Toward an equitable, effective, and accountable government

 

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The release of the Biden-Harris Management Agenda Vision in the fall of 2021 set an ambitious agenda with three overarching goals:

  1. Strengthening and empowering the federal workforce
  2. Delivering excellent, equitable & secure federal services & customer experience
  3. Managing the business of government to Build Back Better

The PMA provides a tremendous opportunity to accelerate and reimagine government transformation, especially as it relates to workforce, customer experience, acquisition initiatives, and financial management. Grant Thornton has partnered with the Partnership for Public Service to develop and host a series of virtual workshops to facilitate coordination for federal teams as they implement the President’s Management Agenda. 

 

The Biden-Harris PMA

The three new PMA priorities build on previous management agendas and address longstanding challenges. Recruitment and retention of talent remains a significant challenge. Improving the customer experience so Americans can seamlessly and equitably access promised benefits and services could measurably strengthen trust in government. And managing the business of government—a priority which seems to encompass acquisition, financial management, and grants management reform initiatives—is certainly worthy of sustained focus. Relying on communities of practice (e.g., interagency management councils), enhancing information technology management and cyber response, and strengthening the government’s evidence-based policymaking and data management capacity are among the “essential government capabilities and systems” the administration will use to drive its management agenda.

 
Strengthening & empowering the federal workforce

The PMA vision employs a number of critical workforce strategies: attracting and hiring the most qualified employees, reflecting the diversity of the country; improving the employee experience through empowerment, engagement, and development; leveraging lessons learned from the pandemic to reimagine the future of work; and building the necessary infrastructure to sustain the federal government as a model employer. Executing these strategies will require a broad competency set. While HR organizations will need to provide leadership in these endeavors, expertise, and partnership will be needed from their C-suite peers and mission-delivery executives to effectuate the change.

Over two years into the pandemic, employee and employer expectations have drastically changed. To sustain the federal government as a model employer and enable recruitment efforts, Departments and Agencies will need to design and implement their future of work models in ways that ensure continued mission delivery and employee health, safety, and wellbeing.  

 
Delivering excellent, equitable, and secure federal services and customer experience 

Improving the customer experience (CX) so Americans can seamlessly and equitably access promised benefits and services could measurably strengthen trust in government. The government’s commitment to customer experience is not new, but important new themes are introduced by the administration to redefine what great CX really means today.  These include a heightened focus on equity and accessibility for historically marginalized groups, a commitment to tailoring government services to key life moments of citizens, and advocacy of a “one government” philosophy that assures inter-agency integration.  No longer should government operate as a federation of independent agencies, but a single entity with “no wrong door” which proactively shares information to reduce burden, simplify citizen engagement and assure equitable access to government programs for all people. Achieving the administration’s worthy aspiration for equitable access and service delivery excellence will require a renewed and deliberate focus on the fundamental tenets of customer experience.

 

Managing the business of government to Build Back Better

Managing the business of government—a priority which seems to encompass acquisition, financial management, and grants management reform initiatives—is certainly worthy of sustained focus. Relying on communities of practice (e.g., interagency management councils), enhancing information technology management and cyber response, and strengthening the government’s evidence-based policymaking and data management capacity are among the “essential government capabilities and systems” the administration will use to drive its management agenda. 

With over $800 billion in financial assistance and grants provided annually, the Federal government has tremendous levers to advance American industry, meaningfully address climate risks, and drive equity. Agencies and programs will need the tools and capabilities to connect policy priorities with program outcomes, utilizing the significant resources available to lead by example

 

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