Archive

Introduction ||| Contacts ||| Contents ||| Beneficiaries ||| Business ||| General Public ||| Law Enforcement ||| Natural Resource Management ||| Research and Academic Community ||| States, Localities, and Other Partners ||| Travelers, Tourists, and Outdoor Enthusiasts ||| U.S. Government and Federal Employees ||| Veterans

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Customer Service Standards for

States, Localities, and Other Partners

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Reviews federal actions affecting historic properties.

We are committed to providing you with first-class service. When you conduct business with us, we will treat you with courtesy and respect.

STANDARD

RESULT

Section 106 reviews:

Review of Section 106 projects will be completed within the time allotted by regulation or sooner.

A Historic Preservation Technician position was created to handle the majority of routine cases and noncontroversial cases.

Upon inquiry, we will provide information on project status, estimated time needed to complete review, or any associated problems.

This is currently done in all Section 106 cases.

We will clearly explain our project review decisions so you can understand why and how they were made and what to do if you disagree.

This is done if requested by customer.

To facilitate better communication, the name of the employee responsible for your project, along with a telephone number, will be on every letter.

The referenced data are on all correspondence of all offices.

Technical assistance:

We will respond promptly to requests for assistance or advice on federal historic preservation programs and related matters.

Requests are promptly routed to appropriate staff and answered promptly. Subject matters outside the Councilís purview are routed to the appropriate party.

We will provide appropriate referral to other sources of information if the request falls outside the Councilís purview or we are otherwise unable to address it.

Requests are promptly routed to appropriate staff and answered promptly. Subject matters outside the Councilís purview are routed to the appropriate party.

STANDARD

RESULT

Education and publications:

We will continue to produce publications that are written clearly and address the specific informational needs of our customers.

The Council published Federal Historic Preservation Case Law, 1966-1996 in response to customer demand. We are also producing a guidance document on making determination of eligibility.

We will fill requests for individual copies of Council publications or training information within three working days.

Requests for Council publications or training information are filled in three days or less.

Our publications will be regularly updated to reflect changing laws and regulations, and all publications will have a date of publication on them.

All publications are now dated. When data change, we update publications.

At present we cannot meet all training demands. We will develop a plan that will facilitate the widest possible geographic and special-interest distribution.

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) has developed partnerships with the National Conference on State Historic Preservation Officers, the University of Nevada-Reno, and others to increase the number of courses taught and tailor the contents to meet specific audience needs.

Telephone standards:

Our telephone system is designed to connect you with the person you called or, if they are unavailable, their voice mail. Telephones will be answered by a person unless all lines are busy. If all lines are busy, you will receive clear instructions for leaving a message. Under unusual circumstances, it may be impossible to answer each incoming call. We are working to improve this system.

ACHP has hired a full-time receptionist to answer calls rather than a machine. Major telephone hardware and software deficiencies have been corrected.

Your phone call will be returned within one working day of receipt.

Except in unusual circumstances, someone will return the call within one day. If the person called is on travel, the caller will be referred to someone else who can assist and provide information.

We will respond to your telephone inquires in a pleasant and helpful manner. Immediate, concise information will be provided whenever possible. If such information is not immediately available, you will be informed when you can expect to receive the information.

This is now done. Calls are referred to appropriate staff for response.

Agriculture (Department)

Agricultural Marketing Service

Transportation and Marketing Services

Provides scientific, technical, and analytical services to the agricultural community for domestic and international marketing of agricultural products.

You can expect us to:

Ensure the integrity of our services.

Customer focus groups in 1996 provided valuable input on improving the integrity of two major services/products (grain report, livestock directory).

Deliver services within the agreed-upon time to all customers.

In 1996, 95 percent of all assistance was handled within 24 hours. The weekly market report was delivered 95 percent on time, and the monthly market report was delivered 100 percent on time.

STANDARD

RESULT

Provide up-to-date technical assistance and analysis.

Internet use to collect and deliver information in 1996 more than doubled over 1995.

Use the most cost-effective procedures available.

Responses were favorable to placing the monthly container report on the Internet.

Tailor our services to meet the needs of our customers.

In 1996, three exporter surveys were conducted to determine needed services/usefulness of products delivered.

Food and Consumer Service

Food Stamp Program

Manages the Food Stamp Program in partnership with state, local, and tribal governments.

You can expect us to:

Strengthen nutrition security by promoting policies that ensure all eligible households have access to a healthy, nutritious diet regardless of economic conditions, and by supporting state, local, and community-based nutrition education efforts.

