Detailed Information on the
Interagency Cooperative Administrative Support Services Assessment

Program Code 10004611
Program Title Interagency Cooperative Administrative Support Services
Department Name Department of State
Agency/Bureau Name Department of State
Program Type(s) Direct Federal Program
Assessment Year 2005
Assessment Rating Adequate
Assessment Section Scores
Section Score
Program Purpose & Design 90%
Strategic Planning 88%
Program Management 86%
Program Results/Accountability 42%
Program Funding Level
(in millions)
FY2007 $1,297
FY2008 $1,469
FY2009 $1,469

Ongoing Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Identify a common USDH management staffing profile for posts of similar size and circumstance, and challenge those with USDH staffing levels higher than predicted to act to reduce them, or to explain why the profile does not fit their circumstances.

Action taken, but not completed "Pilot" effort under way in European/IO Bureau, for possible expansion to others.

Establish global performance standards for selected ICASS services. Identify measures by which performance can be judged, and publish performance information against the standards. Develop management action plans to address unsatisfactory performance.

Action taken, but not completed Identifying standards and measures and some performance data gathering will occur in FY 2008. Assessing actual performance and developing action plans will continue into FY 2009.

Completed Program Improvement Plans

Year Began Improvement Plan Status Comments

Program Performance Measures

Term Type  
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of posts scoring 4.0 or greater on overall statisfaction with ICASS services on the annual Global Customer Service Survey

Explanation:Identifies customer satisfaction of ICASS services and percent of posts achieving 4.0 overall satisfaction rate.

Year Target Actual
2004 baseline 47%
2005 46% 53%
2006 50% 59%
2007 56% 62%
2008 69%
2009 76%
2010 83%
2011 90%
2012 90%
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of posts that have conducted outsourcing alternatives analysis for all feasible cost centers / activities

Explanation:Measures systematic examination of outsourcing alternatives for ICASS services

Year Target Actual
2005 Baseline 38%
2006 25% 53%
2007 50% 64%
2008 82%
2009 100%
2010 100%
2011 100%
2012 100%
Long-term Outcome

Measure: Percent of posts scoring 4.0 or greater on statisfaction with Procurement services on the annual ICASS Global Customer Service Survey

Explanation:Identifies customer satisfaction of ICASS services and percent of posts achieving 4.0 satisfaction rate for Procurement.

Year Target Actual
2004 Baseline 38%
2005 41% 38%
2006 45% 45%
2007 55% 45%
2008 50%
2009 55%
2010 60%
2011 65%
2012 70%
Long-term Efficiency

Measure: Ratio of ICASS customer DH Americans to Service Provider DH Americans

Explanation:Captures personnel efficiencies

Year Target Actual
2004 Baseline 15.6
2005 15.9 16.48
2006 NA 16.9
2007 NA 17.3
2008 NA 18.1
2009 18.5
2010 18.8
2011 19.1
2012 19.5
Long-term Efficiency

Measure: Percent of micro purchases using ICASS purchase card.

Explanation:Encourages streamlining of operations.

Year Target Actual
2004 Baseline 32%
2005 36% 36%
2006 41% 52%
2007 46% 41%
2008 50%
2009 55%
2010 60%
2011 65%
2012 70%
Annual Outcome

Measure: Per capita growth annual percentage increase

Explanation:Measures cost containment expressed as cost per direct hire American customer

Year Target Actual
2005 Baseline 5.64%
2006 4.5% or below 5.17%
2007 4.5% or below 4.82%
2008 4.5% or below 5.40%
2009 4.5% or below
2010 4.5% or below

Questions/Answers (Detailed Assessment)

Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design
Number Question Answer Score

Is the program purpose clear?

Explanation: The purpose of program is to provide quality, cost effective administrative support services to USG agencies and personnel working at U.S. diplomatic facilities overseas through a shared-serives full-cost recovery system. Public Law 104-208 directed the Department to develop a system that allocates to each department and agency the full cost of its presence overseas. The goals and principals of the program are defined in the Foreign Affairs Manual and Foreign Affairs Handbook used by State and other foreign affairs agencies. While conceptually, any agency overseas can supply shared ICASS services, in practice, the State Department functions as the system's principle service provider worldwide.

