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Posted by on May 31, 2016

DATA Act – Federal Countdown to May 2017

DATA Act – Federal Countdown to May 2017

DATA ActLast week my colleague Kim Coelho brought us up-to-date on the data standards updated by Treasury last week. This hopefully will allow movement on DATA Act implementation. Several agencies reported to the Government Accountability Office prior to April that their progress was hindered due to the lack of a final DATA Act Information Model Schema (DAIMS). Any delays are concerning at this point as the statutory deadline for most requirements is May 2017.

It may be that the release of the DAIMS will enable those people in the weeds of DATA Act implementation to make definitive changes in the business systems and processes that many Federal employees interact with daily. For some, there will be definite differences, like changing the structure of an agency’s award numbering system to meet the governmentwide requirements.

So what should you do now?

  • Educate yourself. The GAO released this infographic in January 2016 to provide the 50,000 foot level view of the DATA Act. It starts with the point of the law – “Citizens want to see how Federal money is spent.”
  • Determine if you are involved. Many of us hear data, and immediately think that the people involved are mainly going to be someone from the department’s IT team. After all they design and build the systems. While that may be the case, we recommend reviewing the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) ManagementProcedures Memorandum No. 2016-03. You may find that your office may need to adjust its award making processes to meet the requirement of matching financial assistance awardee names identical to those entered on SAM.gov.
  • Budget time, people, and resources accordingly. Because the DATA Act is not new, most agencies should have included implementation activities as part of their annual budget requests. Now that Treasury has published the DAIMS and Congress is still working on FY 2017 appropriations, agency officials can take time to reassess if these requests have changed.

Still feel like you’re deep in the world of technical mumbo-jumbo? Then it’s time to take the long view of the goals of the DATA Act – transparency on how our taxpayer dollars are spent. We expect that as a result of these changes, Federal departments and agencies will need to meet increased expectations on what information they can and should report. That means an increased proportion of the workforce needs analytics skills so they approach, analyze, and visualize their data effectively for the public.

This summer, Management Concepts is hosting a webinar on the DATA Act and data transparency in the Federal government. Stay tuned to learn about how the DATA Act will impact your role and the wider Federal community.

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