The OPM has said it largely agrees with recommendations by the National Academy of Public Administration, which among other things said that across government the agency is generally viewed as “compliance-oriented rather than customer-focused and its credibility and reputation as badly in need of repair.”
The report had been ordered by Congress in response to the Trump administration’s bid to shift OPM’s operating branches to GSA and its policy-making function to OMB, an initiative that drew far more opposition than support on Capitol Hill and elsewhere. The move was blocked pending issuance of the report, which occurred in March.
In addition to recommending against breaking up OPM, the report called for steps such as reaffirming its role “as an independent entity and leader for federal civilian human capital management”; a greater focus on innovation and lessons learned rather than on compliance; and making greater use of available data for personnel management and modernizing employee records and the IT behind the federal retirement program.
In its response sent to Congress, OPM said it “accepts the spirit and much of the substance of the NAPA study and its recommendations” including its emphasis on the “importance of a strong, independent, and forward-leaning OPM.” It cited steps already taken such as re-emphasizing the role of the chief human capital officers council, “resetting labor relations,” and “advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility.”
OPM is incorporating many of the other recommendations into its strategic plan, it added, although some of the recommendations are directed toward Congress because they would require a change in law.