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Agencies Should More Fully Evaluate the Costs and Benefits of Executive Training

HUMAN CAPITAL: Agencies Should More Fully Evaluate the Costs and Benefits of Executive Training, GAO-14-132: Published: Jan 31, 2014. Publicly Released: Mar 4, 2014.

“Chief Human Capital Officers (CHCO) from 26 agencies reported that, from fiscal years 2008 through 2012, they spent almost $57 million (in constant 2012 dollars) on executive training provided by external providers. CHCOs reported using the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) Federal Executive Institute and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government most often. Agencies are required to maintain records of training plans, expenditures, activities, and (since 2006) to report training data to OPM. However, half of the CHCOs reported data to GAO that they deemed incomplete, or with limitations. For example, two agencies did not include travel related costs; one did not include costs for course materials; another did not include costs from all components. OPM officials agree that training cost data reported by agencies continues to be unreliable, and is probably lower than actual agency expenditures. OPM officials said they are meeting with agencies to address data deficiencies. However, OPM has not set interim milestones for meeting with agencies or established a timeframe to improve reporting. One leading practice is to establish such interim milestones and timeframes, in order to demonstrate progress towards achieving goals. By not establishing interim milestones and timeframes for improving the reliability of executive training cost data, OPM may be missing an opportunity to better position itself to hold agencies accountable for improving their data.”

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