Agencies on reinvention: mission accomplished

ksaldarini@govexec.com

Ten federal agencies have told the General Accounting Office that more than 90 percent of key Clinton administration recommendations for reinventing government have been fully or partially implemented.

The reinventing government movement launched in 1993 under Vice President Al Gore's National Performance Review (now known as the National Partnership for Reinventing Government) was largely successful, GAO said in its report, "Reinventing Government: Status of NPR Recommendations at 10 Federal Agencies," (GGD-00-145). GAO asked 10 agencies to review 72 NPR recommendations. The agencies reported that 33 of the recommendations were fully implemented and another 30 were partially completed.

Still, NPR initiatives cannot be separated from other efforts to reform government, particularly the 1993 Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) and the oversight efforts of Congress, GAO said.

"An attempt to isolate the specific contributions that any one entity made to successful management reforms-or to apportion 'credit' among entities- is generally not possible," GAO said.

Nonetheless, nine out of 10 agencies credited NPR with pushing them towards more results-focused management. Taxpayers can now pay their taxes with credit cards, an NPR recommendation, and the Census Bureau's customer service has improved thanks to an NPR recommendation to expand the availability of online census data, the report said. Twenty-nine recommendations either enhanced revenue or reduced costs, while 25 improved customer service, GAO reported.

The next administration still has its work cut out for it, as indicated by a laundry list of management challenges GAO presented in May to the House Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring and the District of Columbia. Subcommittee Chairman George Voinovich, R-Ohio, requested the GAO report.

"Our review of these NPR recommendations, as well as our other related work on federal management issues, suggests that successful reinvention is not an end-state, but rather an ongoing process that seeks continuous improvements in performance, efficiency and effectiveness," GAO said.

GAO reviewed NPR's 1993 and 1995 recommendations for the following agencies:

  • Defense Department
  • Energy Department
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development
  • National Weather Service
  • Bureau of Census
  • Health Care Financing Administration
  • Federal Aviation Administration
  • Internal Revenue Service
  • Social Security Administration
  • General Services Administration
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