Accountability and Performance Update – December 19, 2020-January 8, 2021

Performance & Management

‘Uncertainty’ in budget process after OMB ends call for agency performance metrics

Jory Heckman, Federal News Network

The Trump administration, in an 11th-hour memo, has suspended a requirement for agencies to set strategic planning goals and to share progress made with Congress and the public as part of the annual budget process.

How the Biden Administration Can Supercharge Results by Using Evidence

Andrew Feldman and Jed Herrman, Government Executive

Believe it or not, there has been progress over the last four years in the use of evidence and data to inform decision-making. The new administration can build on those gains.

America Needs a Strategic Plan

Andrew Kleine, Government Executive

A divided, directionless nation yearns for its next moonshot.

Rebuilding Government as a Purpose-Driven Organization

Howard Risher, Government Executive

An agency’s purpose should be the foundation for workforce management.

Management-Related Bills among First Priorities of House


The House has passed, as among its first priorities in the new Congress, several federal agency management-related bills that had made some progress but that fell short of enactment in the prior Congress.

Open Data and Analytics

Looking Beyond the Federal Data Strategy

John Kamensky, Government Executive

A new report on the critical need for intergovernmental data sharing by Harvard’s Jane Wiseman says we need to extend it to become a national data strategy that embraces states and local governments as well.

Better data management requires more education, communication across enterprise, experts say

David Thornton, Federal News Network

There are certain communities across the federal government that excel at data management, like intelligence or acquisition. Outside of those communities, however, a widening consensus on the value of data has outpaced education on how to use it.

GSA data skills catalog promotes ‘learning culture’ of Federal Data Strategy

Jory Heckman, Federal News Network

As part of the strategy’s 2020 Action Plan, the General Services Administration has developed a Curated Data Skills Catalog and a Data Ethics Framework to help agencies develop competencies when acquiring, managing, and using data to support their agency’s mission.

NSF develops predictive model to flag improper payments in grants

Jory Heckman, Federal News Network

The NSF’s Payments and Analytics Branch has created an open-source predictive model to flag potential improper payments, and is looking to share its work with other grant-giving agencies.

Innovation & Open Government

HHS looking for innovative ways to care for the elderly

Tom Temin, Federal Drive

HHS is asking a wide range of health care providers, academics and startups for information and ideas to address equitable care for the eldery. With more on the effort, the Chief Medical Officer in the HHS Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health, Dr. Leith States, joined Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

Customer Service

Why technology alone can’t solve the government’s customer experience problem

Mike Kapetanovic, Federal News Network

Forward-thinking agencies have realized that the expectations Americans have as consumers also frame their interactions with the government, and the President’s Management Agenda has made improving those interactions a top priority. So why are federal agencies still struggling to catch up to airlines, insurance companies, and other private sector organizations when it comes to CX delivery?

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Accountability and Performance Update – December 5-11, 2020

Open Data and Analytics

Federal Data Strategy Year 2 action plan will continue ‘foundational’ actions

Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

The Federal Data Strategy 2021 Action Plan isn’t yet complete, but it will include a sustained focus on foundational actions around data governance, infrastructure and the workforce.

Three lessons Biden administration should take from DoD’s data strategy

Hodan Omaar, Federal News Network

As President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team prepares to take office, it will be important to ensure all agencies have a strategy in place on how to effectively leverage data as a strategic asset.

Innovation & Open Government

Mapping out a transparent approach for the Biden administration

Tom Temin, Federal News Network

Every new administration promises transparency and accountability. What might be the Biden administration’s approach? The Project on Government Oversight policy analyst Tim Stretton has a few clues which he shared on Federal Drive with Tom Temin.

5 Rules to Keep Breaking Barriers in Government

Julie McPherson, Nextgov

The pandemic disrupted how agencies conducted business but federal leaders can harness that momentum. 

Pandemic Response and Oversight

COVID-19 reshaped how federal employees work — but will it last?

Jory Heckman, Federal News Network

Nine months after standing up long-term telework, agency officials are looking at which lessons learned will stick around after the pandemic, when mandatory telework no longer applies to large swathes of the federal workforce.

Racism at the County Level Associated with Increased COVID-19 Cases and Deaths

Geroge B. Cunningham and Lisa T. Wigfall, Government Executive

Blacks are at greater risk of dying from COVID-19 than whites. A study that examined racism at the county level had surprising results.

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Accountability and Performance Update – November 14-December 4, 2020

Performance and Management

Disasters Are Inevitable; Government’s Inadequate Response Is Not

John Kamensky, Government Executive

New research analyzing the responses of hundreds of local leaders identified common obstacles and proven ways to overcome them.

Data Analytics and Governance

The Widespread Benefits of Federal Predictive Data Analytics

Gianna Shaw, FedTech

Health and welfare agencies at the state and local level gain information from national resources.

AI and Big Data Are Key to Continuing the Mission

Gary Newgaard, FedTech

Artificial intelligence tools can allow government agencies to analyze large amounts of data to benefit the citizenry.

AI vs. Machine Learning and What They Mean for Government

Sam Lakhia, FedTech

Federal agencies can use artificial intelligence and machine learning tools in a variety of arenas — but first, you should know the difference.

AI Promising in Health Care, but Challenges Remain

Frank Konkel, NextGov

The nascent technology is leading to positive health care outcomes, but issues may impede widespread adoption.