Evidence: Pub.L.104-208, 6 FAM 900, 6 FAH-5 ICASS Handbook

YES 25%

Does the program address a specific and existing problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: Given the large number of agencies operating overseas in co-located facilities, there is a need for an efficient and effective way of providing multiple USG elements (many that do not have the infrastructure overseas to self-provide services) with support services, such as mail service, procurement, IT support, local guards, HR services for local staff, and motor pool. A shared-service provider system reduces the need for agencies to duplicate services overseas, reducing overall staffing presence and resulting in USG cost savings. ICASS' creation was motivated by the President's Management Council and the Vice President's National Performance Review to provide a transparent, fair and equitable system to share administrative support services overseas.

Evidence: Pub.L.104-208, 6 FAM 900, 6 FAH-5, 1997 ICASS Assessment, NPR Recommendation

YES 25%

Is the program designed so that it is not redundant or duplicative of any other Federal, state, local or private effort?

Explanation: While ICASS is a unique shared-services platform for State and other agencies' administrative support services overseas, it is a voluntary interagency system, except for basic package and community liaison services. Some agencies do self-provide similar services outside of the ICASS system, which can create redundant or duplicative USG funded support services overseas. Services provided outside of ICASS can be well justified on the basis of cost, location, and mission. In addition, the option to self-provide services by agencies serves as an incentitive to ICASS to examine managment practices and service costs. However, currently there is no systematic requirement for a business case comparison between ICASS services and self-provided services that could serve as the basis to quantify and compare similar services provided at a specific location overseas. A recent GAO report on ICASS recommended that action should be taken to eliminate duplicative administrative support structures at overseas facilities with the goal of limiting each service to one provider.

Evidence: Pub.L.104-208, 6 FAM 900, GAO-04-511, Shared-Services Study

NO 0%

Is the program design free of major flaws that would limit the program's effectiveness or efficiency?

Explanation: ICASS' design is generally free of major flaws and is effective in providing quality services. However, a recent GAO report did identify several impediments, i.e. lack of indicators to gauge progress and incentives to promote steamlinging, which ultimately impact the ability of ICASS to create efficiencies and reduce costs. Performance metrics have been created to provide quantitative measures for analysis. Global performance measures have been developed through the PART process. ICASS stakeholders are working together to analyze data and develop sound managment strategies to promote new effeciencies. The GAO also identified duplication of services at a location as a problem. Currently, the State/USAID Joint Management Council is engaged with four pilots to identify a sole service provider for several ICASS services where State and USAID both maintain similar functions. Whether or not ICASS should continute to be voluntary, or if effeciencies and savings can be realized through a single consolidated administrative service provider overseas and how that service provider should be structured is a question that merits further study.

Evidence: GAO-04-511, Metrics for: personnel efficiency, percent of purchases using micro-purchase card, outsourcing assessemnts, cost containment, and customer satisfaction; State/USAID Shared Services Study/Pilots, new Post based effeciency/cost measures developed by State's Office of Global Support Services and Inovation

YES 20%

Is the program design effectively targeted so that resources will address the program's purpose directly and will reach intended beneficiaries?

Explanation: ICASS is an administrative support program, administrated by government employees for government employees who subscribe to the services provided. Resources are received by the service subscriber through the provision of a service.

Evidence: 6 FAM 900; 6 FAH-5

YES 20%
Section 1 - Program Purpose & Design Score 90%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning
Number Question Answer Score

Does the program have a limited number of specific long-term performance measures that focus on outcomes and meaningfully reflect the purpose of the program?

Explanation: ICASS stakeholders have approved measures focused on improved customer satisfaction, increasing the use of mirco purchase cards for procurement transactions, assessing the potential for outsourcing overseas, and increased efficiency in terms of cost and personnel. These performance measures directly support the principal strategic goals of ICASS: quality services and customer satisfaction, cost containment, and transparency.

Evidence: ICASS Strategic Plan; Global Database Basic Package metrics, PART performance measures

YES 12%

Does the program have ambitious targets and timeframes for its long-term measures?

Explanation: ICASS Service Providers have committed to raise overall customer satisfaction scores from 44% of posts achieving 4.0 on a 5 point scale or greater to 90% through 2009 with escalating annual performance targets, and from 38% of posts achieving 3.8 or better on procurment services to 90% through 2009. Micro purchase cards currently account for 36% of total small purchases. The goal is to raise this to 75% over 4 years with annual performance targets. 100% of posts will complete outsourcing alternatives assessments in 4 years. A goal of decreasing the number of direct hire American service providers to customers has been set from 1/15.9 in 2005 to 1/18 in 2009. In addition, a cost containment measure of 4.5% or below for percent increase in per capita cost growth has been established as an annual goal.

