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Highlights

The federal government faces a series of challenges in the 21st century that will be difficult, if not impossible, for any single agency to address alone. Many issues cut across more than one agency and their actions are not well coordinated. Moreover, agencies face a range of barriers when they attempt to work collaboratively. This report identifies key practices that can help enhance and sustain agency collaboration. GAO also considered how the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) address collaboration among agencies. To illustrate these practices, we selected the Healthy People, wildland fire management, and Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense's health resource sharing collaborations.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget 1. The Director of OMB should continue to encourage interagency collaboration by focusing attention on additional areas in need of greater collaboration to achieve common outcomes and promoting the collaboration practices identified in this report. Options for doing this could involve: expanding the PMA initiatives and standards to include either an additional governmentwide initiative focused on improving collaboration across federal agencies or additional agency initiatives focused on specific areas in need of improved collaboration; expanding the standards for the PMA's strategic management of human capital initiative to reflect the need for agencies to hold individuals accountable, through their performance management systems, for coordinating and collaborating within and across organizational boundaries in order to help the agencies achieve their mission, goals, and outcomes; and supplementing the PART guidance on interagency coordination with information about the collaboration practices in this report.
Closed - Implemented
During 2007, consistent with our recommendation, OMB took several actions to improve coordination and collaboration across federal agency lines. First, OMB established two new coordination initiatives for the President's Management Agenda--federal credit and health quality information. In addition, OMB and relevant federal agencies issued a joint strategic plan to improve the safety of imported products.

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