Report: How Well Do Agencies Collaborate?
The IBM Center for the Business of Government has released a new report examining the extent to which federal agencies are successfully working together.
The report, Cross-Agency Collaboration: A Case Study of Cross-Agency Priority Goals, was authored by John Kamensky and seeks to measure whether agencies have made progress in implementing the Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goals outlined under the Government Performance and Results Act (GPRA) Modernization Act of 2010, with this year marking “the end of the first four-year period of cross-agency goals” since the law passed.
Overall, the report finds that “each of the 15 CAP Goals have yielded incremental, but tangible results.” Moreover, “the actions taken within each of the CAP Goals have resulted in increased performance and results in several areas that, in a number of cases, had previously demonstrated little to no progress.”
The 15 CAP Goals are divided into two categories – Mission-Support Goals and Mission-Focused Goals – and are as follows:
Mission-Support CAP Goals
- Delivering World-Class Customer Service
- Delivering Smarter IT
- Buying as One through Category Management
- Expanding Shared Services to Increase Quality and Savings
- Benchmarking to Improve Mission-Support Operations
- Opening Data to Spark Innovation
- Bridging the Barriers from Lab-to-Market
- People and Culture
Mission-Focused CAP Goals
- Strengthening Federal Cybersecurity
- Service Members and Veterans Mental Health
- Job Creating Investment
- Cutting Red Tape in the Infrastructure Permitting Process
- STEM Education
- Insider Threat & Security Clearance Reform
- Climate Change (Federal Actions)
The report notes that, in the absence of specific, quantitative metrics, progress can sometimes be difficult to gauge, with most metrics tending to be activity-oriented. But the full 100-page report highlights a number of examples of the CAP Goal effort successfully spurring progress on various initiatives.
“For example, improving customer service was an Obama administration priority set in 2011 via executive order, but it wasn’t until it was designated as a CAP Goal in 2014 that the effort finally ‘“took off,’ with co-leads by OMB and the acting commissioner of the Social Security Administration. They used the opportunity to designate a set of 30 ‘core’ federal services and created a Core Federal Services Council of senior leaders, along with a working-level group of staff,” says the report
Concluding, the report recommends further honing the process to enable a clearer understanding of CAP Goals’ specific impacts, but finds that “the first cycle of CAP goals demonstrates that this approach does result in tangible outcomes. These processes and approaches should now be used to implement significantly larger initiatives, if there is senior leadership interest that is willing to provide a sustained commitment to act.”
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