How agencies attack Enterprise Risk Management

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Richard Spires, CEO at Learning Tree International, discusses the Government Accountability Office’s “High Risk List” and what government agencies can do to get off it.


With the Government Accountability Office releasing their yearly High Risk List, agencies are renewing their goals to get delisted. According to GAO, the list includes programs and operations that are “high risk due to their vulnerabilities to fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement, or that need transformation.” Richard Spires, CEO at Learning Tree International, says that citizens benefit when organizations get off the list.

“They have a set of criteria both qualitative and quantitative. The quantitative is maybe a little easier, they say it has to be at least a billion dollar impact. That could be on the cost side, or on savings, or waste and that type of thing. But I think the more important part is on the qualitative side, it has got to be of national significance. Safety of citizens, or of defense, or of homeland security.” Spires tells Government Matters. “I think us as American citizens are the beneficiaries [when agencies get off the list]. I really applaud GAO for the way they do this High Risk List. They are objective about it, they’re helpful and I think it does showcase when we have tremendous issues in government.”