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Study Shows Agency Management Challenges Haven’t Changed

Information technology security tops list of concerns across government, consultant says.

The thorniest problems confronting managers across government this year are essentially the same ones that they faced last year, according to a new private-sector study.

Grant Thornton LLP, in anticipation of the “new management agenda” its authors expect President Obama to announce with his fiscal 2015 budget in early March, published on Wednesday “The State of the Union: A View of the Federal Government’s Management from the Inside.” It reports on perennial agency concerns such as information technology security and management, and the ongoing multi-agency effort to reduce improper payments.

A chart of the 24 major agencies’ top concerns as cited by inspectors general shows IT security and IT management as by far the most prevalent. “At seven large agencies, all of the management challenges cited by the inspectors general stayed the same from 2012 to 2013 -- none were removed!” Grant Thornton said in its report. The report factors in results of other surveys, including those of chief human capital officers, chief financial officers and defense management executives.

The firm puts the onus on President Obama to draw more attention to management challenges to improve transparency and oversight. “If you’ve been watching the news or paying attention at all, you’d have to admit that the state of management in the federal government is not what it should be,” the study said. “Admittedly, there has been intermittent progress. But recurring failures, like Healthcare.gov, remind us that we have a hard time learning the lessons of the past.”

(Image via Jirsak/Shutterstock.com)

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