Government Needs More Data to Help Solve Insourcing Dilemma

With federal, state and local governments employing one in six workers nationwide, and at least one in nine workers in every single state, government agencies are finding that tracking this workforce can be problematic.

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With federal, state and local governments employing one in six workers nationwide, and at least one in nine workers in every single state, government agencies are finding that tracking this workforce can be problematic.

The Department of Defense, in particular, is facing this issue. While it collects and maintains a significant amount of workforce data, it is still unable to determine if it has made progress toward creating the necessary balance of civilian, military and contract employees, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO).

The problem is that the DoD uses different identifiers for workforce planning efforts than it does to track insourcing actions, and so does not have the ability to correlate the underlying data, according to the report.

“It was unclear to what extent the in-sourcing actions aligned with DOD’s plan due to differences in the types of data used in the insourcing report and the most recent workforce plan, and the absence of metrics to measure the in-sourcing goal established in the plan,” the report states.

The GAO recommended that defense officials align insourcing data with the strategic plan and establish metrics to measure progress for its insourcing goals. While the DoD partially agreed with the recommendations, the agency also said the challenges identified in GAO’s report are not unique to insourcing. While the GAO agreed, it believes actions are necessary to improve oversight of DOD’s in-sourcing.

One of DOD’s insourcing goals is to get a good blend of skills among of its civilian employees, military personnel and contractors. The DoD has also been working to ensure its employees handle inherently governmental functions, or work that only government employees should be doing.

“Without accurate data, decision-makers in the DoD and Congress may not have reliable information to help manage and oversee DoD insourcing,” the report stated.

Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer's Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal. Chandler is also engaged in helping companies further their content marketing needs through content strategy, optimization and creation, as well as blogging and social media platforms. When he's not writing, Chandler enjoys his beach haunt of Santa Cruz where he rides roller coasters with his son, surfs and bikes across mountain ranges.