Feds at Work: Creating a more effective government
Developed methods for federal agencies to consolidate common administrative functions
Imagine if a typical American family, instead of sharing a single cell phone plan, purchased separate service contracts for each person. The total monthly cost would be too high to continue this inefficient spending.
This is how the government typically has handled its financial management, acquisition, human resources and information technology operations. Agencies spend billions of dollars running their own systems instead of sharing administrative functions with other federal organizations to become more efficient and save money.
Elizabeth Angerman, executive director of the recently created United Shared Services Management Office at the General Services Administration, has begun to change this dynamic, with guidance and resources to help agencies consolidate and transform their administrative systems. Her efforts, which began in 2015, are in line with a recent presidential executive order on reorganizing government that calls for agencies to consider merging redundant administrative functions.
“Beth’s passion, leadership, expertise and commitment have been the driving force behind the new push to implement shared services across the government.” ~ Chip Fulghum
As head of the GSA office, Angerman turned an inconsistent, ad hoc system for adopting shared services into a clear decision-making process for federal leaders to understand their options and the potential benefits of outsourcing administrative functions to other agencies. She created guidelines and is actively helping agencies plan and move to shared services.
“Beth’s passion, leadership, expertise and commitment have been the driving force behind the new push to implement shared services across the government,” said Chip Fulghum, acting undersecretary for management at the Department of Homeland Security. “She has created a governance structure to evaluate and implement solutions where none existed before.”
Angerman created a network among federal and private sector parties interested in expanding shared services in government, said Ellen Herbst, assistant secretary for administration at the Department of Commerce, adding that she helped agencies overcome barriers that hindered progress.
“Beth has become very much a bridge, a facilitator, a convener, a creator and the upholder of the community of people who want to move forward,” Herbst said.
For example, Angerman helped the Department of Veterans Affairs to begin shifting its financial management system to the Department of Agriculture’s National Finance Center. She also assisted the Department of Justice with moving its payroll and some human resources functions to the USDA.
“With federal budgets constrained, Beth’s effort to promote shared services will help lead the way to creating government efficiencies and improving effectiveness.” ~ Dave Mader
A move to shared services is designed to turn over administrative functions to experts in the field so agencies can save money, become more efficient and focus their time and resources on their core missions.
Angerman and her staff created a step-by-step guide shedding light on shared services opportunities, the risks and the benefits, and how to move forward constructively. Thirty agencies are using her office’s playbook, she said, and many plan to use shared services for a variety of administrative functions.
“The progress for shared services has been fragmented and inconsistent across different presidential administrations,” Angerman said. “My job is to be a change agent, to get the government to do things differently.”
Angerman has “the drive, energy and commitment to get things done,” said Dave Mader, a former Office of Management and Budget official who helped create the GSA shared services office.
“With federal budgets constrained, Beth’s effort to promote shared services will help lead the way to creating government efficiencies and improving effectiveness,” Mader said.
“We need to show taxpayers we are doing smarter things with their money.” ~ Beth Angerman
Angerman sees shared services as “an opportunity to change government in a material way.”
“We are seeking to build a coalition of federal leaders, agencies, government councils and members of the private sector who recognize that we need to do things differently in government,” Angerman said. “We need to show taxpayers we are doing smarter things with their money.”
Beth Angerman is a finalist for a 2017 Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, or Sammies. Each year, the Partnership for Public Service honors federal employees whose remarkable accomplishments make our government and our nation stronger.
For the third year, we will also present the annual “People’s Choice” award. Please vote for the person or team you find most inspiring. (Voting closes at 11:59 p.m. EST on September 15, 2017.)