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Secretary of Labor Thomas E. Perez
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FY 2002 Annual Performance Plan

6. Maintaining a Departmental Strategic Management Focus

The Department has adopted the strategic management and results-oriented focus of the Government Performance and Results Act as a dynamic, core approach to ensuring that our constituents will receive program services of the highest quality at the most efficient cost. Full implementation of GPRA continues to present challenges to the Department with its diverse missions, agencies, partners and constituents. The formulation of the Department’s three strategic goals—a prepared workforce, a secure workforce, and quality workplaces—which cut across traditional program lines has provided a focal point for our strategic, results oriented management efforts. Current Departmental priorities to strengthen our strategic management approach include improving the outcome focus of our performance goals to ensure program accomplishments will achieve our strategic goals, assessing the relationship between our strategies and goals, enhancing the quality of data used to measure performance, and routinely evaluating our results.

To meet the additional challenges to full GPRA implementation, management processes have been put into place to foster inter-agency coordination, on-going monitoring of progress and active executive oversight. Coordination of the Department’s strategic management efforts has been strengthened by the establishment of a dedicated GPRA staff and an inter-agency working group which meet together throughout the year to facilitate GPRA implementation. The Department has initiated systems to ensure routine assessment of progress against our performance goals. The OIG also works closely with the Department to provide the Secretary with information and advice on how to attain the highest possible program accomplishments and accountability.

6.1 Management Initiatives in the FY 2002 Annual Performance Plan

As part of its overarching management focus, the Department has also established long term management initiatives and performance goals to address cross-cutting Departmental functions such as financial, information technology, and human resources management which contribute to the achievement of the Department’s strategic and performance goals. These management goals, the strategies to achieve them, and the external factors that may affect accomplishment of the goals are detailed in the sections that follow.

6.1.1 Financial Management

Maintaining the integrity and stewardship of the Department’s financial resources is the principal strategic goal for the Department’s financial management program. In obtaining an unqualified audit opinion on the Department’s financial statements, DOL can measure its overall effectiveness. The Department has obtained an unqualified opinion on its Consolidated Financial Statements for the past four years; however, recently enacted legislation and new accounting standards have placed significant new responsibilities on the Departments’s financial management community. The FY 2002 financial management performance goals for the Department address the efforts needed to meet new financial systems and accounting standards.

Outcome Goal Financial Management: Maintain the Integrity and Stewardship of the Department's Financial Resources

FY 2002 Performance Goals

FM1.

All DOL financial systems meet the standards set in the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) and the Government Management Reform Act (GMRA).

FM2.

DOL meets all new accounting standards issued by the Federal Accounting Systems Advisory Board (FASAB) including the Managerial Cost Accounting Standard.

Means and Strategies

Sustained Efforts in FY 2002:

  • The Department will have corrected all systems that were out of compliance with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act (FFMIA) and will closely monitor the acquisition of new systems and all modifications to existing systems to maintain compliance with FFMIA. (FM1)

  • The Department has had a Cost Accounting system in place that meets the Federal Accounting Standards Advisory Board’s Managerial Cost Accounting standard. The Department is phasing in program agency use of the system. For FY 2002, the Office of the Chief Financial Officer (OCFO) will expand the cost accounting pilot projects to six additional DOL agencies. (FM2)

  • The government-wide Human Resources Committee of the CFO Council has established core competency guidelines. GAO audits have identified financial management training programs as inadequate to bringing financial managers up to the task of operating modern financial management systems. The Department will participate in the achievement of several professional development goals established by the CFO Council, which include conducting needs assessments, establishing individual development plans, promoting attainment of professional certifications and attaining a significant increase in the hours of continuing professional education per financial management employee in the Department. The Department will continue to upgrade the number and variety of courses made available to financial management personnel, including introduction of distributed learning techniques. (FM1–2)

  • Implement a financial data store to leverage the existing investment in DOLAR$ (the Department’s core accounting system) and provide more useful data and analysis to financial and program managers throughout the Department. (FM1–2)

  • In conjunction with OASAM, complete the payroll system modernization project, implementing the PeopleSoft payroll system for the entire department. (FM1)

