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Working Capital Fund Symposium – July 2017

July 13, 2017

On Thursday, July 13, the National Academy of Public Administration and Grant Thornton hosted a Working Capital Fund Symposium on WCF implementations in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

​The quarterly WCF Symposium aims to develop discussions to adopt a more streamlined WCF approach. Through this collaborative effort, government executives and managers can discuss WCF issues, share lessons learned, and gather best practices. Agency leaders share their insights to implement and sustain Working Capital Funds.

Grant Turner serves as Budget Officer at CDC​. Karen Stamey is the responsible WCF Manager.

Headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia, the CDC maintains facilities in 15 additional locations in the U.S.​ with more than 22,000 staff in more than 150 occupations. Its main obligation is to control, contain, and eliminate health threats​, monitor health, and rapidly detect and investigate diseases, outbreaks, biosecurity threats, and environmental hazards.

Congress authorized CDC to begin operating a WCF in the fiscal year 2014 to “improve the provision of supplies and service”. In advance, CDC spent 2 years developing the WCF structure and initiating an Agency-wide change management approach. The financial management, service providers, and customers were heavily engaged throughout this phase. A Governance Board presides over a Steering Committee, and Working Group, and several Focus Groups, which focus on upcoming issues. WCF rates are based on the objective of full cost recovery for each service line.

In addition, the CDC provides a WCF customer portal, which contains all customer-specific information. These include WCF publications, consumption and billing data, billing dispute, inquiry management, and a calendar of events. It also reveals the performance measures and targets. The financial performance focuses on maintaining fund solvency. Operational and customer service performance aims for frictionless business procedures.

CDC identifies three opportunities with the WCF. A stable source of funding for service provision during fiscal uncertainties is supposed to guarantee predictability. Enhanced communication between customers and service providers enhances effectiveness. Moreover, customers have better insights into their costs for services.

Last but not least, Mr. Turner and Ms. Stamey presented their four lessons learned regarding the WCF. First, it might be best to start small, originate broader service categories, and expand as the fund matures. Not only does this allow the opportunity to develop processes over time, but also facilitates a steady change management process for customers and service providers. Second, good data is the key to be able to provide reliable and consistent data for accurate billing. Third, to think sustainability as processes are being developed. Processes should stand the test of time. And finally, to incorporate flexibility. In the startup phase, adjustments should be allowed to be made to think through the decision-making process of what is billable and what kind of service agreements are included in the rates.

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