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Transforming the Public Service: Progress Made and the Work Ahead

The federal public service has undergone a major transformation since the National Commission on the Public Service convened in February 2002.

The change has been greater than any in the 25 years since the Civil Service Act of 1978 was enacted, and in many respects greater than in the 50 years since the federal pay and classification systems were established. Congress and the Executive Branch have now taken significant steps to modernize the management of the federal workforce to meet the increasingly critical demands on government in the 21st Century.

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Key Findings

As with any significant change affecting large numbers of people, the process of creating and implementing the elements of this transformation has been difficult. To assess progress to date and the challenges ahead, the National Commission on the Public Service Implementation Initiative and the National Academy of Public Administration co-hosted a conference with policy implementers and others interested in the transformation of federal human resource management.


  • Looking ahead, participants identified some major issue areas requiring careful consideration if implementation efforts are to deliver their intended results:
  • coherence in the implementation effort, including oversight of individual agency efforts and agreeing on a government-wide framework
  • support for long-term implementation, which requires continuing commitment to the change process from the White House, Congress, and non-governmental organizations
  • sufficient funds to reward employees for good and outstanding performance
  • effective change management, which means a substantial investment in training and selecting supervisors with skills for setting and enforcing performance goals

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