Office of Enterprise Integration Governance Support

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Office of Enterprise Integration Governance Support

Posted on 12.17.22

Inconsistent processes across various boards and councils created challenges for effective information flow

OEI-EGM supports VA’s executive governance process, including establishing policies and standard operating procedures, coordinating governance board meetings, tracking action items, managing the agenda-setting process, and preparing and transmitting meeting minutes and resultant decisions. The office collaborates with VA administration and staff offices to ensure governance processes are consistent agency wide. However, with a department as large as VA, ensuring governance processes and procedures are implemented consistently across the board is challenging.

Over one hundred boards and councils operate under VA. Occasionally, a lack of consistent processes meant less engagement on action items. As a result, it was apparent that OEI-EGM had a wide canvas to streamline operations and improve efficiency.

OEI-EGM wanted a well-designed and effectively implemented enterprise governance program to ensure systems, data and management best practices would improve agency outcomes. VA contracted with Aptive to streamline processes and enhance the flow of information among the various boards and OEI-EGM.


Standardized practices

Aptive helps VA develop standardized governance practices and accompanying materials to implement those processes, including briefing decks, dashboards and templates. The project team is creating a system in which the meeting intake process, calendar items, action items, tasks and notes can exist within an automated process. With this process, information will flow automatically from council or board to the executive board as long as employees enter the information.

Governance forums and communications

VA implemented enterprise-wide governance forums that address policies, processes and related subject matter, including the:

  • VA Executive Board (VAEB)
  • VA Operations Board (VAOB)
  • Evidence-based Policy Council (EBPC)
  • Investment Review Council (IRC)

Each board has a leader, starting with the VA Secretary. Aptive works with them to optimize processes, capture decisions and discussions for official record keeping and facilitate information flow. The project team developed an operational model for the VAEB and is customizing the same operating model for the other boards.

For each governance forum, Aptive prepares monthly and annual reports, plans communication around the new governance processes as they mature and monitors changes as stakeholders adapt to the new processes.

Administrative support

OEI-EGM and Aptive are creating a library with a knowledge management system for automatically archiving information. This system will reduce the movement and potential loss of papers. With an electronic system, a user can view exactly where a document is within the process. With faster input and feedback, processes can progress more efficiently.

The project team also created an email and phone line employees can use to seek guidance about process changes.

Decision rights and board charters

To streamline decision-making and information flow, each board and council needed to determine which decisions they could make independently and which ones the executive board would need to make. The objective is to allow boards and councils to make decisions at the appropriate level, which means defining each group’s threshold regarding what they can approve and which topics should be elevated to the next level. In addition, having councils and boards with decision rights speeds the decision-making process and eliminates unnecessary involvement of multiple boards.

Each board is also developing a charter that defines guidelines for how it should operate. Currently, the executive board and operations board have passed charters and Aptive is defining charters for subordinate boards.


Better information flow for 150 different boards, all operating within a unified process

Working together, VA and Aptive have made VA’s governance processes more streamlined and efficient. For example, the knowledge management process helps information flow efficiently to the right people at the right time.

Interactive, integrated calendars automatically include processes each board needs to succeed and keep personnel on track. In addition, a better electronic flow of information has reduced waiting time for action items and allows employees to access information and provide input instantly.

The change management plan includes techniques to educate all pertinent staff on changes in processes and initiatives, and the communication plan educates all relevant personnel. In addition, multiple board charters have been ratified and more are in the review process. Together, these plans provide greater efficiency to VA’s governance processes.