  • Upgrade OCFO financial systems in two significant areas: Improving system security and enabling web interfaces to key systems. (FM1)

  • To leverage collective recruitment efforts, meet the demands of the new government-wide financial legislation, and address the rapid changes in the DOL financial workforce, the Department’s Chief Financial Officer Advisory Council developed the Financial Management Careers Program (FMCP) to develop highly qualified individuals who will undertake future leadership roles in financial management. We will continue to hire and train individuals under this program. (FM1–2)

  • Cost accounting applications will extend beyond the outcome goal level to developing cost information for additional DOL program agencies. (FM2)

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2002:

  • OCFO will continue a DOL-wide program to target financial management training in critical skill areas, including the application of cost accounting standards and financial management systems development training. The Financial Management Careers Program will include a number of new learning options, including a variety of college courses via the Internet. (FM1–2)

  • OCFO will expand on the effort begun in FY 2001 to review Departmental performance plans, data sources that support those plans, and other documents that assess performance plan quality (e.g., GAO, OMB, OIG reports) in order to assist program agencies to meet their financial performance goals. (FM1–2).

  • OCFO will be in the pre-acquisition stage of replacing DOL’s Central Accounting System (DOLAR$). The replacement system will be designed to ensure ongoing compliance with regulations, conformance with technical standards, and the ability to provide accurate and timely financial management information to meet both internal and external demands. (FM1–2)

  • Provide expertise and support for cost accounting throughout the Department. (FM2)

6.1.2 Information Technology Management

The Department of Labor will improve mission performance, productivity, and administrative processes through better utilization of Information Technology (IT). The focus of this endeavor is to reduce risks, improve efficiencies, and contain costs through greater integrationof Departmental IT systems, thereby providing DOL employees with quality, reliable automated tools and improved access to useful information so they can better perform their jobs.

In line with the Information Technology Management Reform Act, the Department implemented an IT Capital Investment Management process for selecting, controlling, and evaluating IT investments. This process includes an automated IT portfolio evaluation and tracking system, with review and decision making through a Technical Review Board composed of DOL agencies’ IT professionals.

In addition to the program-specific automated system initiatives of individual DOL agencies, DOL will expand capability for information delivery to the public via its Internet World Wide Web sites. Public access will become both easier and more beneficial as DOL carries out plans to expand information sources available, provide expert systems, and add search capabilities.

The Department’s key performance goals and measures for information technology management in FY 2002 are detailed below.

Outcome Goal IT: Improve Organizational Performance and Communication through Effective Deployment of IT Resources

FY 2002 Performance Goals

IT1. Improve automated access to administrative and program systems, services and information.

Means and Strategies

Sustained Efforts in 2002:

  • Continue the evolution of the enterprise architecture by modernizing the infrastructure that supports information access and exchange.

  • Continue to strengthen physical and logical access controls that protect systems and the information they process.

  • Support the operational integrity of installed information technology.

  • Provide customer support to facilitate implementation and use of new technology.

  • Continue to expand use and accessibility of information technology for access to and dissemination of information to enhance transmittal of DOL-wide distributed information and enhance employees’ ability to perform administrative tasks.

  • Continue to improve electronic correspondence with DOL’s customers.

  • Continue to improve the usability of the DOL homepage design and improve browse and search capabilities across DOL Public Websites.

Significant New or Enhanced Efforts in 2002:

  • Redesign and implement new electronic government solutions that harnesses technology through personal and organizational leadership to change the way the Department works.

  • Serve the public through electronic government solutions that apply appropriate standards for privacy, security, and authentication.

  • Complete strategic information technology investments that produce cost-effective long-term efficiencies and savings.

  • Improve connectivity of people with the Department via the Internet according to their needs.

6.1.3 Information Security Program

The Department has initiated an enhanced information security program that meets the intent of the Fiscal Year 2001 Defense Authorization Act amendment to the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995, which adds a sub-chapter on “Information Security.” This program is being integrated into the business practices and ongoing programs of the Department. All agencies have developed security program plans that establish milestones and detail the tasks necessary to strengthen cyber security within the program areas. Departmental guidance has been issued via the Systems Development Life-Cycle Manual that requires security activities be performed during each phase of the life-cycle. The IT capital management program has been expanded to require performance of risk mitigation activities before investments are completed. A security awareness program that requires security awareness training for all employees has been implemented. An aggressive vulnerability assessments program has been established and security monitoring functions continue to be strengthened.

