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New Report: Oversight Overhaul Needed to Improve How Government Works

Washington, D.C. – Reforms to executive branch oversight practices would enable federal agencies to improve their performance, according to a new report released today by the Bipartisan Policy Center.

BPC’s Task Force on Executive Branch Oversight, comprised of former high-ranking officials from the Office of Personnel Management, Office of Management and Budget, and the Government Accountability Office, among others, provides a detailed analysis of the current state of oversight practices and finds significant room for improvement.

The task force’s recommendations center on four broad principles: 1) that oversight across government should increase the focus on mission performance; 2) that agency leaders should take responsibility for bolstering trust in oversight; 3) that oversight needs to be smarter and more strategic; and 4) that oversight bodies need to redefine how they work together.

“Effective oversight is multidimensional and entails more than just a compliance component,” said Dan G. Blair, a BPC senior counselor and former OPM deputy director. “It requires a framework that evaluates risk and assesses agency and program performance.”

Over the course of the last ten months, BPC hosted five task force meetings and engaged in dialogue with experts and practitioners from key executive branch management agencies, the communities of inspectors general and general counsels, and private sector experts, to develop these recommendations.

Better executive branch oversight is critical to ensure government meets the needs of the American people on its key missions, ensures the effectiveness of its programs to spend taxpayer money wisely, and appropriately manages risk.

“Government oversight right now is great at catching wrongdoing or mismanagement after the fact,” said Michael Thorning, associate director of BPC’s Congress Project. “But for government to deliver the results that the American people expect, the executive branch will have to improve the oversight it conducts of itself and focus on mission performance.”