Electronic Government:

Selection and Implementation of the Office of Management and Budget's 24 Initiatives

GAO-03-229: Published: Nov 22, 2002. Publicly Released: Dec 20, 2002.

Additional Materials:

Contact:

Linda D. Koontz
(202) 512-7487
contact@gao.gov

 

Office of Public Affairs
(202) 512-4800
youngc1@gao.gov

In the President's Management Agenda, a key element for reforming the federal government is the expansion of electronic government (e-government)--that is, the use of technology, particularly the Internet, to enhance access to government information and services. Accordingly, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) established a task force to select and manage strategic e-government initiatives. GAO was asked to review the completeness of information used for choosing and overseeing these initiatives.

OMB's e-government task force developed abbreviated ("mini") business cases on which to base its selection of initiatives. GAO compared the content of these mini business cases with best practices for the content of e-government business cases. Based on this comparison, all the business cases contained at least some of the key information needed, but many elements were missing. In particular, fewer than half addressed collaboration and customer focus, despite the importance of these topics to OMB's e-government strategy and the President's stated goal: to "champion citizen-centered electronic government that will result in a major improvement in the federal government's value to the citizen." Similarly, the work and funding plans associated with the initiatives all contained at least some key information necessary for OMB oversight. However, based on GAO's analysis, OMB did not have all the information needed to fully monitor the progress and development of the initiatives. For example, only 9 of the initiatives identified a strategy for obtaining needed funds. Also, the accuracy of the estimated costs in the funding plans may be questionable: since May 2002, estimated costs for 12 of the initiatives have changed significantly--by more than 30 percent. Without accurate cost, schedule, and performance information, OMB cannot ensure that its e-government initiatives are on schedule and achieving their goals of providing value to customers and improving government efficiency.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: In order to help ensure the success of the President's objective of expanding electronic government to improve the potential value of government to citizens, the Director of OMB should ensure that the managing partners for all 24 e-government initiatives focus on customers by soliciting input from the public and conducting user needs assessments.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: GAO reported in November 2002, that only nine of the initial business cases used to select the original 23 e-government initiatives discussed meeting customer needs. Subsequently, in March 2004, GAO testified that the initiatives were having mixed success in achieving results that are focused on customers. As of October 2006, the E-Gov initiatives have taken a variety of actions to solicit public and user input and assess user needs. For example, the GovBenefits initiative has instituted a web-based survey of user satisfaction. The USA Services initiative has done a market research review and also held 20 sessions with focus groups to obtain public input. The SAFECOM initiative is conducting a National Interoperability Baseline Survey to obtain input from first responders (their users) regarding the program. In OMB's view, the 24 initiatives vary substantially, so it would be inappropriate for OMB to specify a single method for obtaining input for all of them to follow. Instead it has worked with the managing partners of the initiatives to ensure that they individually identify appropriate mechanisms for obtaining input.

    Recommendation: In order to help ensure the success of the President's objective of expanding electronic government to improve the potential value of government to citizens, the Director of OMB should ensure that the managing partners for all 24 e-government initiatives work with partner agencies to develop and document effective collaboration strategies.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Subsequent to GAO's recommendation, as part of the requirements in OMB Circular A-11 for 2003, OMB began requiring agencies that are collaborating on joint information technology projects, including electronic government initiatives, to develop multi-agency business cases for those projects. Specifically OMB now requires that the joint business case identify all participating agencies, the milestones they are responsible for, and the appropriation/funding source information for the partner agencies. In addition, since GAO's recommendation was issued, OMB expanded the criteria it uses to evaluate agencies' information technology business cases and now assesses whether the proposed investment is collaborative (multi-agency).

    Recommendation: In order to help ensure the success of the President's objective of expanding electronic government to improve the potential value of government to citizens, the Director of OMB should ensure that the managing partners for all 24 e-government initiatives provide OMB with adequate information to monitor the cost, schedule, and performance of the 24 e-government initiatives.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Since GAO's recommendation was issued, OMB has shown that it is monitoring the initiatives with more complete and timely information. For example, it reviews project schedules using information provided by the managing partners on a weekly basis. OMB also has developed an e-government "dashboard" to rate each initiative in the areas of deployments, resources, and schedule. Initiatives are scored using stoplight reporting (e.g., green, yellow, or red) and provided with guidance as to how to improve their scores where necessary. In addition, OMB collects cost, schedule, and performance data from the managing partners on a monthly basis, including key performance metrics and initiative resources (including full time employees, funding, fee-for-service amounts, and dollar value of "in kind" contributions). It uses this information to further gauge initiative progress and to set direction as necessary. Finally, OMB's e-government portfolio managers hold regular status meetings with representatives from each initiative to monitor its progress.

    Jul 22, 2014

    Jun 17, 2014

    Jun 11, 2014

    Jun 10, 2014

    May 28, 2014

    May 21, 2014

    May 12, 2014

    May 7, 2014

    Apr 30, 2014

    Looking for more? Browse all our products here