4 initiatives agencies can do now to dodge Trump cuts

The timer for federal agencies to start thinking about how to streamline their operations began in earnest on April 12, when the White House issued its executive order calling for a top-down reorganization of the executive branch.

The order calls on agencies to evaluate their functions, operations and personnel to see where efficiencies can be made and redundancies eliminated.

Agency leaders have until June 30 to submit a high-level draft of their reform plans to Office of Management and Budget before they are woven into the fiscal 2019 budget in September.

OMB also spells out several initiatives that agencies can apply now to find efficiencies ahead of the June 30 deadline.

Here’s a look at what agency leaders can do now to get a start on their reform plans:

Start implementing GAO and OIG efficiency recommendations

The OMB guidance for the reorganization order suggests agency leaders crafting their reform plans start with the efficiency recommendations laid out in reports from the Government Accountability Office, as well as agency inspectors general. GAO’s 2016 report on Improving Efficiency and Effectivenesslisted 92 actions the executive branch or Congress could take to streamline operations, including 33 actions to reduce fragmentation, overlap and duplications — all key targets of the White House order.

Inspectors general have also issued reports detailing recommendations made to agencies for efficiency, including those that are still outstanding.

Embrace tech efficiencies

Adopting new information technology has been a top issue for agencies for some time now, but expect it to move squarely to the forefront as leaders will look to improve efficiencies in both operations and mission delivery. Though budgets and acquisition hurdles have prevented some agencies from new tech adoption in the past, OMB’s guidance has some suggestions on how to leverage those possibilities.

Utilizing shared services

To free up capital for acquisition, human resources and other operations, OMB instructed agencies to utilize shared services providers within government or outsource services to the private sector where feasible.

Shared services has been a priority of the federal government ever since the Unified Shared Services Management office was established in 2015 and provides a governance model for agencies to centralize certain functions like payroll, category management and IT migration.

Tapping GSA’s schedules and contracts

To streamline acquisition operations, OMB directs agencies to utilize several governmentwide procurement options offered by the General Services Administration, including supply schedules, Best in Class and Governmentwide Acquisition Contracts.

Agencies may also advance data consolidation and possible cloud migration plans to free up resources.

For more information on the executive order, check out OMB’s guidance.

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