2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Going Beyond Compliance
Effectively managing stimulus funds today, while creating more lasting business value tomorrow
Thanks to the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), public infrastructure is receiving a major infusion of federal dollars. Since the plan was first announced, there has been considerable debate over how to ensure that the nation spends the stimulus dollars wisely, avoiding some of the more egregious fraud, waste and abuse problems that have plagued earlier emergency spending initiatives like the responses to hurricanes Katrina and Rita and the reconstruction of Iraq.
To prevent large amounts of fraud, waste and abuse from derailing ARRA, it is critical for every organization receiving substantial ARRA funds to get the basics right – from planning all the way through to closeout audits – and then to effectively execute them. Getting the basics right can help reduce waste, fraud, and other incidents that will tarnish the reputation of the spending agency.
Only after the basics are in place can program management and anti-fraud program controls be further strengthened by utilizing more innovative management and technology practices, including:
- Using scenario planning to determine all the combination of things that can go wrong when you are rolling out multiple projects at great speed
- Adopting a portfolio management approach to identify synergies among projects that can be effectively delivered within the time frame allotted
- Transforming financial operations and processes to collect and report financial performance data on a real-time basis
- Using innovative procurement models to shift the risks and incentivize performance
- Putting everything – contracts, expenses, project details and the like – up on the Web for public consumption, and making it searchable
- Using social media tools to facilitate a meaningful two-way conversation with the public about how stimulus funds are being spent
- Employing analytics tools to transform the volumes of raw data collected into useful information
- Developing a collaborative workspace to facilitate interagency and intergovernmental information sharing and collaboration in real time
Using these innovative techniques can help to mitigate the amount of fraud, waste, and abuse in the ARRA program while optimizing performance. Moreover, diffusing these innovations throughout the organization can enhance overall agency performance long after ARRA funds run out.
This report helps government agencies manage the tidal wave of stimulus funds, first by getting the compliance basics right and then by building more robust operational capacity. This is critical to preventing ARRA funds from going the way of other emergency spending initiatives that were marred by unacceptably high levels of fraud, waste and abuse.
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