A Government Accountability Office (GAO) report found that while the CIO of the U.S. Secret Service had implemented most IT oversight responsibilities, the agency still needs to improve its workforce planning and management practices.

“Workforce planning and management is essential for ensuring that federal agencies have the talent, skill, and experience mix they need to execute their missions and program goals,” GAO stated in the report, released November 15.

The report, which reviewed the Secret Service’s oversight of its IT portfolio and workforce, highlighted the need to fully adopt more leading practices on workforce issues. Using guidance from the Office of Personnel Management, the Chief Human Capital Officers Council, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and its own organization, GAO selected five main workforce areas and 15 best practices as a standard, and examined how the Secret Service’s documented practices measure up.

“Of the 15 selected leading practices associated with these workforce planning and management areas, the Secret Service had fully implemented 3 practices, partly implemented 8 practices, and did not implement any aspects of 4 practices,” the report notes.

In addition, the report finds that the Secret Service had substantially implemented two of the five areas, workforce morale and performance management, and minimally implemented the other three–recruitment and hiring, training and development, and strategic workforce planning. The Secret Service noted that the agency is undergoing a reorganization.

However, the report had positive feedback on the agency’s IT oversight practices. GAO found that the Secret Service fully implemented 11 out of 14 IT oversight responsibilities set by DHS’s IT management policies, and partially implemented the other three.

Among the report’s recommendations, GAO called on the Secret Service to ensure the CIO identifies the required knowledge and skills for the IT workforce, update its recruiting and hiring strategies to address gaps, monitor the effectiveness of recruitment efforts, and collect performance data to determine how training contributes to performance. DHS and the Secret Service agreed with all recommendations, and committed to implementing them.

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MeriTalk Staff