The Office of Management and Budget’s (OMB) U.S. Digital Service (USDS) and the General Services Administration’s (GSA) 18F program must coordinate more consistently on developing agency guidance to eliminate overlap or duplication of guidance or conflicting guidance, according to a new Government Accountability Office (GAO) report.

USDS and 18F help agencies deliver IT services, and even though USDS and 18F coordinate on projects and recruiting efforts, “they did not always do so to avoid developing duplicative IT guidance.”

“Specifically, neither entity had an established, documented coordination approach, even though they had issued guidance on the same IT acquisition and development topics with similar content,” GAO wrote in the report. “USDS and 18F officials acknowledged the need to improve guidance coordination, but did not have specific plans to do so.”

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GAO is insisting that the two agencies consistently coordinate on IT guidance after the new report outlined a decade’s worth of reports to address issues related to duplicative IT. GAO has issued 12 reports that include 275 recommendations over the past 10 years to address issues that include weaknesses in the processes agencies used to reduce contract duplication.

Additionally, GAO has made 117 recommendations in six reports that are meant to address issues related to IT management roles and responsibilities. GAO reports that as of October 2021, the agencies had implemented 290, or 74 percent, of the recommendations.

GAO insists that the remaining 102 recommendations be implemented to “provide agencies greater assurance that they are effectively managing IT acquisitions and operations.”

GAO made two recommendations in the new report—one each to GSA and OMB—to establish and document an approach to coordinate on IT guidance provided to agencies. Both OMB and GSA generally concurred with the recommendations.

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Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith
Jordan Smith is a MeriTalk Senior Technology Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.