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The Public Manager Magazine Article

Navigating Federal Notices: November 2015

November 2015 roundup of the latest reports, orders, and memoranda from the key federal oversight and policy organizations.

Published Tue Nov 10 2015


A roundup of the latest reports, orders, and memoranda from the key federal oversight and policy organizations.

Navigating Federal Notices: November 2015-53eebcbe453000fc3c3855687011885770a5a61b9a11a3895a47e60644b74ec2

Using Behavioral Science Insights to Better Serve the American People

Federal managers may be able to benefit from using behavioral science. According to a recent executive order from President Barack Obama, "A growing body of evidence demonstrates that behavioral science insights—research findings from fields such as behavioral economics and psychology about how people make decisions and act on them—can be used to design government policies to better serve the American people." In particular, this executive order is advising agencies to:

  • investigate where using behavioral science could improve the quality of their service

  • develop a plan for using behavioral science, along with testing whether it is working

  • recruit people from the behavioral science community to join the federal government

  • strengthen agency relationships with the behavioral science community.

Implementation guidelines for agencies are coming soon from the Social and Behavioral Sciences Team, under the National Science and Technology Council.


Making Federal Student Loan Borrowers Aware of Repayment and Forgiveness Options

Having student loan repayment flexibility, in particular the Public Service Loan Forgiveness option, is a valuable recruitment and retention tool for federal managers. The Government Accountability Office released a report in which the agency reviewed options intended to help borrowers repay loans. GAO found that:

  • more borrowers are eligible to participate in Income-Based Repayment than those currently participating—13 percent of borrowers have participated, but 51 percent are eligible

  • more borrowers are eligible for Pay as You Earn Repayment than those currently participating

  • more employers are eligible to be certified for Public Service Loan Forgiveness than those currently participating.


Seeking Formal Methods for Federal Agencies to Collaborate on Social Impact Bonds

If you are a looking for creative ways to implement a social service, the Office of Management and Budget may be able to help provide guidance on how to use Social Impact Bonds (also known as Pay for Success). Pay for Success is a new contracting mechanism to fund prevention programs, in which investors provide capital to implement a social service—for example, to reduce recidivism by former prisoners. According to the GAO:

  • Federal government involvement in these type of projects has, to date, been limited.

  • There isn't a formal mechanism for federal agencies to participate.

  • The main recommendation is to develop a formal means for agencies to collaborate on these projects, and OMB has agreed to work with agencies in this endeavor.


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