Federal Agencies


Much of the federal government’s work is carried out by dedicated career civil servants in federal agencies across the nation. Since these agencies implement the president’s policies and provide services to the American people, they play a vital role in transition planning. 

Federal agencies are required to designate a senior career executive and team members to oversee transition planning prior to a presidential election. They must gather information about agency operations and major pending issues for the incoming transition team or for new leaders of a second term administration; prepare for the departure of political appointees; and balance transition planning with the need to continue delivering on their mission. 


The Center convenes career agency officials to share best practices and exchange ideas for effective transition planning. Our Agency Transition Guide is a “how to” resource based on the lessons learned from career executives who led previous agency transitions. The guide complements a full range of tools and templates to help agencies create briefing materials, engage new appointees from a new or second term administration, and accomplish other transition-related goals.


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2020 Agency Transition Guide

Based on convenings with transition leaders from nearly 40 agencies, the Partnership and The Boston Consulting Group have compiled best practices into a guide for senior career leaders.

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Understanding Federal Records Management during Presidential Transitions

For senior officials, many of their records are permanently valuable and one day will be sent to the National Archives to help document the country’s history. As senior officials often enter and leave federal service during times of presidential transition, there are several things they should know to properly manage and preserve their records.

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Agency Briefing Book Sample Table of Contents

A recommended table of contents for the briefing books agencies prepare for incoming administration teams.

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Agency Briefing Material Bureau/Component Executive Summary Template

A template to be used by agencies to source and organize the information they receive from employees to create the high-level overview of a bureau or component within the agency to develop briefing materials for the incoming administration.

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Agency Briefing Material Deep-dive Template

A template for agencies that helps them source and organize the information they receive from employees to create a deep-dive report on a topic or issue.

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Transition and Agency Directors Coordinating Councils

Infographic that outlines the responsibilities and membership of the White House Transition Coordinating Council and the Agency Transition Directors Council.

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Agency Briefing Material Office/Region Executive Summary Template

A template for agencies to help them source and organize the information they receive from employees to create the high-level overview of an office or region within the agency.

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The Center can provide critical assistance on how to organize and execute a transition; help agency career executives prepare for new political leadership; offer guidance to political appointees on the unique aspects of government leadership; and engage with Congress to promote transition reforms. In addition, the Center can offer insights to help incumbent presidents prepare for a second term and advice on the steps needed for a smooth transfer of power in the event that a new president is elected.

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Looking for More?

To learn more about the Center’s work with federal agencies, please contact Valerie Smith Boyd at [email protected]