6.1.4 Human Resources Management

The Department recognizes that to maximize successful operations, ongoing investments in human capital are necessary. This will be achieved through making DOL a model workplace that facilitates the recruitment and retention of a diverse, highly-skilled workforce capable of meeting strategic and performance goals, while creating a "family-friendly" environment that is accessible to all employees and enables them to better balance their work and family obligations. The acquisition of needed new skills and ongoing skills improvement among the DOL workforce will be facilitated through lifelong learning initiatives.

Outcome Goal HR: Establish DOL as a Model Workplace

FY 2002 Performance Goals

HR1.

The right people are in the right place at the right time to carry out the mission of the Department.

HR2.

Reduce the rate of lost production days by two percent (i.e., number of days employees spend away from work due to injuries and illnesses).

HR3.

Reduce the overall occurrence of injuries and illnesses for DOL employees by 5 percent, and improve the timeliness of filing injury/illness claims by 5 percent.

Means and Strategies

Sustained Efforts in FY 2002:

  • The Human Resources Center is leading an effort to re-establish a common foundation for Workforce Planning in the Department of Labor. It is critical that DOL Agencies undertake a systematic process, as part of the budget and GPRA planning process, for identifying the human capital required to meet organizational goals and needs so DOL can assure that there are the right people in the right place and at the right time. By integrating meaningful data on human capital into the Department’s Annual Performance Plans and Budgets, the Department will create a basis for identifying future workforce needs, including the size of the workforce, its deployment across the organization, and the competencies needed to efficiently and effectively carry out the mission of the Department. Workforce planning must be undertaken to address current and projected staff shortages, assure the development and skills sets of its employees, and help anticipate changes to staff and competency requirements. Employees in occupations that are no longer necessary as a result of technology or changing business practices will be afforded the opportunity to be retrained, and succession planning and other planned management approaches to an aging workforce will be pursued. (HR1)

  • DOL will monitor on-the-job incidents, injuries, and illnesses and will analyze incident and injury statistics to identify problems and corrective actions necessary to reduce incident and injury rates and mitigate the long-term effects of injuries. (HR2–3)

  • DOL will continue to support the effective use of technology by encouraging its agencies to utilize the enhanced Safety and Health Information Management System to directly analyze injuries and illnesses, target resources toward duties and areas with elevated injury rates, and increase expeditious processing of injury/illness claims. (HR2–3)

  • The Department will provide technical assistance to DOL agencies in managing Workers’ Compensation programs, including helping agencies in their efforts to identify candidates eligible to return to duty through workplace accommodation, flexiplace, or assistive technologies. The Department will identify best practices used to reduce the rate of incidents and injuries and to manage lost-time cases. (HR2–3)

Significant, New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2002:

  • DOL will pursue process enhancements and technological innovations in areas such as recruitment, employee self service, strategic planning information linkages, and use of job competencies in order to provide better service to customers. (HR1)

  • In support of the workforce planning effort, DOL will conduct an aggressive outreach and recruitment effort to attract a highly skilled and diverse workforce including persons with disabilities. To address the growing challenge of attracting and retaining employees, DOL will pursue the use of various Departmental/OPM hiring authorities, lifelong learning opportunities, and workplace flexibilities. (HR1)

  • DOL will explore new methods of minimizing workplace injuries by identifying practices employed by agencies and worksites with lower than average injury rates and determining whether these practices can be used effectively elsewhere. (HR2–3)

  • The Department will launch a study of the feasibility and potential benefits of a DOL return-to-work initiative designed to offer injured employees the opportunity to return to work and to reduce the associated Workers’ Compensation costs. (HR2–3)

6.1.5 Procurement Management

In line with government-wide reforms in the area of procurement, the Department of Labor will improve procurement management to make government more results-oriented, and, where practicable, market-driven. For FY 2002, immediate improvements will include expanding A-76 competitions and improving the accuracy of Federal Activities Inventory Reform (FAIR) Act listings. Details on additional procurement initiatives are presented in section 6.2.3 of this plan, and goals will be added in the Revised Final FY 2002 Annual Performance Plan.

