Fee-for-service taking hold for e-gov: OMB

Agencies are expected to spend more than $300 million on services from many of the 25 E-Government initiatives in fiscal 2007.

This is up from $239 million in 2006 and also decreases the amount agencies have to raise through the pass-the-hat method to fund the Quicksilver projects.

The Office of Management and Budget today released a report detailing agency progress and regression in implementing and institutionalizing the tenets of e-government.

The administration released the annual report on the fourth anniversary of the signing of the E-Government Act of 2002, which advanced the use of technology following the Clinger Cohen Act.

Since 2004, OMB said, agency contributions have decreased from $244 million to $156 million, which is what is expected for 2007 if Congress passes the eight remaining agency spending bills. Meanwhile, the fee-for-service model is expected to increase to $300 million in 2007 from $91 million in 2005.

'As the agencies complete their milestones and become operational, the initiatives continue moving toward a fee-for-service model'thereby eliminating the need for direct agency funding for specific initiatives,' said Karen Evans, OMB's administrator for e-government and IT in the report.

While OMB found good news in the funding of e-government projects, it saw agencies regress in the percentage of business cases that were approved, and departments still missed the goal of having 90 percent of all IT systems considered secured and accredited.

Agencies certified and accredited 88 percent of all IT systems, up from 85 percent last year, but short of the goal for a second straight year.

As for business cases, OMB approved 81 percent of them, down from 84 percent last year. Evans said in the report that 84 business cases from five agencies did not pass. OMB's goal for 2007 is approval of 90 percent of all business cases.

The report also found that 12 of 26 agencies fully implemented earned-value management, which is used to measure whether IT projects are within 10 percent of cost, schedule and performance. Another 11 agencies are using EVM to measure projects within 30 percent of cost, schedule and performance. OMB's goal for 2007 is to see 75 percent of all agencies use EVM to come within 10 percent of those goals.

In addition to the E-Government report, OMB released the metrics for 18 of 25 initiatives. Evans said Friday that OMB would make these latest measurements public to focus on outcomes instead of outputs in three areas: customer satisfaction, adoption and participation, and usage.

'We did intense analyses of these metrics,' Evans said during a speech Friday. 'The project[s] and their metrics are associated with performance. Some already have these type[s] of metrics, such as USA Jobs. We are working hard to define the universe and the percentage-of-adoption rate.'

OMB and agency managing partners decided on wide-ranging metrics, depending on the project. For Grants.gov, for instance, OMB and the Health and Human Services Department found that 77 percent of all grant opportunities were posted on the portal. While the General Services Administration found that only 6 of 24 agencies have fully implemented E-Travel, and 8 of 24 have started migration to one of three standard systems.

'Over the next few months, we will be obtaining data to establish benchmarks for each initiative,' OMB said on its E-Gov.gov Web site. 'The benchmarks will be informed by similar efforts in both the public and private sectors, and will be used to formulate performance targets for the initiatives. Additionally, we will publish outcome-oriented measures to objectively gauge the delivery of results to citizens, federal employees and other key initiative stakeholders.'

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