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OMB sheds light on cross agency goals, metrics

Mar. 14, 2014 - 06:00AM   |  
OMB Nomination Hearing MWM 20131002
OMB Director Beth Cobert announced new management metrics under development. (Mike Morones/Staff)

Federal agencies will be reporting new metrics on their financial management practices, IT investments and office space usage, as part of a broader administration effort to increase government efficiency.

The Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration are creating cost and quality benchmarks in key areas, including human resources, acquisition, IT and property management, Beth Cobert, OMB’s deputy director for management, announced this week.

“These new benchmarks will give agencies better data so they can make more informed choices about allocating resources and improving processes,” Cobert said.

One area of focus is how efficiently agencies are using federal office space. Agencies will measure the average square footage per person in their office spaces, consistent with private sector practice to measure space utilization, OMB spokesman Frank Benenati said in an email. Agencies can use this information to identify potential opportunities for improving their space utilization through consolidation, co-location and other cost saving measures.

The administration is also setting metrics for financial management, which will include accounts payable, accounts receivable, and financial systems, Benenati said. For example, “we will be measuring the average cost per invoice within each agency to determine how efficiently agencies are performing this function. And we would look at the percentage of invoices paid on time as a potential metric of how well agencies are performing this function.”

Those metrics will help agencies measure how well they operate today and what can be improved, he said. “The objective is to provide agencies with better information on what they are spending on their administrative or mission support type activities relative to their direct mission spending, and to determine if there are opportunities for directing more of their limited resources to mission critical activities.”

Agencies’ progress in meeting their goals will be tracked quarterly on Implementation plans and metrics are due out soon.

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