OMB sets new deadline for telework IT plan

Friday - 4/29/2011, 11:18am EDT

By Jason Miller
Executive Editor
Federal News Radio

Agency chief information officers and chief acquisition officers have 90 days to come up a plan to purchase technology equipment and services to promote telework.

Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew issued a memo yesterday detailing six specific steps CIOs and CAOs should take in putting new or updated telework policies in place. OMB is requiring these changes as part of the government's implementation of the Telework Enhancement Act of 2010. President Obama signed the bill into law last December.

The memo also follows a booklet of helpful hints that the Office of Personnel Management released last week to help agencies meet the June 7 deadline to finalize their telework policies.

Lew's memo stated agencies have a "broad discretion" in formulating these policies, but at a minimum should include:

  • Selecting and acquiring IT that best fits the needs of the government, and is technology and vendor neutral in acquisitions;

  • Determining which IT products and services meet the agencies' needs, while considering the needs around remote access servers, client devices and internal resources accessible through remote access;

  • Prioritizing use of governmentwide and agencywide contracts for new acquisitions and renewal of services;

  • Deploying new and modernizing existing IT systems and infrastructure to support teleworking requirements;

  • Complying with federal security and privacy requirements;

  • Proper disposal of devices no longer in use to ensure protection of sensitive information.

OMB also will issue a second memo by June 7 detailing telework cybersecurity guidelines, Lew wrote.

The law is intended to make it easier for employees to telework. Under the law agencies must take several steps including designating a telework managing officer to oversee telecommuting, provide more training about teleworking and incorporate telework into agency continuity of operations plans.

OPM's latest report on governmentwide telework from February found more employees are working outside the office on a regular basis. OPM's survey found 11,000 more employees teleworked in 2009 than in 2008, and about 22 percent of all feds teleworked at least some of the time.

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