Using Consultations to Make Informed Decisions

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) works for Congress and is a big proponent of performance-informed decision making.  So they’ve written a practical report on how Congress can effectively use performance information produced by federal agencies to make better decisions.  And they’ve illustrated the report with three examples of where congressional committees, over a period of years, used performance information to guide key decisions in diverse areas such as immigration, HIV/AIDs, and improper payments.

How Can Bid Protests be Reduced in Government Contracting?

 and Public Policy at Willamette University.

and Public Policy at Willamette University.

Reorganizing Management Functions: A Manager's Checklist

Sometimes GAO does terrific work but couches it in ways that its value may not be immediately obvious to busy readers.  Here’s a very practical report that looks at eight recent consolidation efforts undertaken by federal agencies and identifies five sets of questions that managers should be able to answer if they find themselves in charge of an initiative to consolidate infrastructure or management functions.  Since these kinds of reorganization efforts will likely be more common in coming years as agencies look for strategies to cut c

Should Government Reorganize Itself?: Legislative Authority to Collaborate (Part VI)

Typically, the cultural, administrative, and legal barriers to working together collaboratively inside the federal government are too high and they discourage efforts to collaborate (more on this in a future post).  The Obama Administration has taken some steps, such as the president’s directive last year that encourages administrative flexibility by federal agencies when working with state and local governments.

Should Government Reorganize Itself? The Legos Approach (Part V)

Should government use Legos to inspire its reorganization approach?

Structural reorganization initiatives – like the creation of the Department of Homeland Security -- are slow, take an enormous amount of effort, and require years to become effective.  Ultimately, the new structure becomes rigid and needs to be revisited.  Many observers advocate creating more adaptable approaches that allow a mix and match of capabilities.  What are some potential options for doing this?

Executive Branch Options

Should Government Reorganize Itself? (Part IV)

When Vice President Gore’s reinventing government team was being formed in the early 1990s, he encouraged it to not focus on reorganizing agencies and programs, but rather to fix what’s inside the agencies.  He also advocated the creation of “virtual agencies.”  At the time, no one really understood what he was talking about, but today – with the technologies now available – it is really possible.

Should Government Reorganize Itself? (Part II)

Beginning in 1932, presidents were periodically granted authority by Congress to submit plans to reorganize agencies.  Over time, it became increasingly limited in scope and when this authority expired in 1984, presidents since then have not asked for it to be renewed, until now.

Should Government Reorganize Itself? (Part I)

The Senate hearing focused on recent U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) reports on duplicative and fragmented programs and the Obama Administration’s efforts to undertake reorganization efforts. 


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