Making Smart Cuts: Lessons from the 1990s Budget Front
Author(s): Partnership for Public Service and Booz Allen Hamilton
Publication Date: 09/27/2011
Publication Topics: Critical Skills and Mission Critical Occupations, Federal Contracting, Leadership, Strategic Human Capital Planning
Publication Type: Research Reports and Surveys
Budget cuts are here. The cuts that are emerging from the stormy deficit debates that raged in Washington for months in 2011, in an attempt to set the nation back on a path to fiscal health, are sure to affect federal agencies and the people they serve and employ for years to come. Leaders will have to figure out how to continue to provide services and sustain operations in an era of major budget cuts. Billions of dollars in cuts to programs have already been agreed to, ranging from block grants for housing rehabilitation to state-level law enforcement assistance to Department of Veterans Affairs information technology contracts and construction projects. Additional cuts--some across the board, some surgical, some potentially deep and indiscriminate--will affect virtually every agency.
But agency leaders do not have to start from square one to figure out what to do. Many former top federal officials had to confront deep cuts to their budgets, most notably during the 1990s, when aggressive deficit-reduction efforts and the post-Cold War peace dividend combined to drive cuts that were historic at the time. Those officials offer a wealth of experience when it comes to budget cutting, with lessons regarding the various types of strategies they employed and what happened as a result.
The Partnership for Public Service, with Booz Allen Hamilton, interviewed more than 30 current and former senior federal officials and government experts, on how federal agencies responded to past budget cuts. Their insights and experiences, presented here, are useful for leaders now facing similar challenges, and can assist agencies and members of Congress develop and implement effective strategies as they navigate the difficult path ahead.
The Partnership for Public Service is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works to revitalize our federal government by inspiring a new generation to serve and by transforming the way government works.
The Partnership for Public Service and Accenture highlight lessons learned from federal initiatives that have simplified and streamlined the process of interacting with the government by implementing a customer-centered approach to digital services.
Fed Figures 2014-Federal Departures
Who did government lose in 2013? The Partnership for Public Service analyzed recent separations data for full-time, nonseasonal, permanent civilian employees who left the federal government in fiscal 2013 in executive branch agencies, excluding the U.S. Postal Service.
2013 Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® Analysis: Effective Leadership Communication
Communication from agency leadership can have a significant impact on employee attitudes toward their jobs and workplaces. But according to a new Best Places to Work in the Federal Government® analysis from the Partnership for Public Service and Deloitte, communicating effectively and motivating employees is a challenge for many leaders, with only half of the federal workforce satisfied with the level of communication from senior leaders and managers.
Fed Figures 2014-Federal Hiring
As a result of the 2008–2009 economic downturn and increased budget constraints, federal hiring has been on the decline. With fewer opportunities to bring on new employees, it is critical for agencies to focus on hiring the most highly qualified individuals to meet the nation’s needs. Who did government hire in 2013 and how has the profile of this hiring class evolved from previous years? Where are these new employees located and in which agencies do they serve? To answer these questions, the Partnership for Public Service analyzed recent hiring data for full-time, nonseasonal, permanent civilian employees hired in fiscal 2013 in executive branch agencies, excluding the U.S. Postal Service.
Embracing Change: CHCOs Rising to the Challenge of an Altered Landscape
The Partnership for Public Service and Grant Thornton LLP surveyed 60 chief human capital officers and agency HR leaders regarding the challenges facing the federal workforce. The report also includes recommendations from these leaders for rebuilding and strengthening the federal workforce.
Building the Enterprise: A New Civil Service Framework
In the report, the Partnership for Public Service calls for major reforms to the federal government’s decades-old civil service system and lays out a plan to modernize areas that include the outdated pay and hiring policies.