PMA Update: Shift To ‘High-Value Work’ Effort Sees Busy 2019

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The Trump administration’s latest update of its recent activities to fulfill its CAP (cross-agency priority) goal action plan for shifting agencies’ attention to higher-value work shows that agencies working on the plan–including officials from the Office of Management Budget and the Department of Housing and Urban Development–have a busy 2019 schedule to advance the effort.

The CAP goal action plan in this and other Federal IT subject areas are part of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) issued in March. The goal of shifting from low-value to high-value work, the PMA says, aims to move agencies away from spending time “complying with unnecessary and obsolete policies, guidance, and reporting requirements,” and toward “accomplishing mission-critical objectives and other high-value work, with the objective of achieving no new net burden annually.”

In its update for the third quarter of FY 2018 (the quarter ended June 30), OMB issued a memorandum to agencies updating them on high-value work effort and rescinding what it called 45 “obsolete/unnecessary guidance documents,” and went live with an agency-resource web page for the goal.

Plenty remains to be done in the remainder of FY 2019, the administration said, on five strategies being pursued to achieve the goal.

On the first strategy–improving return on investment of OMB guidance–OMB said it wants to develop by Q2 2019 a “burden-estimate methodology for issuing new guidance to agencies,” but said development is taking longer than expected.

On the second strategy–reducing compliance requirements from central management agencies–OMB said work was continuing on a “proof of concept” for streamlining Senior Executive Service certification that had been scheduled for completion by the end of FY 2018. It also said the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) was continuing to work on an assessment of current data collection requirements and planned to finish that effort sometime in FY 2019.

On the third strategy–eliminating outdated congressionally-mandated reporting requirements–OMB said it was still working with lawmakers on a legislative agenda to further its proposals. That effort had a milestone due date of April/May of this year, and the agency said that anticipated barriers to progress include “finding a sponsor in Congress to introduce a bill acting on proposals.” OMB said its Office of Performance and Personnel Management (OPPM) was “on target” to receive by this month agency submissions of FY 2020 proposals, and to publish those in February 2019.

On the fourth strategy–reducing unnecessary agency costs and compliance requirements and increasing high-value work–OMB said it plans to produce progress updates on how major federal agencies are doing on those goals beginning in Q2 FY 2019 and continuing into FY 2020.

And finally on the supporting strategy of creating accountability, incentives, and capabilities for reducing burdens – OMB said it was looking to develop burden-estimation methodology for new guidance by Q2 FY 2019, although it said this development effort was taking “longer than expected.” OMB said it planned to begin publishing burden estimates in the third quarter and providing them for proposed legislation in the third quarter of FY 2019, but noted those time estimates “may push depending on timing of pilot process and results.” OMB still expects to issue a first annual report on “net burden” in the first quarter of FY 2020.

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