The Department’s performance goal for procurement management in FY 2002 is detailed below.

Outcome Goal PR: Improve Procurement Management

FY 2002 Performance Goals

PR1:

Complete public-private or direct conversion competitions on not less than five percent of the FTE listed on DOL's Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act listings.

PR2:

Award contracts over $25,000 using Performance-Based Contracting Services (PBSC) techniques for not less than 20 percent of total eligible service contracting dollars.

Means and Strategies

Significant, New or Enhanced Efforts in FY 2002:

  • To achieve more accurate FAIR Act inventories in FY 2002, DOL will conduct a comprehensive review of all departmental functions, as well as a thorough re-examination of “inherently governmental” and “commercial” designations. A methodology, different from that used in past inventories, will be developed. It is planned that a database will be developed allowing for the production of various types of reports that assist in the entire A-76 process. (PR-1)

  • DOL will provide focused training on FTE classification for staff responsible for inventory development in the various DOL agencies. Effective training will make certain that key DOL staff with A-76 responsibilities are familiar not only with the process itself, but also with the human resources and labor management implications. (PR-1)

  • DOL established a department-wide A-76/FAIR Act Work Group, whose primary purpose is to advise DOL managers and leaders on strategies and activities to ensure competitive sourcing goals are met. The Work Group is chaired by representatives from DOL=s Office of the Procurement Executive, comprised of managers from the large DOL agencies, and tasked with the following responsibilities. (PR-1)

    • Monitoring the identification of FTE at DOL that will be subject to competition.
    • Identifying training needs for DOL personnel.
    • Ensuring that competitive sourcing is conducted in accordance with labor management relations obligations and applicable personnel regulations.
    • Ensuring consistency of DOL’s competitive sourcing activities with DOL’s workforce planning and restructuring activities.
    • Participating in the Procurement Executives Council Civilian A-76 Interagency Work Group, facilitating the sharing of information and best practices in the A-76 process with other federal agencies.
    • Coordinating the development of DOL’s FAIR Act Inventory in FY 2002, 2003, and future years, ensuring that they accurately reflect the distribution of inherently governmental and commercial-activity FTE across DOL.
    • Developing DOL guidance and policy on the A-76 and FAIR Act processes.
  • DOL will develop a communications plan to keep interested parties informed of the progress of DOL’s competitive sourcing efforts. This audience includes affected agency employees, employee union representatives, functional team members, and headquarters and local support staffs. (PR-1)

  • DOL is evaluating options for the best method of coordinating and tracking competitive sourcing activities and FAIR Act inventory development. This may involve a combination of centralized and decentralized management, along with a computerized tracking system for competitive sourcing DOL-wide. (PR-1)

  • DOL has developed a timeline for achievement of specific milestones in its competitive sourcing plan. This plan sets out policy decisions and major tasks needed to launch a program that will meet the Secretary’s and the Administration’s goals. (PR-1)


Milestones


Date

Develop OMB-approved Competitive Sourcing Plan

December 2001

Complete FY 2001 FAIR Act Inventory

December 2001

Publish 2001 inventory

December 2001

Review DOL Competitive Sourcing Plan

Ongoing

Respond to challenges/appeals of FY 2001 inventory

Within FAIR Act time frames

Issue Guidance to DOL Agencies on FY 2002 inventory

March/April 2002

Training staff on development of FY02 Inventory

March/April 2002

Publish DOL competitive sourcing policy/guidance

May 2002

Develop plan and schedule for FY 2003 studies

Obtain contractor support for larger studies
Begin first reviews of larger functions
Identify functions subject to more formal competitions
Determine schedule for competitions

