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A working group in the inspector general community is looking for ways to better integrate diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility in the IG workforce. The working group has grown significantly since its creation in 2020, now including more than half of IGs across government. After releasing both a DEIA roadmap and a compendium of IG reports, the working group’s chairwoman says next on the agenda is adding more information to the strategic plan, on both accessibility and how to create safer workplaces.
The Office of Personnel Management’s training and human capital services division fell short in following its processes and procedures in several areas. OPM’s inspector general reviewed three offices in the Human Resources Solutions or HRS shop and found shortcomings around the reimbursable services they provide. The Center for Leadership Development lacked controls over requisition requests, opening a potential risk that unauthorized supplies and services could be purchased. The Staff Acquisition Group fell short on quality standards when hiring human resources specialists. And the HR Strategy and Evaluations Solutions office did not follow their quality control/quality assurance policies for reviewing interagency agreements. The IG made eight recommendations and OPM began making changes to fix the problems.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission considered public feedback to help better enforce anti-discrimination laws. Part of the agency’s future enforcement goals include looking at discrimination cases specifically in the federal sector. EEOC Commissioner Charlotte Burrows says closing the books on more federal cases will require certain areas of prioritization, “One thing that we are cognizant of, without overburdening our employees, is to get some of these oldest cases closed.” The agency will continue to refine its draft enforcement plan, which will be available online and open to further public comment.
The General Services Administration is taking a closer look at identity verification technologies that work for a broad swath of the public. GSA is launching an equity study into remote identity proofing, looking at some of the barriers to adopt biometric technologies like facial recognition for different demographics. GSA is hiring a recruitment agency to gather participants for its study. It expects to publish its findings in a peer-reviewed publication.
House Republicans vow to undo $80 billion to fund the IRS if they win a majority of seats in November. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) says a GOP-controlled House would introduce legislation on its first day in session that would block the IRS from receiving funds under the Inflation Reduction Act. Congressional Republicans have specifically focused their criticism on the IRS hiring 87,000 employees. But the IRS expects many of those hires are meant to replace the more than 50,000 workers who will retire or leave the agency over the next six years. The agency also has 33,000 fewer employees than it did a decade ago. (Federal News Network)
Starting soon, verification of veteran-owned small businesses will be handled by the Small Business Administration. Currently, the Department of Veterans Affairs handles the applications for the distinction. VA will stop taking applications for verification and re-verification on Oct. 24, 2022, and the SBA will assume all responsibilities starting Jan. 1, 2023. The change is a result of the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act which mandates the consolidation of services offered to veteran-owned small business under SBA.
Nearly 60% of the U.S. Cyberspace Solarium Commission’s 82 recommendations have been implemented or are near implementation. And another 26% are on track to be implemented. A new report from the commission warns, however, that implementation is not the same as success. CSC says national cyber resilience will take sustained attention, investment and agility to address the ever-shifting threat landscape. The commission says the 2021 defense authorization bill, the 2022 appropriations bills and Biden administration policies and executive orders have brought some of the long-term focus that’s needed to protect federal data and networks.
Updated cloud security guidance is out to help vendors better protect federal data. The Federal Risk Authorization Management Program or FedRAMP is helping cloud service providers to better understand how to protect processing, storage and transmission of different data types. The new draft FedRAMP Authorization Boundary Guidance, which is out for public comment, focuses its changes across several areas. One is the different data types and processes. Another is around how to meet compliance requirements like FIPS-199 Level 2. Vendors and agencies are asked to answer four basic questions about the draft guidance. Comments on the draft authorization boundary guidance are due by Oct. 17.