|November 6, 2008|
6. Maintaining a Departmental Strategic Management Focus
The Department has adopted the strategic management and results oriented focus of the Government Performance and Results Act as a dynamic, core approach to ensuring that our constituents will receive program services of the highest quality at the most efficient cost. Full implementation of GPRA continues to present challenges to the Department with its diverse missions, agencies, partners and constituents. The formulation of the Department's three strategic goals a prepared workforce, a secure workforce and quality workplaces which cut across traditional program lines has provided a focal point for our strategic, results oriented management efforts. Current Departmental priorities to strengthen our strategic management approach include improving the outcome focus of our performance goals to ensure program accomplishments will achieve our strategic goals, enhancing the quality of data used to measure performance, and routinely evaluating our results.
To meet the additional challenges to full GPRA implementation, management processes have been put into place to foster inter-agency coordination, on-going monitoring of progress and active executive oversight. Coordination of the Department's strategic management efforts has been strengthened by the establishment of a dedicated GPRA staff and an inter-agency working group which meet together throughout the year to facilitate GPRA implementation. The Department has initiated systems to ensure routine assessment of progress against our performance goals, and the Deputy Secretary and agency executives meet several times each year to review performance results. The OIG also works closely with the Department to provide the Secretary with information and advice on how to attain the highest possible program accomplishments and accountability.
As part of its overarching management focus, the Department has also established long term management initiatives and performance goals to address cross-cutting Departmental functions such as financial, information technology, and human resources management which contribute to the achievement of the Department's strategic and performance goals. These management goals, the strategies to achieve them, and the external factors that may affect accomplishment of the goals are detailed in the sections that follow.
6.1.1 Financial Management
Maintaining the integrity and stewardship of the Department's financial resources is the principal strategic goal for the Department's financial management program. In obtaining an unqualified audit opinion on the Department's financial statements, DOL can measure its overall effectiveness. The Department has obtained an unqualified opinion on both its FY 1997 and FY 1998 Consolidated Financial Statements. However, recently enacted legislation and new accounting standards place significant new responsibilities on the Departments's financial management community. The FY 2001 financial management performance goals for the Department address the efforts needed to meet new financial systems and accounting standards.
Means and Strategies
Operating Agencies: All DOL agencies
Sustained Efforts in FY 2001:
Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2001:
6.1.2 Information Technology Management
The Department of Labor will improve mission performance, productivity, and administrative processes through better utilization of Information Technology (IT). The focus of this endeavor is to reduce risks, improve efficiencies, and contain costs through greater integration of Departmental IT systems, thereby providing DOL employees with quality, reliable automated tools and useful information so they can better perform their jobs.
In line with the Information Technology Management Reform Act, the Department implemented an IT Capital Investment Management process for selecting, controlling, and evaluating IT investments. This process includes an automated IT portfolio evaluation and tracking system, with review and decision making through a Technical Review Board composed of DOL agencies' IT professionals and the Management Review Council chaired by the Deputy Secretary.
In addition to the program-specific automated system initiatives of individual DOL agencies, DOL will expand capability for information delivery to the public via its Internet World Wide Web sites. Public access will become both easier and more beneficial as DOL carries out plans to expand information sources available, provide expert systems, and add search capabilities.
The Department's key performance goals and measures for information technology management in FY 2001 are detailed below.
Means and Strategies
Sustained Efforts in 2001:
Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in 2001:
6.1.3 Human Resources Management
The Department recognizes that to maximize successful operations, ongoing investments in human capital are necessary. This will be achieved through making DOL a model workplace that facilitates the recruitment and retention of a diverse, highly-skilled workforce capable of meeting strategic and performance goals, while creating a "family-friendly" environment that is accessible to all employees and enables them to better balance their work and family obligations. The acquisition of needed new skills and ongoing skills improvement among the DOL workforce will be facilitated through lifelong learning initiatives.
DOL has initiated lifelong learning programs that will help produce a workforce with job skills necessary to meet evolving program needs, re-engineered work processes, and rapidly changing technological advances. Emphasis will be placed on skills involving team work, coaching, mentoring, problem solving, and analysis. Employees in occupations that are no longer necessary as a result of technology or changing business practices will be afforded the opportunity to be retrained, and succession planning and other planned management approaches to an aging workforce will be pursued.
An aggressive outreach and recruitment targeting effort for under-represented groups will be pursued to attract a diverse and highly skilled workforce reflective of America. To address the growing challenge of attracting and retaining employees who have highly sought after technical skills, DOL will pursue the use of various Departmental/OPM direct hiring authorities and additional personnel and workplace flexibilities. DOL will use every opportunity to expand existing labor-partnership efforts to assure joint cooperation with employee organizations to progressively address workplace issues and provide the highest quality services to the American public. Alternative Dispute Resolution techniques will be the preferred method of resolving informal equal opportunity complaints and grievances.
In support of the Federal Worker 2000 Presidential Initiative on Safety, the Department will provide a safe and healthful workplace for its employees that enhances productivity and cost effectiveness. The physical fitness and mental health of employees is actively promoted by providing voluntary programs and services which are readily available.
