Oversight community takes steps for more diversity

The plan to increase diversity in personnel and also in oversight work fits with broader Biden administration goals.

The plan to increase diversity in personnel and also in oversight work fits with broader Biden administration goals. Andriy Onufriyenko / Getty Images

A new DEIA roadmap reflects goals the president has for the federal workforce overall. 

A group of federal watchdogs is working to make the oversight community more diverse, inclusive, equitable and accessible through personnel practices as well as the work they do, which aligns with the Biden administration’s goals for the federal workforce at-large. 

The Council of the Inspectors General on Integrity and Efficiency established a diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEIA) work group in April 2021, which has membership from over 25 IG offices. Earlier this summer the group released a roadmap to help IG offices of all sizes advancing DEIA.

“A culture of belonging for everyone in the [office of inspector general], including senior leaders, managers and employees, is critical for sustaining a diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible work environment and workplace,” the roadmap reads. “When leaders are committed to DEIA, employees’ sense of inclusion nearly doubles. Through their attitude and actions, senior leaders can build a sense of community and social responsibility in which each staff member feels included, valued, respected and heard.”

The 65-page roadmap gives recommendations on how to increase DEIA in these areas: continuous education; staffing, recruitment and hiring; promotions and professional development; performance and recognition; diversity of business suppliers; stakeholders and partners; safe and inclusive workplaces; and data collection and use. It also provides lists of resources and how to measure results for each.

For example, the roadmap suggests that IG offices include DEIA training in their budget planning and execution processes and, if possible, plan beyond one year to “allow the [offices] to provide interconnected training sessions over a long period of time (for example, a series of sessions relating to unconscious bias, or creating a culture of belonging).” 

As for staffing, one recommendation in the roadmap is to issue quarterly reports on “professional development, attrition, rewards, retention and promotion action by race, national origin, gender, disability and veteran status.” Another is to “conduct annual human capital planning discussions with senior leaders, hiring officials and managers to develop a targeted hiring and recruitment plan.” 

The roadmap says to “include elements of DEIA in all audits, evaluations and reviews as appropriate” and “report opportunities to improve equitable program administration.” 

The guide is meant to be used for IG offices of all sizes and it encompasses work IGs have already been doing, Sandra Bruce, IG for the Education Department who chairs the working group, told Government Executive. 

“This is a living document; it's an evolving document and something that will develop over time,” said Jay N. Lerner, IG for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation who serves as vice chair of the working group.

Bruce said the working group was creating the roadmap when President Biden issued an executive order in June 2021 on increasing DEIA in the federal workforce and the White House released its subsequent government DEIA plan in November 2021. Working group members were “thrilled that just about everything presented in [the executive order] was captured in our roadmap,” Bruce added.

She also said the IG staff “are the driving force behind the CIGIE DEIA Work Group and creation of our roadmap,” and they are “our greatest asset.” 

Lerner noted that both he and Bruce are members of the Pandemic Response Accountability Committee, which has also been sensitive to the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on underrepresented communities. 

On Wednesday, CIGIE released a collection of IG reports from fiscal 2014 to 2021 from across the government related to DEIA. 

“First, readers can increase their awareness of DEIA projects across the IG community,” said the report. “Second, we believe the document can be used to discuss, learn about and generate project ideas for [offices of inspectors general]. Finally, the work group believes this is only a start—future [IG office] projects uploaded to oversight.gov will have DEIA tags that will allow more comprehensive and up-to-date research going forward.” 

This article was published first on GovExec, a FederalSoup partner site ("The Oversight Community Is Taking These Steps to Be More Diverse and Inclusive.") 

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