State nutrition education programs for food stamp households increased from 9 to 36 from FY94 to FY96. In FY96, we made grants to 10 nutrition education networks.

Actively pursue policies to streamline regulatory requirements and increase state flexibility in administering the program.

We approved the majority of more than 2,800 state agency requests for waivers to simplify the program. We approved 44 welfare reform demonstration projects that promote self-sufficiency and personal responsibility. Regulatory streamlining has been combined with welfare reform rulemaking. We expect to reinvent 260 pages of regulations and eliminate 88 pages.

Improve program integrity by seeking new and innovative ways to increase benefit accuracy and to reduce trafficking and recipient fraud.

States decreased the national error rate and saved taxpayers over $350 million from 1994 through September 1995. Electronic benefits transaction data have been used to identify and disqualify 103 retailers and more than 16,000 recipients who were trafficking. Taxpayer savings total $900,000. Operation Five-Points, a targeted investigation of over 900 stores suspected of program violations, disclosed 4,333 violations. Penalties will range from disqualification from the program to civil prosecutions. In FY96, we investigated 4,635 stores and found 2,155 violations including 743 stores trafficking food stamps for cash. Forty-one state law enforcement bureaus have signed agreements to help fight trafficking. The Federal Tax Refund Offset Program collected $40 million in 1996 and a total of $110 million since 1992.

Provide assistance to state agencies for implementing electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems to increase customer dignity and benefit security.

All States have electronic benefits transfer development under way; 18 states have operational systems, eight of which are statewide. About 16 percent of all food stamp households use EBT, compared to less than 2 percent four years ago.

Whenever possible, consult with you and solicit your input on the development of policies affecting your operations and ultimate customers.

In FY96, we sponsored Leadership Forums to encourage innovative uses of state and local nutrition education resources. We use a regulatory comment period of at least 60 days. We meet quarterly with states through the American Public Welfare Association and other forums. In 1996, we sponsored national and regional meetings to help states implement welfare reform.

Encourage you to publish customer service standards for ultimate customers.

In October 1996, we asked states for information on their customer service activities.

School Meals Programs

Administers the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs in partnership with state and local governments.

STANDARD

RESULT

You can expect us to:

Solicit your input on changes to program requirements by issuing, whenever possible, proposed regulations with a comment period of at least 60 days.

All school meals regulations in the past year had at least a 60-day comment period.

Assist you in your efforts to implement the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by offering training opportunities, supplying low-fat recipes, improving the quality of commodities, and awarding grants to state agencies to develop a sustainable training infrastructure for schools.

We held training nationwide and distributed a comprehensive training manual to all school districts.

Enhance your efforts to serve fresh fruits and vegetables by providing training on their storage and use and by working with the Department of Defense to procure and deliver these commodities in an economical and efficient manner.

We are partnering with the Department of Defense to deliver nutritious, high-quality fresh produce to American schoolchildren. We have doubled the quantity of fresh produce offered to schools through the commodity donation program, and we are working to offer lower fat cheese and meat.

Support nutrition education through our Team Nutrition campaign, including working with companies, the media, and others to provide posters, videos, parentsí guides, and public service announcements; and using local chefs to work with school food service professionals in our Great Nutrition Adventure.

We are delivering nutrition information through media, schools, and at home to help children make healthy food choices, and we are teaming local chefs with school food service professionals to share techniques and strategies.

Provide you with resources, including a computer bulletin board on the Internet; a traveling exhibit booth; support from community groups, such as PTAs and the Extension Service; and partnership agreements with the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to support your nutrition education efforts for students, parents, and the community.

We have placed nutrition information on the Internet and, in cooperation with the National Agricultural Library, we support Meal Talk, a Web site for food service professionals to exchange ideas, hints, and information. We are teaming with Disney Company, Scholastic, Inc., and the National PTA to distribute materials promoting healthy eating.

Continue our efforts to streamline program administration, enhance administrative flexibility, and reduce paperwork.

We are incorporating the school meals programs into one seamless regulation. We are also expanding the methods for determining eligibility, certifying students receiving food stamps and similar benefits through the appropriate state or local agency, and expanding alternative certification and meal counting provisions based on a schoolís economic circumstances.

Safeguard program integrity through our continuing efforts to suspend or debar companies with a record of fraud and abuse in their transactions with schools.

We are pursuing suspension and debarment actions (over 200 cases) for all individuals and companies that have been convicted of or have had civil judgments entered against them for bid-rigging or other criminal offenses. As a result, many companies have established sophisticated and comprehensive antitrust compliance programs. The improved competition among dairies, as a result of 72 having been debarred or suspended, is expected to reduce the cost of milk in the school meals programs by $37-$74 million annually.

