In 2009, President Obama called for “a process through which every government worker can submit their ideas for how their agency can save money and perform better.” The President’s SAVE (Securing Americans’ Value and Efficiency) Award fulfilled this commitment by enabling Federal employees from across the government to submit their ideas for efficiencies and savings as part of the annual Budget process. Now in 2010, the process expanded so Federal employees could both submit ideas and vote on ideas submitted by others in a collaborative process. OMB is now reviewing the most popular ideas to choose finalists.

The first-ever SAVE Award was launched on September 23, 2009. In just three weeks, OMB received more than 38,000 ideas on how to make government more efficient and effective. OMB staff assessed the ideas, passing back the most promising ones to agencies to include as part of their budget plans, specifically in the Terminations, Reductions, and Savings volume. OMB then narrowed the best ideas to a “final four.” The American people rated the “final four” via online voting which concluded December 10, 2009.

In addition, many of the larger, systemic reforms proposed are being studied and teed up for action by OMB senior staff. Already some of these proposals are quickly becoming reality. For example, the Department of Homeland Security recently announced that it is changing the default setting for its payroll statements from paper to electronic. This means employees will receive their regular payroll data electronically instead of getting stacks of paper earnings statements by mail. Similar successes are underway and will be announced shortly.