Agencies encouraged to spend more time on SAVE award ideas

Monday - 7/29/2013, 3:34pm EDT

By Cogan Schneier
Special to Federal News Radio

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released a memo Friday that encouraged feds to spend more time vetting their ideas for the Securing Americans Value and Efficiency (SAVE) awards program.

The memo said the changes were in an effort to further "institutionalize" the program. OMB now is asking agencies to submit their ideas for saving money and reducing waste with their fiscal 2015 budget proposals in September, instead of by the previous deadline in August.

"Before an agency selects a 'top' idea, the agency CFO must confirm with internal agency programmatic, operations, communications, and other stakeholders, as well as agency leadership, that all parties are comfortable with moving forward with the idea should it ultimately be selected as a finalist for the SAVE Award or included in the president's budget," the memo stated. "This step of thoroughly vetting the small group of top ranked ideas is a critical piece of the SAVE A ward review process."

The memo also asked agencies to identify their top three to five ideas for the program this year, down from the five to 10 ideas agencies were asked to provide last year.

The memo said the changes were in an effort to further "institutionalize" the program.

Agencies may submit ideas separately from their 2015 budgets, as long as they are received no later than Sept. 20, the memo stated.

Additionally, agencies can now select ideas from the SAVE website as well as their own internal ideas savings programs. OMB encouraged agencies to consider ideas that can be implemented across several agencies.

The SAVE program, established in 2009, seeks ideas from federal employees on how the government can save money and be more efficient. A winner is then selected from four finalists via a voting process to present his or her idea to the president.

Last year's SAVE award winner was Frederick Winter of the Education Department, whose idea was to shift eligible employee's public transportation fares from regular to reduced senior transit fare, potentially lowering the cost of travel for federal employees by 50 percent.

Previous winners include NASA employee Matthew Ritsco's idea for a tool lending library and Bureau of Prisons employee Trudy Givens' idea to stop printing and mailing copies of the Federal Register.

Cogan Schneier is an intern for Federal News Radio.

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