Provide you with materials and guidance on accommodating children with special needs.

Guidance for Accommodating Children with Special Dietary Needs in the School Nutrition Programs was developed in cooperation with the Departments of Education and Justice and is being distributed through state agencies to all school food authorities.

Encourage you to publish customer service standards for ultimate customers.

We will survey state agencies annually to determine the level of customer service activity initiated by the state. If requested, we will assist state agencies.

Office of Inspector General

Conducts audits and investigations.

STANDARD

RESULT

What you, our customer, can expect:

You can expect us to work closely but independently with Congress, USDA managers, and U.S. Department of Justice and state and local attorneys to address important or emerging issues and concerns regarding USDAís programs and activities.

Surveys are attached to final audit reports. Respondents ranked our performance 5.45 out of 7.

We will work proactively with you by directly encouraging your input into the audit and investigative process to identify areas that warrant our attention, and to engage in discussions with you up front on what we plan to do and what you can expect us to provide to you.

Respondents ranked our performance 5.81 out of 7.

You can expect to receive audit and investigative information to solve problems and improve operations. We will keep you involved and informed as our audit and investigative work progresses.

Respondents ranked our performance 5.89 out of 7.

We want to promote a high level of customer satisfaction and to ensure that we are providing you with timely, meaningful, and useful information and solutions to your problems. We plan to answer public concerns about fraud, waste, and abuse promptly, and provide you with accurate and accessible information to improve USDA operations.

Respondents ranked our performance 5.28 out of 7.

You can expect timely assistance to resolve or implement audit or investigative recommendations or information.

Respondents ranked our performance 5.64 out of 7.

We will coordinate regular meetings with you to discuss audit and investigative issues to ensure timely resolution and implementation of recommendations or to address other questions as they arise. We will keep you abreast of information you may need during debate on issues affecting USDA, by way of our issued reports or regular briefings.

Respondents ranked our performance 5.53 out of 7.

Rural Housing and Community Development Service

Community Facilities Loan Program

Provides critically needed financing for the development of essential community facilities to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and Native American groups.

We will:

Keep our promises and be ethical in our service to you.

Survey planned.

Be polite and responsive, and assist you with a staff knowledgeable of our programs.

Survey planned.

Return your calls in an expedient manner.

Survey planned.

STANDARD

RESULT

Be accessible and available to talk to individuals, organizations, and groups about our program.

Survey planned.

Give you assistance with your concerns, referring an appropriate source for problem-solving action when necessary. Our customers will not receive the run-around.

Survey planned.

Respect your right to quality and professional service.

Survey planned.

Treat you just as we would want to be treated ourselves and be fair to all people regardless of race, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

Survey planned.

Be willing to work with you and any persons working on your behalf, and, if appropriate, to cooperate with other lenders or with other federal, state, and local agencies to meet your needs.

Survey planned.

Continually search for customer-related mprovements.

Survey planned.

Listen to our customers to ensure Rural Housing and Community Development Service (RHCDS) regulations and forms are customer friendly and ensure success of the program.

Survey planned.

Efficiently and effectively provide you with assistance.

Survey planned.

Provide technical and professional assistance to our customers.

Survey planned.

Refer you to other sources of information, assistance, or credit if it appears that you may qualify for alternative sources of programs or funding from commercial, private, or other governmental sources.

Survey planned.

Ensure that you are provided with appropriate forms and materials in five working days when you notify a Rural Economic and Community Development office that you are interested in filing a request for financial assistance.

Survey planned.

Provide assistance in completing all aspects of the application upon your request.

Survey planned.

Ensure that your request for financial assistance is reviewed promptly and that you are notified of eligibility within 45 days after we have received a complete pre-application.

Survey planned.

Provide a professional, supervised credit program to further ensure the success of your project.

Survey planned.

Commerce (Department)

Economic Development Administration

Promotes the long-term recovery of economically distressed areas by providing grants to states, cities, counties, American Indian tribes, or private and public nonprofit organizations to generate jobs and stimulate commercial and industrial growth.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will:

Always find the answer. Customers will not be left "phone hopping" from office to office.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Coordinate communications. If a customer sends a proposal for funding to Washington instead of their regional office, we will fax or mail the proposal on the day received to the regional office and advise the customer of this action.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Strive to meet requests for conference speakers and meetings by providing the best resource person available.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Provide publications and manuals at no cost. Annual reports, manuals, brochures, and program information are mailed or faxed to customers within 24 hours of the request.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Provide notification of grant approval status so as to incorporate the distribution of a local press release to promote the project.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Refer customers to the proper federal agency even when they are in need of non-Economic Development Administration assistance.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

National Telecommunications and Information Administration

Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

Assists state and local governments, education and health care entities, libraries, public service agencies, and other groups in effectively using telecommunications and information technologies to better provide public services and advance other national goals.

