Shared service providers preparing for more, bigger agencies

Wednesday - 7/2/2014, 1:14pm EDT

By Stephanie Wasko
Special to Federal News Radio

Existing financial shared service providers will implement improvement plans starting this month to expand their capabilities and take on more customers.

The federal shared service providers (FSSP) improvement plan will expand the capability and capacity of providers to accommodate more and larger agencies, according to updated goals on Performance.gov.

This is just one step toward the Obama administration's cross-agency goal of expanding agency use of shared services and establishing clear guidance and evaluation for providers.

The Office of Management and Budget and the Department of the Treasury also plan to establish governmentwide principles for shared services governance by the end of August. There were no details on what the guidelines would include, but the report stated individual FSSPs and customers would implement their own principles to tailor to the broader regulations.

The guidelines would aid OMB and Treasury as they plan to expand their focus to the Human Resources Shared Services initiative and start the second rollout of those shared services in December.

OMB named six agencies and four private sector firms starting in 2004 to provide HR shared services, but the uptake has been slow. In fact, the General Services Administration announced last year it was getting out of the HR shared services business.

OMB and Treasury already have succeeded in meeting past goals around financial management. The Performance.gov update stated they have reviewed financial management SSPs, established a governance group of CFOs and providers and sought input from industry on ways to avoid duplication within agency administration.

Now the Obama administration is monitoring agency transitions to shared services providers. Agency executive councils will finalize performance metrics and customer satisfaction surveys by November.

With these metrics, the administration will look at the number of migrations to shared services providers, the percentage of transitioned departments, customer satisfaction and the number of new services offered by providers. OMB and Treasury have not set target numbers for these metrics, but the report stated the two agencies will collect measures and surveys annually.

Goal leaders will monitor these metrics for at least three years with the goal of seeing an increased use of shared services and better customer satisfaction.

OMB and Treasury also outlined other goals in the report including the financial management agency advisory group would review their expansion in shared services to provide recommendations for further growth. The administration also plans to formally recognize OMB and Treasury as overseers for the shared services marketplace.

"Greater use of shared services by the federal government for administrative functions will reduce the risk and complexity of their implementations by adopting standard services with proven success at delivering results; reduce duplicative investments; and in the long-run will make it easier to implement government-wide initiatives like improved transparency and better reporting and analysis," the report said.

The Obama administration has set new cross-agency priority goals for managing government as part of its 2015 budget. Federal News Radio examines the eight areas identified by the White House in our special section 2014 Cross Agency Priority Goals.

Stephanie Wasko is an intern with Federal News Radio.

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