Administrative Investigation of VA’s FY 2011 HR Conferences in Orlando, FL
Recommendations #2-7 and #9-18 – The Secretary will assign responsibility to appropriate VAofficials outside the Office of Human Resource Management to review these recommendationsof the Inspector General and all available evidence related to such recommendations. Afterconsultation with human resource officials from outside VA’s Office of Human ResourceManagement, and with the Office of General Counsel, the assigned officials shall determinewhat administrative action is appropriate with regard to each individual. The Inspector Generalwill be informed of the Department’s conclusions and any action taken.VA Training Conferences and the Advancement of the Organizational MissionOngoing military operations assured continuing growth of a Veteran population withincreasingly complex health care concerns. In 2009, VA recognized that the changing needs of Veterans required it to improve and enhance the training of its employees. At that time, trainingprograms were scattered, siloed, and underutilized.The Veterans Affairs Learning University (VALU) was created to meet the need for higherquality training for all employees on a consistent and easy to use basis. VALU identifies criticalknowledge, skills, and behaviors needed to accomplish our mission, compares them to currentorganizational capabilities and targets training to fill the gaps. This process informs the courseofferings in our training programs, including training conferences. As training courses aredeveloped, we give strong consideration to ensuring courses are available to the largestpopulation of employees, and are carried out in a cost-effective manner. VALU also developeda training evaluation methodology – regularly reporting training completion, training results, andfuture training needs.These priorities and processes provide context for our training conferences and prepare ouremployees to carry out our mission effectively, efficiently and ethically.VA Measures to Ensure Effective, Cost-Efficient ConferencesConference oversight is not a new priority. Since 2009, VA has implemented a series of newpolicies and controls on the planning and execution of conferences:
On January 29, 2009, VA issued the first of several memoranda establishing a centralizedconference review process to assure the prudent use of our resources.
Another VA memo, issued on August 12, 2011, required Under Secretaries, AssistantSecretaries, and other key officials to submit a consolidated list of proposed conferences andtraining events for FY 2012 to the Office of the Secretary for review. This memo required thatany proposed conference or training session involving 50 or more VA employees must besubmitted to the Chief of Staff for review and authorization.
In November 2011, VA’s Office of Management published a detailed conference-planningpolicy document, which made clear that all conference travel must be performed in the mosteconomical and effective manner, and should be limited to those expenses that are necessary toaccomplish the purpose of the conference.
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