GAO Recommends OMB Help Fund Long-term Efficiency Initiatives
October 5, 2011
The Office of Management and Budget should do more to help federal agencies cover the upfront costs associated with projects that will improve efficiency and save money in the long run, the Government Accountability Office recommended in a new report.
The report, which gives agencies advice on streamlining operations in response to budget pressure and a 2010 performance management law, recommended that the OMB director "work with Congress and federal agencies to develop proposals for funding mechanisms" that will assist "longer-term efficiency improvement projects." GAO noted that, if handled correctly, such investments would pay off with savings greater than or equal to the amount of initial funding.
GAO singled out one recent initiative as showing promise: an OMB venture that gives seed money to pilot programs singularly focused on increasing government efficiency. OMB formed the Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation in fiscal 2010 for a three-year trial run and since then has provided $8.25 million of an appropriated $32.5 million to five pilot projects. One such project streamlines state access to information on the Agriculture Department's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program to avoid wasteful overlaps with other programs that serve similar purposes. Another shares a Medicaid provider enrollment system among a group of states to save the Health and Human Services Department time and resources.