The Agency is undertaking a number of initiatives to maximize the development impact of its assistance programs per dollar spent. The recently implemented Phoenix financial system provides USAID with detailed cost information that allows it to track accurately the relative cost of its programs. The Phoenix system is also providing the data to help the Agency comply with the President's Open Government Initiative. The Department of State, USAID, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) recently began publishing foreign assistance budget and spending data on the public Foreign Assistance Dashboard, which is driving the United State Government to become a leader in aid transparency. USAID plans to build on this success and continue to improve the way that the Agency's financial information is managed, shared and reported.
Other management achievements this year include:
- Real Property Initiative that is improving USAID's management of facilities with cost efficient processes and innovative methods such as implementing new workplace designs and technologies to accommodate staff growth without a corresponding increase in required floor space. Since 2010 this initiative has resulted in nearly $130 million in cost savings and cost avoidances.
- Workforce Initiative that is attracting and motivating top talent through a number of actions. These include a streamlined Civil Service hiring process, intensified outreach to recruit underrepresented populations to its workforce, including a new portal to increase veteran hiring, new employee assistance and wellness programs, and improvements to performance feedback and appraisal processes.
- Open Government Flagship Initiative which in addition to spearheading the Foreign Assistance Dashboard, also led to the launch of the newly-updated USAID external Website in June 2012. The site offers cutting edge tools to provide accessible, real-time information to the public about USAID's global efforts to help improve the lives of the world's underprivileged.
- Improved Operating Efficiencies resulted in cost savings and avoidances of more than $50 million in FY 2012, accomplished through employee initiated actions to reduce administrative costs, in-source services, and dispose of unneeded real estate.
- Implementation of Environmental Sustainability Plan that reduced the Agency's carbon emissions from air travel by more than seven percent from a 2008 baseline, tripled the collection capacity of recyclable products at its Washington based facilities, enhanced teleworking opportunities, and requires the purchase of environmentally friendly products that contain recycled, bio-based, non-toxic, energy efficient, and water efficient materials.
Every year, USAID's Office of Inspector General (OIG) identifies management challenges that affect the ability of the Agency to deliver foreign assistance. The FY 2012 challenges relate to working in high threat environments, performance management and reporting, sustainability, implementation and procurement reform, management of information technology, and audits of U.S. based for-profit entities. The Agency takes immediate remedial actions in response to OIG recommendations. See pages 131-145 of the FY 2012 USAID Agency Financial Report for a full description of the OIG's identified challenges and the Agency's responses to them.