As the central agency receiving ever-growing amounts of information from other agencies, OMB “has the potential to revolutionize” how agencies and policy-makers handle their responsibilities by better sharing of that information but is not reaching that potential, a report has said.
The report from the National Academy of Public Administration recommended that OMB build on efforts such as the Federal Data Strategy to “more effectively leverage the information that agencies provide.”
That information could be put to better use, it said, for purposes such as modernizing the delivery of benefits; improving data quality, access and use; partnering with states and localities; and evaluating spending and regulatory activities.
Part of the problem, it said, is that “OMB’s current organization is fragmented and less effective than it could be when it comes to information policy and use. This has a detrimental effect not just on fulfilling OMB’s mission, but also on achieving effective and efficient implementation of important government-wide policies and programs.”
“Now is the time to rationalize, order, and collaborate in a way that eliminates fiefdoms, promotes partnerships, and enables advances in data science and technology to take root in ways that can help our country’s leaders succeed in meeting the needs and expectations of the American people,” it said.
Recommendations included that information policy be treated as a top priority by senior OMB officials, that the agency should establish a new position of assistant director for information policy, and that additional emphasis be put on existing initiatives such as the Federal Data Strategy and the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.