Evidence: ICASS Strategic Plan, ICASS Metrics and Performance Measures

YES 12%

Does the program have a limited number of specific annual performance measures that can demonstrate progress toward achieving the program's long-term goals?

Explanation: ICASS service providers and customers have agreed to several long-term performance goals that will be measured in annual increments, against annual targets, over the next 4 years, as described above in question 2.2.

Evidence: 2004 ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey, Global Database Metrics, ICASS PART performance measures

YES 12%

Does the program have baselines and ambitious targets for its annual measures?

Explanation: Baselines data exist for all measures and amibitious targets and timeframes have been agreed to by ICASS stakeholders and OMB.

Evidence: 2004 ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey, Global Database Metrics, ICASS Performance Measures

YES 12%

Do all partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) commit to and work toward the annual and/or long-term goals of the program?

Explanation: ICASS stakeholders, both service providers and customers, have committed to the established PART annual and long-term performance and effeciency measures. As the principal ICASS service provider, the State Department will ensure that providers in the field and bureau managers in Washington have a clear understanding of both the global annual and long-term goals and their individual role in addressing these goals. Management strategies and individual internal targets are being developed to track the progress of various State organizational elements in achieving the global performance goals. State Department will send out a Management Cable in the 4th quarter to all overseas posts to provide guidance on both measures and potential management strategies. ICASS measures and goals are now being incorporated into FY2007 Bureau Performance Plans (BPPs). Customers are committed to providing input and data as necessary, such a ensuring significant participation of employees on customer service surveys, to support the performance measures. The ICASS Executive Board (IEB), which consists of State and senior customer representatives, has agreed to the performance measure categories and will again discuss PART as part of its 4th quarter board meeting.

Evidence: 6 FAM 900; 6 FAH-5, Bureau FY 2007 BPP, ICASS Measures meeting with State and IEB representatives 4/05, ISC e-mail to IEB 7/12/05, IWG meeting 7/13/05, IEB 3Q and 4Q board meetings, 4Q Management Cable to all post management officers, financial management officers, and ICASS councils

YES 12%

Are independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality conducted on a regular basis or as needed to support program improvements and evaluate effectiveness and relevance to the problem, interest, or need?

Explanation: ICASS has undergone both global and local (at individual overseas posts) reviews, including a recent review by the GAO and State IG post inspections. In addition, several posts have undergone ISO-9000 reviews for business management processes. Post ICASS providers also receive an annual review by their ICASS Council which is composed of senior representatives of customer organizations at post. In 2004, USAID and State contracted for a study of duplicative services at sample posts, which has lead to the implementation of shared services pilots at four posts. The ICASS Executive Board (IEB), which is made up of senior representatives from more than 14 USG Departments and agencies represented overseas meet on a quarterly basis to provide strategic review and direction for the program.

Evidence: GAO-04-511 reports; IG post inspection reports, , annual evaluations of ICASS service providers by post ICASS councils, ISO-9000 reviews, State/USAID Shared Services reviews, and IEB quarterly board meeting minutes

YES 12%

Are Budget requests explicitly tied to accomplishment of the annual and long-term performance goals, and are the resource needs presented in a complete and transparent manner in the program's budget?

Explanation: Funding requests are not currently tied to the accomplishment of performance goals at the post level, bureau level, or agency level. For the FY 2007 budget, the Department will report on ICASS goals in its annual performance summary submitted with the Budget. Bureaus will also include ICASS performance measures as part of their individual performance plans. State Bureaus will present information on the accomplishment of performance measure, strategies to achieve targeted performance goals, and the linkage to resource requests included in budget justifications that are presented to ICASS interagency partners in the annual target setting process.


NO 0%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to correct its strategic planning deficiencies?

Explanation: In 2004 the first ICASS Strategic Plan was developed and approved for implementation by the ICASS Executive Board. The plan sets performance indicators and performance initiatives in support of ICASS strategic goals and provide methods for supporting posts to improve customer satisfaction. The performance measures developed in conjunction with the PART process support the goals in the Strategic Plan. In addition, beginning in 2004, the ICASS Executive Board has actively taken a greater role in the strategic direction and oversite of ICASS.

