By Performance.gov Team
Recently, OMB released its annual update to OMB Circular A-11. If you find yourself asking what is OMB Circular A-11, you’re probably not alone and certainly in good company – this is definitely one of Performance.gov’s ‘wonkier’ news posts. Circulars are one of the primary ways OMB provides detailed instructions and information to Federal agencies. Importantly, Circulars standardize implementation guidance for Federal agencies across an array of policy areas and topics that are central to the Federal Government’s management and budget processes. While OMB Circular A-11 addresses Preparation, Submission, and Execution of the Budget more broadly, its Part 6 focuses specifically on improving the management and organizational performance of Federal agencies. It communicates the various management policies and procedures for improving program and service delivery while also providing detailed implementation instructions on how management concepts or requirements enacted in legislative statute should be put into practice and applied at the agency.
The 2019 update to OMB Circular A-11, Part 6 reflects its continued development – first begun with the enactment of the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 – as the central policy document and repository for OMB management guidance for Federal agencies. The development of Part 6 into the primary guidance document, which outlines the core management policies, priorities, implementation strategies, and timelines for the Federal Performance Framework, is in part a response to and recognition of the increasingly technical management challenges of effectively and efficiently managing organizations as large and complex as Federal agencies. For example, in 2016 Part 6 was updated to integrate enterprise risk management (ERM) policies as a component of the Performance Framework. The inclusion of ERM reinforced the importance of having appropriate risk management processes and systems in place to identify challenges and risks to achieving an agency’s strategic goals objectives early, so they can be brought to the attention of agency leadership and program teams to develop solutions. In 2018, Part 6 was updated and further expanded to establish strategies to improve program and project management skillsets and expertise government-wide, in addition to procedures to better manage customer experience and improve service delivery.
Part 6’s revised title – The Federal Performance Framework for Improving Program and Service Delivery – and reorganization of specific Sections underscores its continued progression in providing a more coordinated approach and framework for policy and guidance in management areas critical to improving the organizational performance of Federal agencies. The updates to Part 6 this year strengthen the management processes that decision-makers have at their disposal while increasing the alignment of Circular A-11, Part 6 to the President’s Management Agenda (PMA) and its vision of improving the government through transparency and effective stewardship of taxpayer funds.
When taken together, these updates reinforce the transformation of the Federal Performance Framework’s focus as a management system which coordinates and aligns a broader complement of organizational management-related skill sets and competencies agency leadership must prioritize to enable improved program outcomes and performance of the Federal Government.
We’ve summarized what’s new below:
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