GAO, OPM disagree over progress of IT training standards

The Government Accountability Office recommended the Office of Personnel Management do more to facilitate the training of IT workers.

In a report released today, examiners said OPM should issue governmentwide IT training policies that promote the development of performance standards for training and encourage the use of 22 private sector leading practices GAO identified. OPM also should set specific milestones for evaluating agency implementation of the training policies and performance standards.

GAO said the E-Government Act of 2002 requires agencies to have IT training programs that apply rigorous standards, and OPM, along with the Office of Management and Budget, should issue policies to promote performance measures for training.

But the audit agency found OPM's slow going has hurt agency improvement.

'OPM has made limited progress in issuing policies or performing evaluations regarding IT training,' GAO said. 'Until policies are established that promote the development of performance standards for training, and progress is measured by these standards, agency and OPM oversight of federal IT training programs will continue to fall short of the expectations established in the act.'

OPM disagreed with GAO's findings.

'The draft report focuses only on one of the six statutory responsibilities'issuing policies to promote the development of performance standards for training and evaluating their implementation,' said OPM director Kay Coles James in a letter to GAO. 'That act also calls for OPM to analyze, on an ongoing basis, personnel needs, to identify training shortfalls, to oversee training administration and to assess training as these activities relate to IT and information resources management. Those responsibilities are being carried out by this agency.'

James also said GAO did not take into account that OPM should work with the CIO Council and OMB to address IT personnel needs.

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