Commitment to customers:

We will provide you with all the information you need to understand these programs and to apply for funds. Our goal is to respond to requests for information within five business days.

This practice is followed routinely. Requests for information are met within the five business days.

Program staff will be available at any step of the application process to provide technical assistance and to help ensure that your project proposal meets funding requirements.

Program staff is available to help prospective grantees at every step of proposal preparation. OTIAís programs offer a debriefing to all unsuccessful applicants to provide feedback on their proposals and to assist them in preparing future proposals. In addition, TIIAP and PTFP staff are available to provide technical assistance to prospective grantees as they prepare applications for funding.

STANDARD

RESULT

Notices of availability of funds, funding criteria, and eligibility requirements will be widely disseminated through mail, electronic mail, and Internet services such as the World Wide Web (WWW) to keep you informed about these grant programs.

This is routinely accomplished. TIIAP maintained a mailing list of over 15,000 organizations that receive application material, and PTFP maintains a list of approximately 2,500 organizations. Over the past two years, the PTFP and TIIAP Notices of Availability of Funds and Guidelines have also been posted on the World Wide Web, and the programs have provided electronic copies of these materials to prospective applicants when requested. A large number of OTIAís customers obtain this information via electronic access. This year, the TIIP applications were posted on the World Wide Web for the first time.

Customers can subscribe to electronic mailing lists to automatically receive timely information updates from the grant programs.

An Internet listserv is in operation for the TIIP program. Program staff routinely post program news to other lists as well.

Information about all successful applications from previous grant rounds will be available by mail and will be posted on the Internet to help you prepare your application.

Project descriptions of TIIAP grant recipients from FY94-96 and PTFP recipients from FY95-96 have been posted on the WWW. This information is widely accessed by OTIAís customers. Several thousand copies of the project descriptions from FY96 were distributed to interested organizations, and the program distributed over 5,000 copies of Lessons Learned from TIIAP, a report that highlighted a number successful projects from FY94-95. TIIAP recently posted an electronic newsletter on the WWW that provides information about other successful projects.

The grant program staff will be available to conduct seminars and participate in trade shows and conventions in order to provide timely information and answer your questions.

OTIA staff participated in a number of industry meetings and conferences during FY96 to provide customers with information about OTIA programs. OTIA will continue to target these meetings to inform their customers about TIIAP and PTFP activities. TIIAP is conducting a series of six seminars around the country to assist potential grantees in preparing proposals for the FY97 grant round. The first, in Alexandria, Virginia, attracted more than 400 participants.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

States Partners Program

Promotes cooperation between the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and state and local authorities to protect the public against unreasonable risk of death and injury from consumer products.

To serve our state and local partners:

We will develop a state partnership program with you to increase consumer product safety to your citizens.

Eighty-five to-90 percent of respondents indicated that the partnership has helped to eliminate duplication of effort.

We will make available the most current CPSC program and activity information so that you can respond quickly and effectively to your customers.

Ninety-eight percent of respondents indicated that current CPSC program and activity information is available to assist them in responding to customers.

We will respond to your requests for injury data, product recall advice, and education materials within five days.

Ninety-one percent of respondents indicated that inquiries were responded to within five days.

Defense (Department)

Base Transition Office

Properly sizes the Departmentís base structure while meeting responsibilities to affected communities.

STANDARD

RESULT

The Base Transition Office (BTO) will focus on the rapid, thorough resolution of specific issues. Our customer service standards are:

We will respond to correspondence assigned or written to BTO within 14 days of receipt.

Improved customer relations and quality of services.

 

We will work to resolve issues raised in the Base Closure Status Report (BCSR) within 60 days.

Customer concerns recorded in the quarterly BCSR are quickly resolved

We will provide a trained Base Transition Coordinator (BTC) at all major closing military installations requiring significant property disposal.

The customer property disposal process was expedited with the assignment of a BTC at each major closing installation.

We will assist each military department to successfully convey the property at closing installations to local communities.

We improved the process to rapidly transfer properties to customers in communities.

We will assist communities in successfully implementing their approved Local Redevelopment Authority reuse plan.

Customer economic redevelopment of installations has been successfully implemented.

Office of Economic Adjustment: Community Economic Adjustment Assistance

Provides economic assistance to communities.

