Introduction to Public Sector Benefits Administration Course Outline

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Benefits professionals are faced with managing a variety of programs for their employees in an environment with continuously increasing health care costs, technology, regulatory and workforce changes. In the public sector, resources are quickly stretched, and benefit plans are subject to public scrutiny.  
As a benefits professional, it is critical to understand these challenges and how to address them. Knowledge about how the public sector operates—broader than just the benefits operation—is crucial in successfully managing a benefits operation. Understanding the value of strategic planning, project management, benchmarking and ethics will contribute to the benefits professional’s effectiveness in delivering benefits to the workforce.  
This session explores proven tools and strategies for navigating the political landscape, project management, RFPs and more. Benefits professionals will leave with new ideas and proven examples of how they can approach their complex assignments strategically and with success. 

Day 1

A. Public Sector Structure
  1. Structure of the public sector 
  2. Governance defined
  3. Plan stakeholders
  4. Benefit plan governance and authority 
  5. Components of benefit plan governance
B. Government Budgeting and Finance
  1. Understanding the difference between budgeting, accounting and financial reporting
  2. General principles of a budget process
  3. Budget process evolution and formats
  4. A typical budget process and related activities
  5. Components of a governmental budget
  6. Government budgeting, benefit plans and considerations 
C. Federal Legal and Regulatory Requirements 
  1. Internal Revenue Code (IRC)
  2. ERISA
  3. Pension acts 
  4. HIPAA
  5. Continuation coverage obligations
  6. ACA and transparency
  7. Other participant protections
  8. Other laws that impact employee benefit plans
  9. Relief acts and guidance
D. Navigating the Political Landscape
  1. Effective benefit program management 
  2. Union negotiations and relationships
  3. Communicating with elected leaders 
  4. Public perception 
E. Strategic Planning
  1. What is strategic planning?
  2. Why is strategic planning important?
  3. Connecting benefits strategy
  4. Strategic plan components
  5. Creating the plan
  6. Aligning resources
  7. Tips for a successful strategic plan
F. Demographics in the Public Sector 
  1. Key differences in the public sector 
  2. Demographics in public sector education 
  3. Demographics in public sector compensation 
G. Human Resource Strategy 
  1. Staffing plan
  2. Workforce planning
  3. Succession planning
  4. Recruitment and retention
  5. Diversity, equity and inclusion

Day 2

H. Developing a Business Continuity or Disaster Recovery Plan 
  1. Identifying the purpose of your plan 
  2. Defining the applicability and scope of your plan 
  3. Developing business continuity procedures
  4. Personal preparedness 
I. Benchmarking and Performance Measurement 
  1. What are they, and why use them?
  2. Benchmarking
  3. Performance measurement 
J. Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
  1. Procurement life cycle 
  2. Sourcing 
  3. Steps in the RFP process 
  4. Stakeholder team 
  5. Scoring and evaluation criteria 
  6. Contract award, negotiation and finalization 
  7. Protests in the RFP process 
  8. Contract administration
K. Project Management
  1. Project leadership
  2. Project goals
  3. Waterfall vs. agile
  4. Project scheduling
  5. Postproject evaluation
  6. Project management resources 
L. Implementing Technology in the Public Sector 
  1. Evaluation, planning and selection steps 
  2. Key principles of change management
  3. Leading causes of project failure
M. Ethics in the Public Sector 
  1. Ethics defined 
  2. Ethics and its importance in the public sector 
  3. Types of unethical conduct
  4. Transparency, disclosure and public awareness
  5. Elements of an ethical organization 
  6. Ethical dilemmas and their resolution
  7. Ethics and government contractors 
N. Case Study
Attendees will discuss a fictional city facing various challenges, including declining revenue, increased demand on services, increasing employee benefits costs and significant demographic changes in its workforce. Attendees will apply learnings from the course to identify and recommend strategies for the city to meet these challenges.