Means and Strategies
Sustained efforts in FY 2001:
Significant, New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2001:
The Department of Labor is committed to working with the OIG and GAO to improve its management systems and procedures. Periodic reporting to the Department's Management Review Council on the status of corrective actions responsive to audit recommendations will be maintained throughout the year. The budget process will consider the resources needed in each year to take necessary corrective actions on audit recommendations. OIG, GAO, and DOL managers have identified a number of management improvement opportunities; the actions DOL plans to take in FY 2000 to address them are highlighted below.
6.2.1 GAO High Risk and Other Audits
None of the Department's programs are the subject of management weaknesses reported in the current GAO high risk audit series. However, this Performance Plan addresses the Year 2000 Information Technology compliance issue which is the subject of a government-wide GAO audit in its high risk series.
The Department expects to close out most open GAO audits before the end of FY 2000 including:
The GAO also issued an audit report addressing the Department's and other federal agencies' implementation of the Government Performance and Results Act. While the audit did not make specific recommendations for formal follow up, the Department took prompt action to strengthen GPRA implementation. This Performance Plan has been developed within a "one Department" framework unifying all agency programs within the three over-arching strategic goals discussed above. The most significant management challenges in FY 2000 and beyond will be in continuing our GPRA implementation efforts by -- developing the systems infrastructure and management processes needed to identify and measure program results and costs throughout the Department.
Improving program performance is a priority of the Department, and OIG audit reports and DOL management processes identify issues on a regular basis to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of DOL's services to America's workers and employers. Many issues arising from OIG audits and management processes are resolved within a limited time frame. However, some opportunities for program improvement require a more sustained effort over several years, and are included within the scope of our GPRA plans. Examples of several long-term program improvement initiatives which are referenced both in the Department's FY 2001 plan and in a listing of top management issues prepared by OIG on December 8, 1999, are discussed below. Other issues presented in OIG's recent paper should be incorporated in agency level annual performance plans.
Effectiveness of the Welfare-to-Work Initiative The OIG
conducted audits of numerous Welfare to Work grantees during the past year in
order to assess their status, identify vulnerabilities, and recommend timely
corrective actions. The audits concluded that Welfare to Work implementation is
proceeding slowly because of unforseen or unconsidered factors when the States
developed their service and outcome levels and spending estimates. Section 4 of
this plan discusses the Department's ambitious outcome goals for the
Welfare-to-Work program coupled with incentives to high performing States which
are expected to encourage our program partners to advance the implementation of
Both the linking of financial and performance data and the data limitations concerns noted by OIG are addressed in this annual performance plan, in Sections 5 and 6, and the Department is working closely with OIG in improving the implementation of GPRA. For example, as cited in OIG's top management issues paper, the Employment and Training Administration, in conjunction with OIG, developed a guide to review the quality of State management information system data. Section 5 references a recently initiated project which will extend into FY 2001 to develop a comprehensive data validity system for the core indicators under the Department's employment and training programs, and discusses the Department's efforts to continue the linking of cost information to performance. The Department has also developed a performance goal (FM 2) for FY 2001 to meet all new accounting standards issued by the Federal Accounting Systems Advisory Board, including the Managerial Cost Accounting Standard.
Protection of Worker Benefit Funds Under this topic, OIG
discussed an audit report regarding the potential for the Federal Employees'
Compensation Act (FECA) program to achieve significant reductions in medical
costs. In addition to implementing the specific recommendations provided by
OIG, the Department has also established a FY 2001 performance goal (2.2F) for
the FECA program to reduce the overall average medical service cost per case by
Many of DOL's component agencies' Strategic Plans include the integration of customer service concerns into their day-to-day operations. DOL customers' feedback is instructive in measuring how well services are provided, identifying how services might be better delivered, and determining whether DOL's program goals effectively address customers' needs. DOL component agencies, as part of their service delivery initiatives, will conduct customer surveys, using appropriate sampling techniques, to obtain this feedback at a reasonable cost.
Additionally, in accordance with the provisions of the Workforce Investment Act, DOL's Employment and Training Administration will be embedding customer satisfaction in its performance measurement strategy and linking awards and sanctions to performance. Customer satisfaction measures will be part of the core measures for evaluating local and State programs with participant and employer customer satisfaction serving as an important basis for the award of incentives and sanctions under the WIA. DOL is also working with several research firms on the development of customer satisfaction measurement instruments and the benchmarking of results against private sector companies, such as hotels, department stores and fast food restaurants.
Not only will DOL improve processes for "listening" to its customers, but it will work towards improving the communication process with its customers, focusing efforts on improving the understandability of workplace standards by developing "plain language" regulations. Technology will be applied across the Department to improve the dissemination of these regulations, issue technical assistance material, respond to individual customer's problems, and collect public comments. DOL agencies will work collaboratively to share these and other techniques that provide the feedback needed to fully measure program results.