The Office of Economic Adjustment (OEA) will:

Respond to all telephone inquiries regarding the Defense Economic Adjustment Program within one working day.

Customer communications have improved.

Respond to all written inquiries from the public regarding the Defense Economic Adjustment Program within seven working days.

Customer public relations have improved.

Make an initial community visit to describe the Defense Economic Adjustment Program and assess the local economic impacts of the DoD action within two weeks of a request.

Customer service anxiety has been reduced concerning DoD base closure actions.

Arrange and schedule site visits within five working days of requests.

Customer service relationships have improved.

Arrange for meetings with federal agency representatives within three working days of a request.

Understanding other federal agency programs results in serving customers more efficiently.

Process a final, complete grant application within seven working days.

A computerized program was implemented that serves customer needs within seven working days.

OEA hosts federal team visits to communities so that community and federal representatives can develop an action plan for assistance. OEA meets regularly with federal representatives to review OEA customer requirements and to ensure that requests are afforded priority consideration.

Comprehensive local redevelopment plans that implement community concerns.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Disaster Response and Recovery

Supplements state and local efforts to save human life, prevent immediate human suffering, or mitigate property damage.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will inform state and local officials of our policies and authorities, and participate in their emergency seminars and exercises when asked.

This is not a measurable customer service standard and will be deleted. The Corps will continue to engage in these activities and is developing measurable customer service standards.

We will provide emergency operations assistance (such as providing sandbags, pumps, technical assistance, etc.) when requested and in compliance with Public Law 84-99.

This is not a measurable customer service standard and will be deleted. The Corps will continue to engage in these activities and is developing measurable customer service standards.

We will provide post-flood assistance to include technical advice and assistance, debris clearance, debris removal, and temporary restoration of critical public facilities or services, and identify hazard mitigation opportunities as part of our interagency team.

This is not a measurable customer service standard and will be deleted. The Corps will continue to engage in these activities and is developing measurable customer service standards.

We will provide temporary assistance for emergency water supply as a result of a drought or contaminated source for up to 30 days or until the Federal Emergency Management Agency undertakes the provision of emergency water under its own authorities, whichever is earlier.

This is not a measurable customer service standard and will be deleted. The Corps will continue to engage in these activities and is developing measurable customer service standards.

Environmental Management

Incorporates ecosystem management considerations in all aspects of its water resource projects, including those for navigation, flood control, storm damage reduction, hydroelectric, and recreation.

We will work hand-in-hand with states, cities, and municipalities to fund, plan, and implement needed water and environmental projects that meet federal criteria.

This standard will be deleted. New Civil Works Program performance measures are being developed and evaluated as part of a comprehensive initiative to implement the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

When recommending projects, we will carefully weigh costs and benefits to the environment with economic costs and benefits, reconciling societyís demands with the vital need to sustain our natural environment.

This standard will be deleted. New Civil Works Program performance measures are being developed and evaluated as part of a comprehensive initiative to implement the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

When requested by the Environmental Protection Agency or other federal agency, we will quickly apply our know-how in environmental engineering and management to investigate hazardous and toxic waste on Defense sites, and clean them promptly and thoroughly as funding allows.

This standard will be deleted.

We will continue to work with the public and industry through our four research laboratories to develop new technological solutions to environmental concerns and to make them available quickly.

This standard will be deleted.

Water Resources Operation and Maintenance

Operates 234 locks, dredges over 900 harbors, operates and maintains 383 major lakes and reservoirs for flood control, maintains 2,500 recreation sites, and provides hydropower at 75 sites.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will publish all scheduled lock outages and maintain procedures for notification of unscheduled outages.

Corps districts provide notices to navigation interests announcing scheduled and unscheduled lock outages and meet with navigation interests to discuss timing issues for these outages.

We will coordinate and share information with federal, state, and local officials of potential flood conditions.

This standard will be deleted. Program performance measures are being developed as part of a comprehensive initiative to implement the Government Performance and Results Act of 1993.

We will maintain the harbors and rivers of Americaís waterways so that they are open to traffic.

We and our dredging contractors dredged 234 million cubic yards of maintenance material during FY96, keeping open 12,000 miles of commercial inland waterway and over 500 harbors.

We will maintain all recreation facilities in a clean and safe condition, and we will treat all of our visitors courteously.

The survey conducted during the 1996 summer recreation season indicates that the Corps can improve in restroom cleanliness and in providing water safety information. Additional surveys will be conducted in 1997 and 1998. The highest rated categories were staff helpfulness, safety and security, and park appearance.