Evidence: ICASS Strategic Plan, IEB off-site (2004), IEB quarterly meeting minutes

YES 12%
Section 2 - Strategic Planning Score 88%
Section 3 - Program Management
Number Question Answer Score

Does the agency regularly collect timely and credible performance information, including information from key program partners, and use it to manage the program and improve performance?

Explanation: The worldwide customer satisfaction survey was implemented at the end of 2004, data also exists for service subscriptions and personnel ratios in the ICASS Global database, which is updated annually. ICASS, in conjunction with partners, will further develop additional performance information on use-rate of purchase cards, units costs, outsourcing alternatives, and USDH provider/customer ratios. The State Department has used the results of the customer satisfaction survey to identify best practices, which have been provided to all overseas posts. Metrics have been developed for tracking annual total and per capita costs and trend data that will both support performance measures and provide data for detailed comparative analysis to be used to improve performance across the board.

Evidence: Customer survey results cable, CAI best practices cable, IEB cable on using purchase cards and eliminating duplication

YES 14%

Are Federal managers and program partners (including grantees, sub-grantees, contractors, cost-sharing partners, and other government partners) held accountable for cost, schedule and performance results?

Explanation: Through State's perfomance planning process and reviews, post and bureau service providers will be held accountable for meeting targets that support overall ICASS performance measures. Stakeholders share the costs of ICASS training to ensure "buy-in" and maximum participation by post personnel from all agencies. Posts adhere to written procedures regarding ICASS financial management and budget formulation; a one percent penalty reduction is imposed to post budgets for lack of timely submission. Customer agencies review proposed budget targets at the Washington level and detailed budgets at post. Post ICASS Council approval is required for all budget increases and new ICASS positions. Services at post are terminated for agencies failing to pay ICASS bills within statutory timeframe. ICASS precepts are provided to the Promotion Board and ICASS performance standards will be included within individual performance standards for Management Officers and Financial Mangagemt Officers, and responsible program managers understand that they will be held accountable for ICASS performance results as part of their performance review process.

Evidence: 6 FAM 900; 6 FAH-5; 4 FAM / Financial Management; State Department Basic Authorities Act

NO 0%

Are funds (Federal and partners') obligated in a timely manner and spent for the intended purpose?

Explanation: FAM guidelines for financial management are followed and subject to audits and reviews. Periodic reviews of budget targets are conducted to determine whether items are ICASS or program costs. Policy guidance has been established to help identify what should be covered by ICASS. The ICASS working capital fund is a no-year account. This provides individual posts and bureaus with additional flexibitiy for capital planning purposes across fiscal years. Carryover is reported to ICASS customers, and State bureau service providers report annually in the target setting process to the interagency on how those funds will be used for capital planning purposes or offset ongoing requirements.

Evidence: 6 FAM 900; 6 FAH-5; 4 FAM / Financial Management

YES 14%

Does the program have procedures (e.g. competitive sourcing/cost comparisons, IT improvements, appropriate incentives) to measure and achieve efficiencies and cost effectiveness in program execution?

Explanation: The program has established two efficiency measures for the PART for which data and results are currently available. While overseas posts already do some outsourcing on an ad-hoc basis, ICASS will systematically conduct outsourcing alternative analysis on 100% of posts over the next 4 years. A standard evaluation tool is being develop to be used by posts. The State Department's Office of Global Support Services and Innovation has developed a package of post-based effeciency/cost metrics to analyze comparative cost trends, unit costs, and best practices across all posts overseas.

Evidence: ICASS Strategic Plan, IEB cable on use of purchase cards, ICASS PART performance measures, including identifying outsourcing alternatives, ICASS shared-services study and pilots, A/GSSI post effeciency/cost metrics.

YES 14%

Does the program collaborate and coordinate effectively with related programs?

Explanation: ICASS is a voluntary USG interagency shared services platform overseas. Where similar and potentially duplicative services are offered by other agencies overseas, efforts are underway to identify a sole service provider wherever possible.

Evidence: 1996 Congressional report on ICASS; ICASS funded Shared Services Study.

YES 14%

Does the program use strong financial management practices?

