A-123 and ERM Playbook Previewed at Federal Enterprise Risk Management Event

On June 29, OMB Controller David Mader led an event at the Partnership for Public Service about Federal Enterprise Risk Management. The event included an update on the A-123 Circular, expected to be released in July. The A-123 Circular presents a government-wide enterprise risk management (ERM) framework which will be rolled out over the next year with the goal of having an ERM program in every department. This effort will help agencies deliver a smoother transition to the new administration by articulating risks and recommendations for mitigating them. This Circular formalizes ERM principles that many agencies may already apply in their current management practices. The complexity of government requires leaders at every level to recognize and take steps to mitigate risk.

To support the implementation of the A-123 Circular, the Office of Executive Councils convened a group of risk practitioners from across government to develop an ERM Playbook. The ERM Playbook includes an sample ERM framework as well as additional examples and templates that agencies can adapt based on their unique needs. OMB will use the ERM Playbook as part of a series of ERM Rollout Meetings taking place from August through the Fall. OMB will use these meetings to assist agencies meet the requirements of A-123 and build on their ERM capabilities.

Last week’s event also included a panel discussion led by CFO Council member Ellen Herbst, Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary of Administration at the Department of Commerce, and others with experience with implementing ERM at their agencies. The group discussed best practices and lessons learned from their previous experiences, as well as the anticipated challenges with implementing ERM across the Federal Government. They stressed the importance of keeping in mind that ERM will be a culture change for most agencies. Ms. Herbst pointed out that agencies will need to look at risk across the organization, as well as along the “seams” where bureaus intersect, to have a more holistic view of risk.

The Partnership for Public Service plans to host another session to discuss the ERM Playbook on Friday, July 29th, from 8:00AM-10:30AM at their DC office. Additional information on this session, including details for registering, will be available in the coming weeks.