Water Resources Planning, Engineering, and Construction

Provides developmental capabilities for water resources projects affecting the United States, in partnership with state and local communities.

We will work closely with other federal government, state, and local officials to complete a definition of the problem with a goal of completing this activity for large projects within 12 to 18 months. These studies will be federally funded.

The FY96 performance target: Complete 90 percent of scheduled reports within 12 to 18 months. Result: 50 of 52 reports scheduled (96 percent) for completion were completed in an average of 13.9 months.

We will work to develop a feasibility report of potential solution(s) for large projects within four years, for referral for action to Congress. These studies will be cost-shared.

Performance target: Complete 80 percent within the time standard. Result: 23 of 25 reports scheduled (92 percent) were completed within the time standard; in fact, 7 of the 23 reports exceeded the standard.

For those projects authorized, we will complete pre-construction engineering and design within two years. The design is federally funded up front. The local sponsor will be asked to share design and construction costs when the project is under construction.

FY96 performance data was not available at the time this report went to press.

We will provide the sponsor with an estimate of the construction costs and schedule prior to construction, and we will meet regularly with the sponsor to manage risks.

This standard will be deleted.

Education (Department)

Office of the Secretary

Ensures equal access to education and promotes education excellence nationally.

STANDARD

RESULT

If you contact us with an inquiry about the Department of Education (ED) or ask for other information:

We will answer your written inquiry within 15 working days.

Anecdotal data and focus group feedback indicate that this is a relevant standard. The monthly agency assessment system data indicate taht ED staff and offices exceed this standard and achieve a 12-day average turnaround time. ED is considering updating this standard to 10 working days, and is in the process of conducting a satisfaction survey of its correspondence customers.

If you telephone us, you will speak to a knowledgeable person who will answer your question or refer it properly. You will receive no more than two referrals.

Baseline customer data indicate that customer referrals remain a relevant standard. The ED standard is based on an open matrix of information services. A mystery shopper survey of all ED call centers shows that 69 percent of calls are resolved within two referrals, 76 percent within three, 94 percent within four, and 99 percent within five. The National Performance Review standard is 85 percent resolution at the first point of contact for call centers dedicated to specific missions. An implementation plan will be undertaken to strengthen ED information systems and to make referrals more targetted, accurate, and responsive to caller needs.

We will answer phone calls promptly, within three rings, and return all voice-mail messages within 48 hours.

Baseline customer data indicate that telephone promptness remains a relevant standard. Data obtained from mystery shopper survey indicate that 55 percent answered within one ring, 80 percent within two rings, 88 percent within three rings, 94 percent within four rings, and 99 percent within five rings. Anecdotal data on voice-mail reply promptness indicate that we are complying with the standard.

We will respond to your e-mail messages within 48 hours.

A customer survey has been approved by the Office of Management and Budget and will be conducted shortly to obtain feedback data. All anecdotal feedback indicate that ED is meeting this standard.

If you have a personal appointment with a Department employee, you will not be kept waiting.

No measurement conducted. Anecdotal feedback indicate that ED is meeting standard. The standard is being reviewed for relevancy.

If you request one of our publications or documents:

Requests for single copies of publications by telephone will be sent within 48 hours.

Evaluation data indicate that ED is meeting this standard. ED is also writing a performance-based contract for one-pubs distribution. Responsiveness to publication requests will be a component of measurement criteria with which the contractor will have to comply. This contract will also include customer feedback requirements, specific data measurement criteria development, and customer satisfaction.

Requests for single copies by mail and all bulk orders will be filled within 72 hours.

Available data indicate that ED is meeting this standard. See comments relating to previous action taken on publications.

Publications and documents will be made available in alternative formats on request.

This is now ED policy and is under review. This standard will be made a part of the one-pubs contract requirement. The Office of Special Education provides 100 percent compliance with the standard for its customers.

We will give you the option to receive information in electronic form where possible.

This is now ED policy. All data indicate compliance with the standard and customer satisfaction with availability. The one-pubs contract will also make this a criteria. The standard is under review.

STANDARD

RESULT

If you contact us about a complaint:

We will respond to written complaints within 15 working days.

Internal measurement indicates that this standard is met 100 percent. The standard is now ED policy. It is under consideration for consolidation with the correspondence standard.

If you telephone us with a complaint, we will advise you on the telephone or refer your complaint to the proper source.

Anecdotal data indicate compliance with the advisement component of this standard, and mystery shopper referral data indicate compliance with the referral component. The standard may be consolidated with the correspondence standard.

