GAO gives Uncle Sam thumbs-up on e-gov

By and large, agencies are making progress on projects mandated by Congress in the E-Government Act, according to a new Government Accountability Office report.

"The Office of Management and Budget and federal agencies made efforts to implement provisions before the expiration of statutory deadlines that have now passed, and they are also taking positive steps toward implementing provisions without deadlines or with deadlines in the future," the GAO report said.

The congressional watchdog looked at specific mandates the 2002 law placed on agencies but not at how well agencies are meeting the law's governmentwide requirements.

Although the report was mostly positive, the audit agency noted a trio of trouble spots at OMB. It said the administration has yet to:



  • Conduct a study on e-government uses for crisis preparedness.


  • Set up an innovation program to encourage vendors to come up with technologies and services to enhance e-gov programs.


  • Establish a repository and Web site detailing information about federally funded R&D.




The report also chastised the General Services Administration and National Academy of Sciences for failing to conduct a study of the digital divide, specifically the inability of some citizens to tap into government services online.

"Until these issues are addressed, the government is at risk of not fully achieving the objective of the E-Government Act to promote better use of the Internet and other IT to improve government services to its citizens, internal government operations and opportunities for citizen participation in government," GAO concluded.

Sen. Joe Leiberman (D-Conn.), the law's author, said, "I'm pleased by the progress already achieved, but agencies must redouble their efforts to fully realize the most important aspects of the legislation, such as conducting rule-making on the Internet and protecting privacy."

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