Shared services funded in 2022 budget plan

The federal government's Quality Services Management Offices, set up to deliver services in grants, financial management, human resources and cybersecurity, are chugging along in the proposed FY2022 budget.

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Compared with the $1.5 trillion discretionary budget, the $50 million or so reserved for shared services programs launched during the Trump administration is a rounding error, but it appears that for now the Quality Service Management Organization (QSMO) approach is sticking around.

QSMOs are housed at agencies with relevant expertise and act as storefronts for the adoption of IT solutions and services. The four QSMOs set up during the Trump administration -- financial services at Treasury's Bureau of Fiscal Service, grants management at the Department of Health and Human Services, human resources at the General Services Administration and cybersecurity at the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency at the Department of Homeland Security -- are funded and pushing ahead on activities, according to agency-level budget documents.

GSA is seeking $20 million for the human resources QSMO. The request is for no-year money to be appropriated to the agency's working capital fund to establish human capital data standards in support of the goal of modernizing HR technology.

CISA wants $17.6 million for its QSMO offering – unchanged from the year previous. According to the agency's congressional budget justification, this effort will include the development of a CISA-managed centralized vulnerability disclosure platform as well as the building out of the shared services marketplace.

Treasury's Bureau of Fiscal Service is looking to stand up its financial management systems marketplace using a governmentwide contract vehicle in FY2022, with the goal of creating a one-stop shop for agencies to acquire core financial management systems and allied products and services. The agency is seeking $3.7 million to support this effort in FY2022.

HHS, home to the portal, is seeking $6 million to staff up an organization to support the improvement of service quality for grant applicants, recipients and federal agencies. The role of the grants QSMO, the budget document notes, "is particularly essential given the federal response to COVID-19, which increased government-wide grant funding from $750 billion to over $2 trillion through supplemental funding." One key goal here is the use of a single sign-on system for recipients to track grants across multiple funding agencies.

Just because the administration is seeking funding for these programs right now doesn't mean they won't be altered in the near future, notes Mike Hettinger, a former congressional staffer who lobbies on government procurement and technology issues.

"Like every administration, it will take some time for the Biden team to develop the management agenda, and I'm sure they will tweak things like the QSMO," Hettinger said. "But it looks at least for now that shared services is on a bit of a continuation path."