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Memo to the SES on the Accountable Government Initiative

Memo to the SES on the Accountable Government Initiative

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Published by federaleye
Memo to members of the Senior Executive Service on President Obama's Accountable Government Initiative.
Memo to members of the Senior Executive Service on President Obama's Accountable Government Initiative.

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Published by: federaleye on Sep 14, 2010
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09/14/2010

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MEMORANDUM FOR THE SENIOR EXECUTIVE SERVICEFROM: Jeffrey D. Zients, Federal Chief Performance Officer and Deputy Director forManagement, Office of Management and BudgetDATE: September 9, 2010SUBJECT: The Accountable Government Initiative an Update on Our PerformanceManagement AgendaWe face extraordinary challenges – from growing our economy to transforming our energysupply, improving our children’s education, safeguarding our Nation and restoring its fiscalhealth. There is a distinct role for government in addressing these challenges, but the Americanpeople have doubts about the government’s capacity to do so effectively and efficiently.According to the Pew Research Center, about two-thirds of Americans believe that “whensomething is run by government it is usually inefficient and wasteful.”At the outset of his Administration, the President made it clear that we needed to makegovernment work better, faster, and more efficiently; these goals are central to the AccountableGovernment Initiative. The President’s Management Council (PMC) – the group of agencyDeputy Secretaries that I chair – is overseeing the effort to achieve these goals. Working withour partners in Congress, we are pursuing a management agenda that embraces technologicalinnovations and management best practices to improve effectiveness, efficiency, and customerservice.The members of the Senior Executive Service (SES) play a pivotal role in executing this agenda.As individuals, you serve as the link between your agencies’ political leadership, front-linemanagers, and employees. Your experience, expertise, and passion must drive theimplementation of performance improvement efforts within your organizations. As a group, youset the tone and expectations for what the federal workforce can accomplish. For us to succeedin overcoming skepticism and bureaucratic inertia, we need you to spread the belief thatperformance improvements are not only critical, they are well within our reach.The pages that follow review our approach to performance management, detail our strategies andkey initiatives, and describe the early progress we have achieved. I believe we are off to a goodstart, and that we are developing the momentum required for meaningful, sustainedimprovements in how the government works for the American people. I am providing you withthis information to support your communication and implementation efforts, and to solicit yourongoing feedback on our approach.My fellow PMC members and I will be following up with you regularly to review our progressand to get your input on where things are going well and where we need to make furtherimprovements. In the interim, I thank you for your hard work and ongoing dedication.
 
 
 
 
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P
ERFORMANCE
M
ANAGEMENT
A
PPROACH
 Our performance management efforts are focused on six strategies that have the highest potentialfor achieving meaningful performance improvement within and across Federal agencies.1.
 
Driving agency top priorities;2.
 
Cutting waste;3.
 
Reforming contracting;4.
 
Closing the IT gap;5.
 
Promoting accountability and innovation through open government;6.
 
Attracting and motivating top talent.Just as important as the choice of what strategies to pursue is how we pursue them. We believethat the best way to achieve meaningful performance improvement is to focus on outcomes andto keep government attention on what we want to accomplish. Rather than over-investing inplans about the work that needs to be done to “prepare for change,” our approach is to drivemeaningful, early results. To that end, agencies have identified clear owners for each of our sixperformance strategies and for each agency high priority performance goal. Agency leaders areholding regular goal-focused, data-driven reviews to stay focused on these goals, and to analyzepast experience and other relevant information to guide their actions.To keep leaders focused on outcomes, we have established an unprecedented degree of transparency on objectives, targets, progress, and action plans, and we are integrating ourmanagement priorities into the annual budget process. We have made this performanceinformation accessible to all Federal managers through Performance.gov, and will be opening thesite to the public later this Fall. This one-stop shop for Federal performance information willprovide access to management dashboards related to each performance strategy. It will alsoprovide in-depth information on agency priority goals and key performance indicators, measures,and milestones. Performance.gov will provide unmatched transparency on governmentperformance and will help create the clarity and the culture of accountability required to achievemeaningful improvements.Specifically, we will use Performance.gov to inform regular, data-driven reviews. Where effortsare off-track and a team is not making the necessary mid-course corrections, we will work withthem to get efforts back on track. Where progress is being made and breakthroughs achieved, wewill celebrate success and work to spread best practices for achieving results across government.Where progress toward a goal shared by multiple agencies requires inter-agency coordination orwhere agencies face similar problems that could benefit from cross-agency attention, we willfacilitate those efforts.Across all these efforts, we are focused on achieving rapid results because doing so not onlyproduces performance gains in the short term, but also creates the momentum necessary toachieve lasting, step-function improvements in government efficiency and effectiveness.
 
 
 
 
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PDATE ON
K
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P
ERFORMANCE
S
TRATEGIES
Performance Strategy #1: Driving Agency Top Priorities
Senior agency leaders face daily pressures to focus more on policy development and crisismanagement than on the implementation and execution required to improve outcomes anddeliver results. As a result, program effectiveness and service delivery suffer, programs multiplywithout good reason, and a focus on everything leads to a focus on nothing. To break thisparadigm, we are working with agency leaders to identify the Administration’s top outcome-focused priorities and focus management attention on delivering progress against them.Focusing on Priority GoalsAs part of the FY 2011 budget process, leaders of the largest Federal agencies identified a smallnumber of near-term, ambitious, outcome-focused priority goals. These are detailed in thePresident’s FY 2011 budget. Each priority goal is important to the public and focuses on a clear,measureable result that the agency aims to achieve in the next 12 to 24 months. Notably,achieving these goals will not require new resources or legislative action, but rather hinges onstrong execution. We soon will start working with the leaders of smaller and independentagencies and major bureaus to help them adopt this priority goal approach.For each priority goal, agency leaders designated a senior “goal leader” responsible for drivingthe execution required to achieve the desired outcome. Goal leaders developed action plans thatchart the expected path to the goal, with defined targets for key measures and quarterlymilestones. Quarterly data-driven reviews will drive progress toward the goals, and leaders willanalyze performance and other relevant data to guide agency action. In addition, agencies willprovide quarterly updates to OMB and the public on progress, problems, and planned actions viaa new Federal website, Performance.gov. OMB will identify successful practices worth sharingwith other parts of government. When progress toward a goal is insufficient, we will work withthe agency to get efforts back on track.Improving Key Citizen ProgramsData show that the best opportunity to influence an individual’s perception of governmenteffectiveness is at the point of direct interaction.Our goal is for the public’s interactions with government agencies to be on par with theirexperiences with the highest performing customer service organizations outside government.We are starting with services the public accesses most frequently, such as agency websites andcall centers. Agencies are taking action to improve access to these services and to make themmore responsive and customer-friendly. For example, the Social Security Administration isworking to allow people to book appointments online before heading to their local office, and ateam from the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) has created a so-called "Blue Button" thatenables Veterans to download their personal health records right off the VA website. VA isworking closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Department of Defense to add Blue Button services to their electronic health records as well, which will give

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