Insight | June 9, 2017

Summary of OMB Memo M-17-22 – Comprehensive Plan for Reforming the Federal Government

By Raj Sharma

Censeo has distilled the White House Office of Management Memo on Management Reform, into a shorter summary that can used by agencies as they prepare their responses. Please see the summary below. If you would like additional information on how we are assisting leadership teams across the government respond to OMB’s requirements, please contact us at 202-296-0601.

OMB Memo M-17-22

Overarching purpose:

  • Too often the focus has been on creating new programs instead of eliminating or reforming programs which are no longer operating effectively
  • The result has been too many overlapping and outdated programs, rules, and processes, and too many Federal employees stuck in a system that is not working for the American people
  • Through the actions described below, President Trump aims to make government lean, accountable, and more efficient.

 

Timeline and requirements:

  • Immediate Actions. All agencies, in consultation with OMB, will identify and begin taking actions, including developing:
    • A plan to maximize employee performance
    • An Agency Reform Plan
  • An initial, high-level draft of the Agency Reform Plan is due to OMB by June 30, 2017.
    • Should include:
      • A high-level draft of their Agency Reform Plan that includes the Areas the agency is developing for their reforms;
      • Progress on near-term workforce reduction actions;
      • A plan to maximize employee performance.
  • Review Plans with OMB in July 2017 and gain input to incorporate into final plan
    • Begin taking actions on agreed upon areas to include “near-term actions to reduce the cost and size of the Federal Civilian workforce” while developing agency reform plan
  • An Agency Reform Plan to OMB in September 2017 as part of the agency’s FY 2019 Budget submission to OMB that includes long-term workforce reductions.
  • Crosscutting reform proposals – to be coordinated by OMB
    • Examples of crosscutting reforms may include areas where “market or technology changes allow a service to be delivered more efficiently, or where multiple Federal agencies interact in fragmented or duplicative ways with State, local, and Tribal governments or other stakeholders.”
    • These actions could also include merging agencies, components, programs, or activities that have similar missions.
  • Final Government–wide Reform Plan, by OMB, for FY2019 budget
  • Feb 2018, begin tracking progress

 

Key inputs: Agency Reform Plans, OMB-coordinated crosscutting proposals, and public input

 

Desired Outcomes:

  • Create a lean, accountable, more efficient government that works for the American people;
  • Focus the Federal government on effectively and efficiently delivering those programs that are the highest needs to citizens and where there is a unique Federal role rather than assuming current programs are optimally designed or even needed;
  • Align the Federal workforce to meet the needs of today and the future rather than the requirements of the past; and
  • Strengthen agencies by removing barriers that hinder front-line employees from delivering results.

 

Resources and guidance at:

 

Details on Components of Plans:

  • Head of each agency to identify how she/he proposes to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and accountability of her/his respective agencies.
  • Expected Analysis: “Agencies should develop an analytical framework that looks at the alignment of agency activities with the mission and role of the agency and the performance of individual functions. This framework should result in appropriate proposals in four categories: eliminate activities, restructure or merge, improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness, and workforce management.” “When justifying proposals to OMB, agencies should be prepared to discuss how they conducted their analysis and provide relevant evidence.”
  • Analytical Factors: Duplicative, Non-Essential, Federalism, Cost-Benefit, Efficiency and Effectiveness, Customer Service
    • Eliminate
      • Agency, programs, or activities: Agencies should identify areas to eliminate activities that are not core to the agency’s primary mission and/or are needlessly redundant.
      • Reporting burden reduction:
        • Within 60 days of this memorandum, OMB, CXO Councils and Agencies will identify initial reporting activities that can be immediately stopped or modified to reduce reporting and compliance burden.
        • In accordance with the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010, agencies should also include with their FY 2019 Budget submission a list of statutorily required reports they believe should be eliminated or modified by Congress.
    • Restructure and merge activities:
      • Agencies should also assess what activities can be restructured, streamlined, and merged to (1) Align the agency organizational structure with the agency core mission (2) Improve the efficiency, timeliness, and quality of services (3) Improve organizational decision making (4) Improve coordination and information sharing across existing silos (4) Reduce duplication of activities or functions across multiple parts ofthe organization; (5) Eliminate unnecessarily redundant levels of management or administrative support; and (6) Provide managers greater freedom to manage administrative tasks efficiently.
    • Improve organizational efficiency and effectiveness
      • Better leverage technology and improve underlying business processes
      • Streamline and eliminate processes
      • Shift to alternative delivery models – Agencies should rethink how the Federal government can deliver services to its customers, and evaluate options on both cost and quality dimensions
      • Streamline mission support functions
        • In areas such as IT, acquisition, financial management, human resources, and real estate, agencies should look for greater efficiency while maintaining or improving quality. Agencies should consider leveraging:
          • Intra- and inter-agency shared services/centers of expertise;
          • Lines of Business or shared IT infrastructure;
          • External service providers, including those providers on best-in-class contracts as part of the category management effort; and o Outsourcing to the private sector when the total cost would be lower or insourcing a function to government where a contract can be eliminated or scaled back.
        • Leverage Existing Solutions for Common Requirements
          • Agencies should consider government-wide contracts for common goods and services to save money, avoid wasteful and redundant contracting actions, and free-up acquisition staff
          • To the maximum extent practicable, especially for the acquisition of common goods and services, agencies shall use existing contract solutions
          • Build and use a portfolio of evidence to improve effectiveness
    • Workforce management: Improve performance, increase accountability, and reduce costs
      • Begin planning for FY 2018 budget reductions where applicable;
        • Identify workforce reductions over a four-year period (FY 2018 through 2022)
      • Develop a long-term workforce reduction plan as part of their FY 2019 Budget submission to OMB; and
        • Use agency data to determine appropriate FTE baselines
        • Examine the total personnel cost
        • Review and revise (as needed) organizational design and position structme
        • Streamline policy creation
        • Review positions as they become vacant
        • Keep positions current
      • Develop a plan to improve the agency’s ability to maximize employee performance for submission to OMB by June 30, 2017.
        • Agencies should determine whether their current policies and practices are barriers to hiring and retaining the workforce necessary to execute their missions as well appropriately managing and, if necessary, removing poor performers.
        • Agencies should also ensure that performance expectations are appropriately rigorous
        • Agencies should ensure that managers have the tools and support they need to manage performance effectively to achieve high-quality results for the American people
        • By June 30, 2017,
          • Review and Update Formal Agency Policy.
          • Provide Transparency around the Performance Improvement Plan (PIP) Process.
          • Ensure Managers and Supporting HR Staff are Appropriately Trained
          • Ensure Accountability in Manager Performance Plans
          • Establish Real-Time Manager Support Mechanisms