Inspectors General are tasked with eliminating fraud, waste and abuse.
Fraud is straightforward – there are plenty of regulations and laws that prevent fraudulent activity, and most employees profiting from their work far beyond their paycheck are guilty of at least a few of them.
Abusive behavior is also generally well-understood, although there are some cases where it’s difficult to determine when behavior crosses a line. If an employee is denying an employee the basic respect they deserve as a human being, they’re most likely being abusive, and punishment is in order.
But how do you define waste? While some examples are patently obvious (sometimes the government actually tries to find the most expensive chair they can) it’s always easier to make better decisions after you’ve seen the consequences of them playing out. Nobody makes perfect decisions every day, but that doesn’t mean their decisions should be highlighted as wasteful in an oversight report.
One group of people who focus on reducing waste extensively are corporate consulting companies. McKinsey & Company, among the most famous of them, explored ways to eliminate waste in government programs around a decade ago. Despite the technological innovation that’s happened since then, their insight is still relevant today.
The average state or federal government agency performs countless tasks. Rather than focus on the efficiency of individual activities, it’s much easier to start with a framework you can apply to each task, making the overall agency more efficient. The McKinsey example gave six, which are made more succinct here:
1. Is this task or activity good for the public?
2. Does the government need to provide it, or will someone else provide it as well or better?
3. Are there parts of it that the private sector could do as well or better?
4. Is this the lowest level of government that can perform it well?
5. What can be done to make the task or activity more efficient?
6. Given limited resources, is this a better use than all underfunded/unfunded activities?
For any major task an agency undertakes, this helps to define exactly where the government can provide maximum impact. It’s not about how to do a task more efficiently – it’s whether to do it at all.
Deloitte also discussed efficiency in a recent article on the future of work in government. Their focus was on making government more flexible and adaptable, through each of the following methods:
— Simpler job descriptions to allow more hiring flexibility
— Flexible personnel systems and processes, allowing agencies to provide benefits needed by specific employees
— Employees receiving more flexible training and reskilling to fit jobs as required
— More creative use of technology to help employees achieve more with less training.
Does your agency have a framework for measuring efficiency? Does it have a framework for determining what crosses the line between inefficient and wasteful? With the experience, knowledge and talent that IGs and other leaders of investigative groups bring to the job, there’s no doubt they could design a framework that better suits the needs of their agency than either of these.
To learn how CMTS can help your agency handle cases more efficiently, call us at 855-667-8877 or email us at Team_CMTS@MyCMTS.com.