action, OMB decreases the risk of errors in budget guidance that could result in e-government initiatives falling short of planned funding.

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