By now everyone is familiar with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) passed by Congress last year with specific deadlines and know that Treasury, OMB, and others are busy preparing to address its requirements to disclose direct expenditures and link them to contracts, loans and grants. It requires the establishment of standards, improvements in the quality of data and streamlined reporting through the use of USASpending.gov. It may also, at the discretion of the Secretary of Treasury, establish a data analysis center to facilitate better analysis and increase efficiency. If implemented correctly, the act could provide an underlying framework to support not only transparency and accountability in government, but the improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of government programs. Read More
As the largest buyer of goods and services in the world, our government has a rigorous procurement process in place to protect the American taxpayer, designed to facilitate helping Uncle Sam buy what he needs to perform his myriad missions efficiently, effectively, and economically. Unfortunately, the federal government fails to spend taxpayer money wisely with such frequency that newspapers and television reports are rife with examples of overspending, failed projects and bloated contracts. Read More
In May 2014, President Obama signed the DATA Act into law. The crux of the law is simple: Make financial data across government available in a standardized format. As a result, stakeholders will speak a common financial data language.
This is an important step toward government consistency, but not necessarily a culturally transformative event. Let’s step back for a second and think about what “transparency” truly means. Imagine a clear plastic screen replaces the wall between your office and your co-worker’s office. Day in and day out, you are able to see the interactions of your nearest work neighbor. In some ways, your neighbor’s actions are transparent -- you can see her every move. However, you are still missing a key component -- context. Why is she talking to those people? Why is she visiting that website? You can certainly use contextual cues to make an educated guess, but your guess and others’ guesses would probably not mesh completely. Read More
The midterm elections clearly demonstrated that the American people are longing for Congress to do something different. The new Congress needs to begin addressing big issues that past Congresses have failed to do. Reforms in social insurance programs, tax law, civil service, immigration, and many others are critical for the American people and the health of our nation. These issues need to be addressed by Congress as a whole, but the Committees on Oversight and Government Reform in the House and Homeland Security and Government Affairs in the Senate need to take on real reform to improve the health of our government. Read More
The below article, written by COE’s president and chief executive officer, Steve Goodrich, was originally published via Federal Computer Week on July 21, 2014. The piece talks about what can be done proactively to avoid possible pitfalls of the new Data Act. Read More
This May, Steve Goodrich spoke at GovExec’s 18th Annual Excellence in Government conference— the nation’s largest and most highly concentrated gathering of agency leaders focused on exploring the new management, business and leadership strategies needed for the agency of the future.
Steve spoke alongside Angela Bailey, Chief Operating Officer at the Office of Personnel Management on EIG’s 2014 Data and Performance session. The panel, moderated by Government Executive Media Group editor-in-chief, Tom Shoop, discussed the opportunities an increasingly data-driven world offers to improve the performance of federal agencies and employees alike. Read More
For anyone over the age of 40, the word “mission” cannot help but conjure up images of rockets, moon landings and brave astronauts. As President John F. Kennedy said in his famous speech at Rice University in 1962:
“We choose to go to the moon in this decade … because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win…." Read More
As the Cheshire Cat tells us, if you don't know where you are going, any path will get you there. This suggests that if you are not clear about what you, your agency and your team are to "produce"—what the clear outcomes of your work are to be — then it is okay for staff to spend their time on whatever their current practices or preferences of work might be. This leads to a perspective that work—any work— is good, whether it is making a needed difference or not. What we need in our government is a focus on outcomes–the value delivered to the American people by a high-performing federal workforce. Read More
This week the House of Representatives took a big step toward increased efficiency and transparency in government by passing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA). The bill was passed by a unanimous vote in the Senate last month and now awaits White House approval. DATA aims to make more than $3 trillion in federal spending transparent to the public along with streamlining the monitoring and reporting process for recipients of federal funds. The bill would authorize a state-of-the-art data analysis center along with a pilot program that would consolidate reporting across agencies and programs. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) is a strong supporter of the bill and believes it will help improve government credibility in the eyes of the American people. “The DATA Act will give the American people the ability to track how we spend their tax dollars,” Issa said. Read More