Explanation: ICASS receives an annual financial audit. To date, clean opinions have been received with no material weaknesses being reported related to ICASS. Financial management practices are in place, 4 FAM, and followed.

Evidence: RM Audit; 4 FAM / Financial Management

YES 14%

Has the program taken meaningful steps to address its management deficiencies?

Explanation: ICASS has developed a Strategic Plan and conducted its first annual ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey. In addition, aggressive Executive Board action was taken including the establishment of two sub-committees (Finance and Performance & Accountability) and launching initiatives geared toward encouraging administrative innovation and measuring customer satisfaction. Cables have been sent to the field encouraging the use of micropurchase credit cards, and MPP guidance has been sent to encourage the identification and elimination of duplication. Four shared-services pilots have been implemented and additional posts will implement shared-services efforts. Also metrics have been created to better track performance.

Evidence: ICASS Strategic Plan, ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey, IEB cables re credit cards and MPP, Reports from Global Database provided to Overseas Building Operations in support of effort to identify and contain costs, development of ICASS PART measures

YES 14%
Section 3 - Program Management Score 86%
Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability
Number Question Answer Score

Has the program demonstrated adequate progress in achieving its long-term performance goals?

Explanation: The ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey has demonstrated a high level of overall performance satisfaction. There is now a focus on improving upon those areas and individual posts that were rated at less than the average. The percentage of microcard purchases, an annual/long-term effeciency measure increased in FY 2005 to 36% from 32% in FY 2004. The ratio of U.S. direct hire customers to service providers, a long-term performance measure, increased slightly from 15.6 to 1 to 15.9 to from FY 2004 to FY 2005.

Evidence: ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey; PART Performance measures, Global database metrics


Does the program (including program partners) achieve its annual performance goals?

Explanation: Annual goals have been set in conjunction with long-term goals. As noted in question 4.1, the percentage of micro purchase card purchases, an annual/long-term effeciency measure, increased in FY 2005 to 36% from 32% in FY 2004. The ratio of U.S. direct hire customers to service providers, a long-term performance measure, increased slightly from 15.6 to 1 to 15.9 to from FY 2004 to FY 2005. An important annual measure for which baseline data is being set for FY 2005 is annual per capita cost increases. The goal will be to decrease a baseline per capita increase of 7.3% for FY 2005 to 4.5% or below for FY 2006.

Evidence: ICASS Customer Satisfaction Survey; PART Performance Plan


Does the program demonstrate improved efficiencies or cost effectiveness in achieving program goals each year?

Explanation: The ICASS PART has adopted two efficiency measures on mirco purchase card usage and personnel ratio of customers to service providers. The percentage of micro purchase card purchases, an annual/long-term effeciency measure, increased in FY 2005 to 36% from 32% in FY 2004. The ratio of U.S. direct hire customers to service providers, a long-term effeciency measure, increased slightly from 15.6 to 1 to 15.9 to from FY 2004 to FY 2005.

Evidence: PART Performance Measures, ICASS Global database


Does the performance of this program compare favorably to other programs, including government, private, etc., with similar purpose and goals?

Explanation: ICASS services are not systematically compared to agencies, which self-provide support services overseas. Similarly, eligible ICASS services are not systematically compared to private outsourced services. Entities in the private sector have implemented regional and global shared service operations for their international enterprises. Private sector retail and service firms participate in customer satisfaction surveys; ICASS customer satisfaction is comparable or higher.

Evidence: American Customer Satisfaction Index scores for fourth quarter of 2004.

NA  %

Do independent evaluations of sufficient scope and quality indicate that the program is effective and achieving results?

Explanation: ICASS has been found to be generally effective in providing quality support services overseas. It has succeeded in establishing a transparent and equitable cost distribution system to support the provision of administrative services. Customers have indicated through the annual satisfaction survey that they "agree" that, overall, they are satisfied with the services received. That stated, GAO has highlighted that ICASS has not resulted in more effiecient delivery of administrative services or met its strategic goal of reduced or contained costs. The GAO notes that few incentives exist for posts overseas to contain costs by consolidating or streamlining services.

Evidence: GAO-04-511, Customer Satisfaction Survey; IG reviews of individual posts

Section 4 - Program Results/Accountability Score 42%

Last updated: 09062008.2005SPR