If you are a prospective grant applicant or existing grantee, or if you are a prospective or current recipient of student financial assistance:

We will disseminate timely and accurate information on grant opportunities and provide clear guidelines for grant proposal and criteria for selection.

We are in the process of reengineering the discretionary grants system based on customer feedback. We accomplished process improvements to comply with customer expectations on timeliness, guidelines, and criteria for selection. These improvements are now grant policy and procedures. We will continue to seek customer feedback through additional customer surveys.

We will disseminate timely and accurate information on student financial aid application procedures and program provisions.

We have made improvements in making timely and accurate information available to both students and institutions in response to their feedback. We are studying further improvements. Applications are on-line via the Internet, and we instituted listservs for institutions and created other feedback loops to allow rapid interaction and turnaround of products and information in response to customer needs. EDís recent institution of technological enhancements to permit direct customer interaction on-line via the Internet and the Direct Loan initiative are additional examples. We have a system of surveys in place to seek ongoing customer feedback.

We will acknowledge receipts of requests for administrative actions and other inquiries within 48 hours.

The standard is now ED policy. All anecdotal data indicates compliance with this standard. This standard is being considered for revision or deletion, but ut remains a program office standard.

Final response on administrative actions will be completed in 30 calendar days.

The standard is now ED policy. All anecdotal data indicates compliance with this standard. The standard is being considered for revision, but it remains a program office standard.

Grant award documents will clearly identify which requests should be referred to the grants specialist or program specialist and which grantee actions do not require prior approval.

All grant documents have been changed to reflect these new requirements based on customer feedback. This is now grants policy and procedure. The standard is being considered for revision, but it remains a program office standard.

We will provide timely, accurate, and dependable technical assistance.

Anecdotal data indicate compliance with this standard. The standard is being considered for revision, but it remains a program office standard.

We will provide information that explains the final funding decision.

The standard is now ED policy and all matters related to final funding decisions are made available to grantees. The standard is being considered for revision, but it remains a program office standard.

We will institute sensible reporting requirements and, when conducting monitoring and site visits, perform exit interviews and make final monitoring reports available within 30 days.

Compliance is now a matter of policy. This standard is being considered for revision, but it remains a program office standard.

Environmental Protection Agency

Protects public health and the environment.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will be courteous, professional, flexible, honest, and helpful in all dealings with our customers. We will actively listen so we can better understand what motivates our customers and how we can best provide the environmental products, services, and information they value, and be fully responsive to customer concerns and needs regarding our services.Training options have been researched, and a program will begin in FY97. Surveys of permit applicants and citizens involved in the permitting process have been conducted in three regions. Some of the survey questions will provide quantitative data concerning this standard. Staff members across the agency have been encouraged to meet this standard.

We will answer all telephone calls promptly and will respond to them by close of the next business day. If the person receiving the call cannot fully respond to the inquiry, the customer will be accurately referred to someone who can.

Region VI developed a telephone use and training plan that is based on a two-week recordkeeping effort to determine call sources and problems handling calls and accounts for limitations of equipment. Implementation, staff training, and measurement of the standard will begin in FY97.

We will respond to all external correspondence within 10 working days of receipt. If we cannot provide a complete reply within 10 working days, we will contact the customer as soon as possible within the 10-day period to acknowledge and clarify the request, discuss what is needed to provide a full response, and indicate when a full response will be provided.

Freedom of Information Act and controlled correspondence systems track and provide status information to EPA managers. "Overdues" have decreased since the system and reporting were instituted. Training in and measurement of the standard will begin nationwide in 1997.

We will provide our customers with clear, easy-to-understand, timely, and accurate information about products, services, policies, and procedures. We will ensure that customers have easy access to information, available through convenient channels in various formats.

A recently completed survey of citizens involved in EPAís permitting process will provide quantitative information concerning this standard. The Office of Pesticides Programs (OPP) used customer feedback to redesign and expand its home page. Information is easily accessible via the Internet.

Relationships with our co-implementors of environmental programsóthe states, tribal and local governments, and other federal agenciesówill be characterized by partnership, flexibility, and assistance that empowers them to expand their ability to deliver environmental protection.

EPA continues to work with the states on Performance Partnership Grants and on the National Environmental Protection Partnership System to decrease reporting burdens and enable states to focus on environmental results. OPP conducted nine public meetings, 30 site visits, and a regional conference related to its Worker Protection Standard (WPS). OPP plans to conduct four state-regional conferences to proactively involve states in decisionmaking and priority setting of WPS program goals. The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) has been working on improving customer service since its inception in December 1994. Last fall, over 50 PESP liaisons were trained in customer service. Each of the PESP partners and supporters is given a liaison from OPP who acts as the service representative to the partner/supporter.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will seek customer input to inform our decisions on policies, programs, and rules.