May 2002

Develop Communications Plan

June 2002

Submit FY 2002 FAIR Act inventory to OMB

June 2002

Create tracking and reporting database

July 2002

Conduct competitive sourcing studies

Through September 2003

  • The Department will work to establish a baseline for FY 2002 with the support of a contractor skilled in performance-based contracting. The baseline will include identification of the universe of available service contracts and the percentage which are currently performance based. Utilizing the established baseline, the Department will identify possible candidates among current service contracts which could be converted to performance-based contracts. (PR-2)
  • The Department will identify appropriate training in writing performance-based statements of work and ensure that at least 50 percent of the Contracting Officer's Technical Representative (COTR) community receives this training. (PR-2)

6.2 Program Improvement Opportunities and Management Reforms

The Department of Labor is committed to working with the Office of Inspector General (OIG), the General Accounting Office (GAO) and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to improve its management systems and procedures. Periodic reviews of the status of corrective actions in response to audit recommendations are conducted throughout the year. The budget process will consider the resources needed in each year to take necessary corrective actions on audit recommendations and to institute other critical management reforms. OIG and GAO have identified several management improvement opportunities, and DOL’s plans to address these issues during the remainder of FY 2001 and in FY 2002 are highlighted below. This chapter also summarizes the Department’s plans with respect to the President’s Government-wide and DOL specific management reforms included in the President’s budget and recent OMB guidance.

GAO issued a letter report on June 30, 2000, addressing the Department’s FY 1999 Performance Report and Fiscal Year 2001 Performance Plan. While the report did not make specific recommendations, GAO provided a number of observations about the need for additional information in the performance plan and report, in the areas of data validation and verification, crosscutting programs, and the linkage of goals and strategies. The Department increased attention to the items cited by GAO in the development of this plan, and incorporated the auditor’s guidance in the preparation of DOL’s FY 2000 annual performance report.

6.2.1 GAO High Risk and Other Audits

None of the Department’s programs are the subject of management weaknesses reported in the most recent GAO high risk audit series.

GAO published Major Management Challenges and Program Risks, Department of Labor, in January 2001 as part of their Program and Accountability Series. The report covered three general areas: retraining workers to better meet rapidly changing workplace needs; protection of workers’ benefits; and ensuring safe and healthful working conditions. GAO’s challenges in all three areas focused on the need to improve performance measurement and, in particular, the availability and quality of data relative to some of the specific program issues reviewed by GAO. As described in detail in Chapter 5, improving performance data is a priority of the Department. For example, the Employment and Training Administration and the Veterans’ Employment and Training Service are developing a new data collection and reporting system, in cooperation with their program partners, to provide accurate and complete information on assisting clients to secure long-term employment with opportunities for advancement.

6.2.2 Program Improvement Opportunities Identified by the OIG and DOL Management

Improving program performance is a priority of the Department, and the Inspector General’s Statement on the Most Serious Management and Performance Challenges Facing the Department presents issues of major potential impact on the effectiveness and efficiency of DOL’s programs and operations. Several of the Statement’s challenges reference specific concerns reported in detail in recent OIG audits. The majority of these findings, if not already resolved, should be corrected before the end of FY 2001 and are not, therefore, included among the Department’s goals for FY 2002. Other challenges require legislative action at the Federal or State level, as explained in Management’s Response to the Challenges, which is included in the Department’s FY 2000 Annual Report. Finally, some challenges are broad issues of sound management, such as the need to exercise stewardship over significant information technology and benefit program resources. The FY 2000 Annual Report provides detailed information about the actions taken over a number of years to effectively manage these challenges. The Department will work with the Inspector General to develop an approach for reaching agreement that the Department’s actions sufficiently meet each of the challenges, or what specific actions the Inspector General considers essential to resolving the challenges in future years.

The following examples summarize the performance related challenges identified by OIG and the actions completed by the Department or in progress to address these issues. The complete text of the Inspector General’s Statement and management’s response is included in the Department’s FY 2000 Annual Report.

