The Department is providing oversight and coordination of its agencies’ and programs’ efforts. For example, weekly meetings with senior agency representatives provide department-wide guidance on meeting the Act’s requirements for accountability and transparency. In addition, Departmental leadership conducted a budget justification and review process to determine the allocation of the $80 million that was provided to the Department for distribution to worker protection, oversight, and coordination activities, with the goal of ensuring that funds were allocated based on demonstrated need and consistency with Recovery Act goals.
Reviewing Performance Results
Each quarter, the Department’s Budget and Performance Management Review (BPMR) requires DOL programs to report the status of their budgetary expenditures, completion of their improvement actions, and progress meeting annual performance targets for senior leadership review. Recovery Act spending, milestones, and progress toward achieving Recovery Act goals and targets have now been added to the quarterly BPMR.
Holding Program Managers Accountable
The DOL Human Capital Strategic Plan for 2008-2011 commits the Department to ensuring that each employee is aware of his or her role in the accomplishment of the Department’s mission by aligning all employee performance plans with the objectives of the agency.
The Department's Senior Executive Service (SES) Performance Management System is certified by Office of Personnel Management and the Office of Management and Budget. As such, the system meets requirements for mission/goal alignment and performance results. Currently, SES performance expectations for DOL executives clearly link to the mission, program/policy objectives, annual performance plans, budget priorities or other strategic planning documents. Performance expectations include results that reflect expected outcomes or outputs, performance targets or metrics and must be observable, measurable and or demonstrable.
At the first practicable opportunity, the performance appraisal plans of all DOL employees with Recovery Act implementation responsibilities will include performance elements that tie to specific Recovery Act goals. Guidance from the Department is forthcoming.
Strategic Partner Accountability
The Department is developing reporting guidelines for fund recipients that will minimize any new collection burdens yet provide timely and accurate accounting of grantee performance and outcomes. We are working with our programs and fund recipients to update or modify grant agreements and reporting guidance so that all grant recipients clearly understand the transparency and accountability requirements associated with the receipt of Recovery Act funds.
In addition to the laws, regulations, and polices currently in place to ensure contractor accountability, new contract clauses have been added to the Federal Acquisition Regulations (FAR) that strengthen the existing requirements. These new contract clauses are mandatory and are inserted in all contracts that are funded with Recovery Act funds. The clauses include additional reporting requirements and expand the rights of Government Accountability Office and respective agency Inspector General in conducting investigations.
Accountability for risk mitigation will be maintained through the careful monitoring of agency risk management performance measures and mitigation strategy triggers. Using risk management plans as a baseline, senior DOL leadership will regularly review findings and results from performance reviews, with emphasis placed on programs with highest risk.
To address oversight risks, the Department will issue recommended revisions to performance appraisal plans for officials who monitor grants and contracts issued by the department. Under these recommended revisions, agency leadership will include elements that tie monitoring of contracts and grants to performance standards.