National Partnership for Reinventing Government
December and January, 1998
"Conversations with America" Gets Results!
So you’ve been talking and we’ve been listening. We’ve got the dialogue going, but what next? Well, remember in December we announced that we were making the paradigm shift: Federal agencies not only listening to customers, but working to make changes in products, processes, and services based on what they've heard? In short, it’s time to tell you what we did with what we got! Now by no means are we going to stop telling you about how or where we listen to you -- we just think that you should also know how much we value your opinions. As we work to "change government forever", we know we need your help. So here are a few ways we’re using information gathered from our partners, U.S. citizens, to help make this happen:
We keep listening so we can use what we hear
Let’s take a look at who’s told us their listening patterns in February and March.
While two-way conversations can take place in many forms, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government has categorized Conversations with America into four areas. They are as follows.
Here’s a sampling of current and future conversations that are happening all across America. Keep in mind that once you’ve perused the following information, you can find more detailed facts, dates, locations and contacts on specific conversations by visiting our website. Once there, click on Conversations with America, then click on the agencies that are of interest to you.
In February, the Research and Special Programs Administration will conduct the sixth meeting of the Cargo Tank Negotiated Rulemaking Advisory Committee, to develop recommendations for alternative safety standards to prevent and mitigate the unintentional releases of hazardous materials during the loading and unloading of cargo tank motor vehicles. The committee was formed in response to the issuance of an Advanced Notice of proposed Rulemaking, Docket HM-225A to improve the safety of these operations. This negotiated rulemaking is a key effort under NPR’s reinvention activity to engage constituents in problem solving.
The EPA will meet with six focus groups located in small cities in February, consisting of specific customer/stakeholder groups: librarians, news media, pediatricians, environmental educators, environmental groups, and small businesses, to discuss specific information needs. The results of these sessions will be analyzed and compared to similar meetings held in large cities. EPA will use the results to improve its methods and technologies for offering and delivering information to the public.
February 6-10, the ACF will co-sponsor with the National Network for Youth Symposium ‘99—Youth and Communities: Together We are Stronger. Policymakers, decision makers, adults, youth, social workers, psychologists, religious leaders, educators, youth workers, youth advocates and anyone interested in the development of young people will have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue on the positive development of youth at the community, state and national levels.
On March 11 in Raleigh, North Carolina, the Office on Women’s Health will host a listening session, "Women Living Long, Living Well," to consult with and obtain input from women on women’s health issues. This meeting is to insure customer input used in establishing an Office on Women’s Health initiatives. Similar meetings are being held in all regions all across the country.
The Office of Vocational and Adult Education will host "Listening Sessions" in February to talk with state personnel about new legislation, which impacts vocational-technical education programs across the country. These sessions will provide local practitioners, teachers, counselors, and administrators with the forum to speak with Department personnel on the new legislation, and relate how the new provisions will "play" at the local level.
In February, the Bureau of Consular Affairs will participate in two international travel shows to engage in conversations with the public on travel safety abroad and passport issuance. Information gained from the dialogues will be used to improve the services offered by Consular Affairs.
The Tennessee Valley Association (TVA) is conducting what they call the "Voice of the Customer interviews" with a sampling of the distributors of TVA-generated power. This unique process consists of personal interviews with the leadership of roughly one-fourth of the power distributors for the purpose of identifying critical needs, issues and challenges related to their businesses.
In March, EPA will meet with tax counsels, developers, lenders, and accounting firms for a roundtable on the Brownfields Tax Incentive signed by President Clinton as part of the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. The Incentive allows certain cleanup costs at targeted sites to be tax deductible in the year they are incurred. The purpose of the roundtable is to gain feedback to assist in making this financing opportunity as user-friendly as possible.
The Department of Energy and EPA have asked stakeholders to comment on a draft Environmental Impact Statement regarding Brookhaven National Laboratory’s High Flux Beam sites.
The Research and Special Programs Administration’s Office of Hazardous Materials will conduct a public meeting to discuss development and publication of Year 2000 North American Emergency Response Guidebook (NAERG2000). The NAERG2000 is an update of the 1996 North American Emergency Response Guidebook designed for use by firefighters, police, and other emergency services personnel who may be the first to arrive at the scene of a transportation incident involving hazardous materials. To date, more than five million copies have been distributed, without charge, to the emergency responder community.
The FAA Southern Region Administrator and Airports Division Manager will meet with approximately 150 attendees at the South Carolina Aviation Association Annual Conference on February 10-12. FAA will host a panel discussion along with a question and answer session to encourage feedback from customers on how FAA can better serve them.
On February 16, Secretary of Education Richard Riley will host his monthly Satellite Town Meeting, "Teaching Reading: Success Stories from School and Home". Call-in viewers will be encouraged to comment on ways that schools and communities can make teaching reading a priority. His next broadcast will take place on March 6th, and entitled "High Standards at work: Comprehensive Approaches to School Improvement."
DOE's Idaho Rocky Flats Field Office continually hosts electronic conversations. Through the website, the office provides opportunities for public comments, reports on the "State of the Flats", provides access to the Citizens Advisory Board, lists upcoming meetings and shares relevant correspondence.
In March, the Media and Information Services and the National Library of Education will launch an electronic discussion group of National Writing Project teachers and site directors. Information exchanged in this discussion group will provide the basis for publishing a book on tips on how teachers can help their students with writing.
On behalf of AHCPR’s electronic dissemination program, the Setting Priorities for Retirement Years (SPRY) Foundation is conducting an evaluation of the AHCPR website with senior citizens. SPRY is soliciting through scripted online chats, comments on the usability and relevancy of the website in obtaining health-related information.
On February 18, FDA will present a teleconference entitled "Facility Inspections Under the Mammography Quality Standards Act Final Regulations". Participants will discuss implementation of the regulations, receive feedback from facility managers and employees, and have the opportunity to phone or fax in their questions for a response.
The Department of Education’s Teacher-in-Residence, Mary Beth Blegen, will conduct conference calls with nine teachers who are editing and preparing files from the Department’s teaching list for posting on its website. This process will bring together teachers from all across the country to discuss powerful issues.
Beginning in February, the EPA’s Center for Environmental Information and Statistics (CEIS) will begin implementing the second year of its Customer Survey Plan by completing Phase IV of the Center’s four-year Customer Survey Plan (issues July 1997).
CEIS will conduct a national telephone survey of American households to assess potential customers’ environmental information needs and access preferences. Their survey will help CEIS accomplish the following objectives:
- identify audiences for specific types of environmental information that can be accessed by specific means (e.g. internet, newspapers, printed reports, information specialist via telephone, etc…)
- Pinpoint gaps between the public health and environmental questions that their customers are asking and the data and information currently available to answer them.
- Make CEIS more customer-driven.
- Fulfill the Center’s role in meeting EPA’s strategic goal to "Expand Americans’ Right to Know about the Environment."
For More InformationContact Leslie Schwager, National Partnership for Reinventing Government, at (202) 694-0107 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Related ResourcesConversations with America Executive Memorandum