  • Protection of Worker Benefit Funds. OIG’s management challenges included concerns about vulnerability to fraud in the Unemployment Insurance (UI) and the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) programs. The Department recognizes that all major benefit programs are vulnerable to some degree of fraud, and has initiated a number of actions to protect both programs. For example, the Department has conducted training for the States to highlight UI fraud detection techniques and encourage the sharing of enforcement approaches. Consistent with this effort, Texas has developed an exportable fictitious employer detection system which has been shared with other States at the 2000 UI Directors’ Conference. DOL’s Employment and Training Administration and OIG are in the process of negotiating an agreement with the IRS to provide State Employment Security Agencies nationwide access to IRS 1099, Miscellaneous Income data, so employers who inaccurately classify workers can be identified. With regard to the workers’ compensation programs, the limited number of individuals prosecuted annually for fraud is indicative of the effectiveness of the program’s internal controls. While some inappropriate FECA payments may go undetected, the Employment Standards Administration’s major cost containment initiatives, including the highly successful Periodic Roll Management program and multiple medical cost savings efforts, are making significant progress in addressing those instances.

  • Implementation of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). In reviewing the implementation of the WIA’s One-Stop structure for delivering program services, OIG has identified several concerns, including: the use of individual training accounts, establishment of eligibility criteria for training providers, and the implementation of adequate systems to allocate costs among the One-Stop partner programs and agencies. In response to OIG’s concerns, the Employment and Training Administration has developed a Technical Assistance Workbook with guidance on individual training accounts and eligible training providers, and a standard 12-hour training course on these subjects is being offered in each region. Cost allocation has been addressed though the issuance of draft guidance in June 2000, which was cleared by OIG, and the publication of a new definition of administrative costs as part of WIA final regulations. OIG was actively involved in testing the definition and provided its approval as part of the clearance process for the final WIA regulations.

  • Effectiveness of the Welfare-to-Work Initiative. OIG identified the consistency and quality of performance data reported by the States and other grantees as a concern, and emphasized the need to finalize reporting requirements for the Welfare-to-Work program. The Welfare-to-Work program is part of the Department’s data validity project, explained in greater detail in Chapter 5, which is designed to provide accurate and reliable program outcome data for performance goals. The final reporting requirements for the program are effective April 1, 2001.

  • Targeting of the Dislocated Workers Program. An audit of the Dislocated Workers program identified concerns with participants’ eligibility in 35 percent of the cases reviewed by OIG, and found that eligibility criteria were relaxed in some localities with relatively few dislocated workers to permit the use of the available funds. The auditors also found that program data reported by the States were often incomplete or in error. Although the audit report does not adequately consider the authority vested in State and local governments and the need for flexibility in addressing local labor-market conditions, a number of actions are being taken to address the issues raised in the report. The Employment and Training Administration is increasing technical assistance and monitoring to ensure that State and local programs adequately document dislocated workers’ eligibility for services. The Department is reviewing the current formula for determining the allocation of dislocated worker funds. During Program Year 2001, the Department will begin to rely upon the Unemployment Insurance wage record data to provide more accurate program outcome information, and a data validity system is being designed to better ensure the validity of the data.

  • Financial Management. OIG noted in the top management issues paper that the audit of DOL’s FY 2000 Consolidated Financial Statement identified two systems which have not yet been brought into full compliance with the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act. Chapter 6 of this plan retains as a performance goal (FM1) for FY 2002 that all DOL financial systems meet the standards set in the FFMIA and the Government Management Reform Act (GMRA). Similar goals were included in the Department’s FY 1999, FY 2000, and FY 2001 plans and are ensuring the Department’s continuing focus on this issue.

6.2.3 Presidential Management Reforms

The President’s budget, “A Blueprint for New Beginnings” (Blueprint) includes a comprehensive agenda of program accomplishment and management reforms, and the Department has initiated the necessary actions to ensure the full implementation of these reforms through the performance planning process.

Five Government-wide reforms were identified in the Blueprint, and the status of the Department’s progress in implementing these initiatives to improve operational efficiency and to streamline communications and business services for DOL’s stakeholders and customers is summarized below.

  • Delayering management levels to streamline organizations. Within the last six months, the Department has undertaken a major Workforce Planning initiative, leading to a new, overarching human resources management goal which provides that DOL will have the right people in the right place at the right time to carry out the mission of the Department. This goal, presented in section 6.1 and Appendix A of this plan, will be modified in the Revised Final FY 2002 Annual Performance Plan to include indicators to target DOL’s objectives for delayering management, as additional guidance is received on this reform.

