Making sure that taxpayer dollars are not wasted lies at the heart of the stewardship obligations we have as public servants. When the country is facing serious fiscal challenges as it is now, it becomes even more important that we take aggressive action to make sure government is effective and efficient. That is the thinking behind the President’s Accountable Government Initiative , and it is what is behind OMB’s Partnership Fund for Program Integrity Innovation. The Fund supports projects that bring all levels of government together to test creative ways to reduce red tape, cut improper payments, and improve how eligible beneficiaries receive services.
I am pleased to announce that we have funded our first pilot project: an effort at the Department of the Treasury to test new methods of working with states to significantly improve the integrity of payments made under the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), reduce errors and provide assistance to those in need.
Tackling the long standing problem of improper payments is a top priority for the President and his Administration and we are aggressively exploring new technologies and analytics to significantly reduce errors and crack down on fraud. The EITC program provides needed financial support to low and moderate income workers and helps directly reward work. However, the program is also challenged by an unacceptably high error rate that both wastes money and leaves many individuals underserved. If successful, this new innovation could help the government avoid more than $100 million per year in improper payments.
This is just the first of many grants the Partnership Fund plans to make. In the past year, the Partnership Fund has received more than 100 ideas from stakeholders including Federal, state, and local government agencies; nonprofits; the private sector; academics; and engaged citizens.
In addition, the Partnership Fund is taking steps to get the best ideas from those on the frontlines since stakeholders, whether state administrators or community partners, often have the best ideas about how to streamline and strengthen programs. To draw on this expertise, an open, self-directed group called the Collaborative Forum holds regular virtual meetings to design the most effective pilots from the most promising ideas. In addition, the newly redesigned Partnership Fund web site, partner4solutions.gov, makes it easier to learn about the program, submit an idea, or become more involved. The Partnership Fund has an important role to play in defining the most efficient and effective practices for 21st century government.
The Partnership Fund is just one of many ways we are working to get government to work better for the American people. We will highlight other efforts in the months ahead.
Jack Lew is the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.