The Office of Management and Budget and the General Services Administration have made it a priority to develop shared-service programs that address universal government needs such as HR and travel planning.

But getting agencies to sign on with those services is another matter.

According to a Government Accountability Office report publicly released April 9, OMB and GSA need to do more to encourage agencies to get on board with offerings.

“For example, the Office of Personnel Management estimates that shared services for HR, including payroll, resulted in more than $1 billion in governmentwide cost-savings and cost avoidance between fiscal years 2002 and 2015. However, challenges include limited oversight, demand uncertainty among providers and limited choices for customers,” the report said.

Recently, GSA has been working to finalize its NewPay initiative, a program that would provide payroll, leave management and work scheduling services via the cloud.

Shared services have featured prominently in major administration initiatives like the Presidents Management Agenda and have the potential to save significant amounts of money, if enough agencies sign on.

In 2018, GSA and OMB developed a shared-services marketplace model to promote agency engagement.

But according to the GAO report, those agencies need to do more to monitor and set goals for their shared-services initiatives, which will better help them meet participation objectives.

“For example, OMB and GSA do not have a plan to monitor the implementation of NewPay, a 2018 payroll shared-services initiative designed to determine how well the new model works,” the report said.

“A monitoring plan which includes performance goals and milestones could help OMB and GSA avoid gaps in service or costly delays as agencies transition to the new model for obtaining shared services.”

GAO recommended that OMB and GSA finalize a plan for monitoring the implementation of NewPay, document roles and responsibilities for the NewPay rollout, update and share service provider information with customer agencies and implement a process for collecting and tracking cost-savings data.

In response, OMB staff neither agreed or disagreed with the recommendations, but said that they were evaluating their shared-services policies and would potentially be releasing an updated policy in the future.

Jessie Bur covers federal IT and management.

In Other News
Why do federal pay raises lag the private sector?
The federal budget proposal unveiled by the White House in March included an average pay increase of 4.6% for civilian federal workers, matching a planned military pay raise. Historically, with pay lagging in the federal sector, other factors including steady opportunities, competitive benefits and hybrid work to retain talent.
How can governments prepare for bioweapon attacks?
The tools needed to test, trace and treat both natural and intentional viral outbreaks are similar. But as future bio-attacks may be coordinated with financial, cyber or kinetic actions, the need for the military to sustain robust and dedicated capabilities to counter biothreats is paramount.
Lessons learned from the pandemic in modernizing public health systems
Agency leaders from Ventura County, California, and Winnebago, Illinois, spoke about how they transformed their technology infrastructure and processes to handle COVID-19 and how they plan to replicate and scale these changes to impact service delivery beyond pandemic-related needs.
Load More