Earlier today, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) issued a report titled: Federal Agencies Obtain Training to Meet Requirements, but Have Limited Insight into Cost and Benefit of Training Investment. The report summarizes GAO’s findings from a survey it conducted of 23 federal agencies that provide training to the acquisition workforce. Key issues discussed in the report include:
• The Office of Federal Procurement Policy’s (OFPP) role in promoting government-wide practices for acquisition workforce training and development
• The Federal Acquisition Institute’s (FAI) role in assisting agencies with monitoring and training the acquisition workforce
• Agencies use of external training sources
• Agencies’ challenges with regard to obtaining adequate training resources, identifying the acquisition workforce, and staff having time to attend training
• Inconsistencies in reported data related to training costs
• Agencies’ failure to gather adequate information on the benefits of their acquisition workforce training investment
In its conclusions, GAO recognized that the acquisition workforce must be well-trained to handle their responsibilities, and that agencies need key information to manage and oversee workforce training. To this end, GAO acknowledged recent efforts by OFPP, FAI, and various federal agencies to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their training efforts, but stated that those entities “lack data on the acquisition workforce itself and the benefits of training, as well as the cost data that can be used to make [meaningful] comparisons.”
GAO’s recommendations are that the Director of the Office of Management and Budget and Administrator of OFPP, in consultation with the Director of FAI: 1) provide guidance on the types of costs agencies should include in their Acquisition Human Capital Plan submissions to help determine total training investment, and 2) require all agencies, at a minimum, to collect and analyze participant evaluations of all acquisition workforce training as a first step to help assess the effectiveness of the training investment.
The report is available on GAO’s web page at: http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-13-231.