Innovation & Open Government

Innovation at DoD

John Gilroy, Federal News Network

When it comes to trending ideas in federal information technology, you cannot beat talking about the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) in Silicon Valley and Kessel Run in Boston. Both represent attempts to introduce commercially successful solutions into complex DoD software requirements.

Customer Service

Agencies see success in customer journey maps — now employees are getting their own

Nicole Ogrysko, Federal News Network

More agencies are relying on customer journey maps as a way to track and measure how their constituents are using their services.

Pandemic Response and Telework

Swift Shift to Telework Proves Public-Sector’s Agility

Jed Pressgrove, Government Technology

Many public leaders long believed that the people’s business could not be done from outside the walls of government buildings, but COVID-19 showed government can function from anywhere — quickly.

7 Ways to Make Remote Work Successful Beyond COVID-19

Daniel Castro, Government Technology

Work from home was at first a temporary pandemic solution, but as public and private organizations alike make remote work permanent, they’ll need to make adjustments to more than just where staff are located.

Extolling Productivity During Pandemic, Agencies Say They’ll Make Some Telework Permanent

Eric Katz, Government Executive

More remote work can lead to cost savings and a broader applicant pool, officials say.

Telework may be the recruitment and retention solution agencies — and Congress — are looking for

Nicole Ogrysko, Federal News Network

Though Labor and Transportation were enthusiastic to embrace telework and evolve their workforce and hiring policies for a virtual world well beyond the pandemic, not all agencies may be quite as eager.

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Accountability and Performance Weekly – November 7-13, 2020

Performance & Management

Bad Data: A Giant Challenge to Management, Budgeting and Policy

Katherine Barrett and Rich Greene, Government Finance Review (see page 76)

Governments face a number of challenges in developing strong management systems, including data that is flawed, inaccurate, and out-of-date.

To Improve Equity, Improve Government Capacity

Demetra Nightingale and Jed Herrmann, Government Executive

Agencies fail their moral and civic duty when they don’t collect and disclose vital information that could direct resources where needed.


HHS launches ‘Design-A-Thon’ to better capture COVID diagnostic data

Sara Wilson, FedScoop

The Department of Health and Human Services is leading a virtual technology sprint to help automatically capture data from non-laboratory COVID-19 tests and report it to public health officials — an essential process for a data-driven pandemic response.

5 Ways to Improve Emergency Preparedness for Next Time

Matt Shipman, Nextgov

A permanent team that is focused solely on national preparation and ensuring that the relevant federal agencies are all on the same page should coordinate all five of these components.

Open Data and Analytics

GAO says AI oversight framework will help in continuously monitoring agencies

Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

GAO’s forthcoming artificial intelligence oversight framework will help auditors work with inspectors general to continuously monitor executive agencies’ progress with the technology, says the agency’s first-ever chief data scientist.

A Data Center Refresh Boosts Capability for Virtualization

Adam Stone, FedTech

As aging federal data centers near their expiration dates, agencies are finding that they get far more than additional capability, storage and speed from an upgrade.

Pandemic Response and Oversight

Most States Aren’t Ready to Distribute the Leading COVID-19 Vaccine

Isaac Arnsdorf, Ryan Gabrielson, Caroline Chen; Government Executive

A review of state distribution plans reveals that officials don’t know how they’ll deal with the difficult storage and transport requirements of Pfizer’s vaccine, especially in the rural areas currently seeing a spike in infections.

Watchdog says Congress should strengthen PPP oversight before a new COVID relief bill

Tom Temin, Federal News Network

 Tim Stretton, from the Project on Government Oversight, argues before they take up a new pandemic relief bill, Congress really needs to put in some more robust mechanisms for transparency, and to prevent waste, fraud and abuse.

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Accountability and Performance Weekly – October 24-November 6, 2020

Performance & Management

Why Merit Matters

Donald F. Kettl, Government Executive

Governance isn’t a solo act and it won’t work well if we don’t trust the experts who are giving us advice.

Open Data and Analytics

One year in, where does the Federal Data Strategy go from here?

Jory Heckman, Federal News Network

Nearly a year after the governmentwide Chief Data Officers Council held its first meeting, members of the council are looking to move agencies beyond “quick wins” and one-off solutions to build stronger data literacy from the top-down.

Industry pushes agencies on automating data governance under Federal Data Strategy

Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

Industry wants the Federal Data Strategy’s 2021 Action Plan to require agencies to use technology that automates data governance.

CDOs want more data sharing in next Federal Data Strategy action plan

Dave Nyczepir, FedScoop

Chief data officers want to see more opportunities for data sharing and agency partnerships included in the Federal Data Strategy 2021 Action Plan expected in December.

CDC wants a cloud platform to centralize COVID-19 testing data

Billy Mitchell, FedScoop

As the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention leads the nation’s medical response to detect and track COVID-19 cases, it’s looking for a cloud platform that can better centralize data reported by testing facilities

Customer Service

Leveraging emerging technologies to transform the citizen experience

Marc Manger, Alan P. Balutis, FCW

To effectively deliver a 21st century experience, agencies must prioritize modernizing digital call centers with these emerging technologies.

Pandemic Response

How Agencies Can Better Combat Fraud in Federal Programs

Erik Ekwurzel, Government Executive

CARES Act implementation problems highlight the need for more effective oversight in safeguarding taxpayer dollars.

How Government Agencies Can Use Tech to Safely Get Back to Their Workplaces

Will Wise, Nextgov

Now is the time to prioritize collaboration between the IT, physical security and human resources teams.

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