  • Reducing erroneous payments to beneficiaries and other recipients of government funds. One of the most significant benefit payment programs administered directly by DOL is the Federal Employees’ Compensation Act (FECA) program. All three of the performance goals included in this plan for the FECA program focus on improving efficiency by returning injured employees to the workplace in a more timely manner and reducing the costs of medical services; achieving these goals will reduce the potential for erroneous payments. With respect to the Unemployment Insurance (UI) program, DOL’s State partners have the responsibility for issuing payments directly to eligible claimants. After consulting with the program’s State partners and stakeholders, the Department will add an appropriate indicator to measure the accuracy of benefit payments to the existing UI goal which measures timeliness and quality. (See section 4.2 and Appendix A of this plan for the FECA and UI program goals.)

  • Making greater use of performance-based contracts. The Department currently emphasizes the expected level of performance outcomes in grants and contracts for partners who deliver core program services, including States, Job Corps contractors and the International Labor Organization. However, many of DOL’s contracts do not meet all established criteria for performance based contracts. During the first quarter of FY 2002 DOL obtained the services of a contractor skilled in implemeting performance-based contracting to develop both an overall DOL strategy and one for each DOL agency to meet the goal for FY 2002, to provide training for DOL agency staff (contract specialists, managers and supervisors) in the use and implementation of performance-based service contracts, and to develop a long-term strategy to meet the goals in this area for fiscal years 2003, 2004 and 2005.

  • Expanding the application of on-line procurement and other E-Government services and information. The Department provides a number of services and extensive information on-line, and routinely seeks opportunities to streamline communications and business transactions for DOL’s constituents. For example, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) strategies in section 4.3 of this plan include enhancing two information technology initiatives, which provide technical assistance to employers. These OSHA initiatives include Expert Advisors—interactive, decision-logic products that help users determine what requirements apply to them or what actions they need to take to address hazardous conditions in their workplaces—and e-CATS (electronic Compliance Assistance Tools) which are graphic programs that provide extensive information on a variety of safety and health issues. Another example of initiatives to facilitate customers’ transactions with the Department is the Pension and Welfare Benefits Administration’s strategy to enable pension plan administrators to electronically file required plan documents with DOL.

    Notwithstanding the Department’s overall progress in extending E-Government services, DOL will be challenged in FY 2002 to meet the goal established by OMB to post: (a) all synopses for acquisitions valued at over $25,000 for which widespread notice is required and (b) all associated solicitations unless covered by an exemption in the Federal Acquisition Regulation on the government-wide point-of-entry website (www.FedBizOpps.gov).

    The Department is undertaking its e-Procurement initiative with the goal of replacing paper-based procurement and grants processes with a streamlined end-to-end Commercial-Off-the-Shelf or Government e-Procurement package that meets or exceeds the needs and functional requirements for the Department as a whole, including each of its component agencies. This initiative is necessary for the Department to meet current legislative requirements and government-wide initiatives in the area of e-commerce, and to provide timely, efficient and effective services to our customers for the management of administrative operations.

    DOL’s e-procurement requirements are currently under review as part of a business process reengineering effort. Existing e-Procurement solutions are being compared and contrasted to determine which solution best fits the needs of the Department. Once a solution has been identified, the Department will manage this initiative through its IT Capital Planning and Investment Management program. The oversight controls contained within the capital planning process will ensure the appropriate resources are acquired and the project proceeds as planned through to its successful implementation.

    During FY 2002, the Department plans to test and implement in all agencies and the Job Corps Centers the new e-procurement product to provide a paperless process for creating, routing, and approving requisitions, automating the posting of contract solicitations using web technology, and accepting vendor quotes and proposals electronically. The use of the Commerce Business Daily will be replaced by interfacing with FedBizOps for synopsis requirements, and interfaces will also be established with GSA’s newly designed Federal Procurement Data System, the Federal Assistance Awards Data System, and the Federal Grants Management System.

