Since 2009, the Administration has advanced successful initiatives to increase the efficiency of Federal Government operations and allow agencies to free up resources and better focus on their core missions of providing healthcare, veterans benefits, financial services, or defending our homeland. Today, in a historic step towards driving greater efficiency in how government serves the American citizens and businesses, the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and General Services Administration (GSA) announced the establishment of the first-ever, government-wide shared services Management and Oversight (M&O) operating model for mission support functions.
As part of the President’s Management Agenda, Federal agencies have been working to improve the way government works and delivers for citizens through four pillars: efficiency, effectiveness, economic growth, and people and culture. Shared Services is a key component of the efficiency pillar. Shared Services seeks to enhance Government efficiency by encouraging agencies to work together to deliver support functions, such as financial management and human resources.
While many accomplishments have been realized over the years, challenges exist in the ecosystem that impede shared services adoption - the biggest challenge being that multiple shared service initiatives are independently led across lines of business. In February 2015, OMB commissioned a study to identify possibilities to improve the management of mission support shared services.
Stakeholders from across the government were engaged in the study: steering and advisory committees comprised cross-government executives guided the study; 22 focus groups with over 90 stakeholders were held and; more than 100 documents including government, association and industry reports were analyzed.
The study was guided by a few key considerations:
The study confirmed that to improve performance and efficiency throughout government, reform is required in the way the government delivers and oversees its shared service initiatives. As part of today’s announcement, stakeholders from across the government will work together to manage and oversee mission-support shared services with the goal of enabling the delivery of high-quality, high-value shared services. The initial scope of this M&O structure will be acquisitions, financial management, human resources, travel and information technology in support of the aforementioned functions.
“If we are focused, committed, systematic, and intentional, we can make the sort of transformative changes in our service delivery approach that have altered the course of the commercial retail marketplace and reinvigorated American manufacturing.
This involves building common standards for underlying support activities and systems and driving out redundancy in administrative service provision. - Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal for Shared Services available on Performance.gov”
A new cross-governmental Shared Services Governance Board, led by OMB, will be established to serve as the decision-making body for the shared services ecosystem. A Unified Shared Services Management (USSM) office is also being established within the General Services Administration (GSA) to serve as an integration body for the ecosystem, working across functions, providers and consumers. GSA’s mission is to deliver the best value in real estate, acquisition, and technology services to the government and American people. Within GSA, the USSM will be located in the Office of Government-wide Policy (OGP). OGP's mission is to ensure that government-wide policies enable and encourage agencies to develop and utilize world-class management practices in support of their core mission programs.
There is a lot of work ahead of us, but we are confident that this is a critical step in creating a more effective and efficient Government – one that better focuses its resources on delivering critical services to its citizens.
David Mader is the Acting Deputy Director for Management at the White House Office of Management and Budget.
Denise Turner Roth is the Administrator of the General Services Administration.