  • Expanding A-76 competitions and more accurate FAIR Act inventories. A goal implementing OMB’s guidance to complete public-private or direct conversion competitions on not less than five percent of the positions listed on the Department’s Federal Activities Inventory Reform Act listings in FY 2002 has been established and included in section 6.1 and Appendix A of this plan.

    The Blueprint also identified an additional six potential DOL-specific management reforms based upon areas of concern to the Department’s Inspector General and new program initiatives. These potential management reforms have been or will be incorporated in the planning process as outlined below.

  • Protection of Worker Benefit Funds. The Department and our partners in the State Employment Security Agencies have implemented a wide array of internal controls over the worker benefit funds, as detailed in the FY 2000 Annual Report, and monitor the programs vigilantly for any indication of emerging fraud schemes. The relatively limited number of individuals prosecuted annually for fraud against these programs is a measure of the effectiveness of the existing internal controls.

  • Foreign Labor Certification and Alien Labor Certification Program Reform. The Blueprint included two reforms directed toward the certification of foreign labor. A new goal related to DOL’s initiative to streamline the adjudication process for foreign labor certification has been included in section 4.2 and Appendix A of this plan. The Department anticipates that the quality assurance checks to be instituted as part of the streamlined certification process will assist the Department in reducing the incidence of fraudulent petitions, the subject of the second foreign labor certification reform identified in the President’s Budget.

  • Performance Accountability of Grants. The Department recognizes the need to improve management and accountability over DOL’s $9 billion in grant funds, and has begun to address this problem. However, current resources have proven inadequate to fully ensure accurate reporting on the use of grant funds. The Department has requested an increase of $1.8 million to improve DOL’s grant management program, in particular, to make certain that all grantee cost reports are entered timely into the Department’s financial system. The requested funding would also strengthen oversight of grant systems and grant financial activities, to ensure that the Department’s grants programs meet all applicable requirements, particularly those of the Federal Financial Management Improvement Act.

  • Compliance Assistance Efforts. This Annual Performance Plan reflects a wide array of compliance assistance efforts, including innovative uses of technology, as key strategies in support of the core outcome goals of our regulatory agencies to improve working conditions for America’s workers and protect the pensions of the Nation’s retirees. For example, OSHA plans to use distance learning technology, such as nationwide satellite broadcasts for small businesses, to provide training and education assistance to employees and employers on all new OSHA rules and regulations. Additional compliance assistance strategies can be found throughout sections 4.2 and 4.3 of this plan. In addition to the strategies, a goal has been established to reduce injuries and illnesses by 15 percent at work sites engaged in voluntary, cooperative relationships with OSHA, which will assist the Department in evaluating the effectiveness of compliance assistance strategies.

  • Energy Employees’ Occupational Illness Compensation Program. The Department will review the status of this new program during the preparation of the Revised Final FY 2002 Annual Performance Plan and determine at that time whether a performance goal(s) should be developed for FY 2002.

6.3 Enhancing DOL’s Customer Focus

Many of DOL’s component agencies’ strategic plans include the integration of customer service concerns into their day-to-day operations. DOL customers’ feedback is instructive in measuring how well services are provided, identifying how services might be better delivered, and determining whether DOL’s program goals effectively address customers’ needs. DOL component agencies, as part of their service delivery initiatives, will conduct customer surveys, using appropriate sampling techniques, to obtain this feedback at a reasonable cost.

As DOL agencies gain experience in measuring customers’ satisfaction, performance goals will be included in the Department’s Annual Performance Plans to inform stakeholders about the Department’s objectives and progress in meeting the needs of our customers. For example, the Employment and Training Administration has added a goal in section 4.1 and Appendix A of this plan to increase customer satisfaction with services received from workforce investment activities in connection with the One-Stop delivery system, as measured by the American Customer Satisfaction Index.

Not only will DOL improve processes for “listening” to its customers, but it will work towards improving the communication process with its customers, focusing efforts on improving the understandability of workplace standards by developing “plain language” regulations. Technology will be applied across the Department to improve the dissemination of these regulations, issue technical assistance material, respond to individual customers’ problems, and collect public comments. DOL agencies will work collaboratively to share these and other techniques that provide the feedback needed to fully measure program results.

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