Region V is holding focus group meetings on its reorganization and service standards. In developing Internet accessibility, EPA participates in the Federal Web Consortium which enables the exchange of experiences, linkages, and consistency among federal partners. In the Urban Wet Weather Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) Committee, representatives from states, municipalities, and the general public meet to identify and discuss issues associated with urban wet weather flows. In the Storm Water Phase II FACA Committee, representatives from states, municipalities, and the general public provide input to EPA on solutions to storm water environmental problems. In the Total Maximum Daily Load (TMDL) FACA Committee, participants provide EPA with advice on identifying water-quality-limited bodies of water, establishing TMDLs for them, and developing appropriate watershed protection programs for these waters. In the Effluent Guidelines Task Force, representatives from industry, academia, publicly owned treatment works, states, citizen groups, and EPA offer advice on long-term strategies for the effluent guidelines program and provide recommendations on how to expedite promulgation of this program. In the National Drinking Water Advisory Council, representatives from the general public, state and local governments, and public interest groups provide recommendations on guidance and policies related to EPAís drinking water programs. The Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) established under FACA represents all customer groups and held its first meeting in July 1996. OPP has conducted nine public meetings and 30 site visits around the country related to the Worker Protection Standard. Surveys of the permit applicants and citizens participating in EPAís environmental permit process have been conducted in Regions 1 and 6 (NPDES)and Region 5 (UIC). The surveys will provide quantitative information on how clear, fair, appropriate, and effective EPA environmental permits are and how knowledgeable, responsive, cooperative, and available EPA staff are. A survey has been prepared that will quantitatively determine how successful EPA has been in working with representatives of delegated programs to improve EPAís delegation processes so that they are as efficient, effective, and nonburdensome as possible.

Environmental Permitting

Regulates waste disposal and discharges to the air, water, and land.

We will prepare permits that are clear, fair, appropriate, and effective.

Surveys of permit applicants and citizens who participated in the permit process have been conducted in Regions 1 and 6 (NPDES) and Region 5 (UIC). The survey will provide data on this standard. A report on the results will be completed in April 1997. Regional Offices will then consider if surveying is appropriate for their permitting programs.

Our staff will be professional, courteous, knowledgeable, responsive, cooperative, and available.

Surveys of permit applicants and citizens who participated in the permit process have been conducted in Regions 1 and 6 (NPDES) and Region 5 (UIC). The survey will provide data on this standard. A report on the results will be completed in April 1997. Regional Offices will then consider if surveying is appropriate for their permitting programs.

We will work with representatives of delegated programs to continually improve our delegation processes, so that they are as efficient, effective, and nonburdensome as possible.

A survey has been prepared to obtain data on this standard. The survey will be sent to the Regional Offices for their use in March 1997.

STANDARD

RESULT

For the regulated community, we will make our permit decision within the timeframe that is established for the type of permit requested.

The Regional Offices will be requested to establish permit review goals for any permits issued and begin tracking performance. This request will be made in March 1997.

Partnership Programs

Develops partnership relationships to set and reach environmental goals.

We will always treat our customers with professional courtesy and respect.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

We will proactively provide our customers accurate, up-to-date, and reliable information, products, and services, including high quality documents and publications.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

We will actively listen to our customersí concerns and needs regarding our services and will develop technical assistance services designed to address those needs and concerns.

The Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP) has been working on improving customer service since its inception in December 1994. Last fall, over 50 PESP liaisons were trained in customer service. The training included: (1) service delivery skills; (2) transferring/referring customers; (3) phone skills; (4) active listening; (5) how to deal with challenging customers; (6) delivering bad news; (7) recovering from a mistake with a customer; and (8) what to do when customers are wrong. Each of the PESP Partners and Supporters is given a liaison from the Office of Pesticide Programs who acts as the service representative to the Partner/Supporter. Customer service is the major focus for our liaisons. Additional customer service standards specific to the PESP effort were adopted to deal with Partners/Supporters. To emphasize and practice these customer standards, during the annual PESP Workshop in November 1996, liaisons attended the sessions with their Partner and/or Supporter. We also scheduled other meeting times during the workshop for interaction. The conference evaluations indicate that customer service is of prime importance to our PESP Partners and Supporters.

We will ensure that inquiries will be referred to the right office and individual in EPA, or beyond EPA, if appropriate. We will encourage customers to report back on unsuccessful referrals.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

We will respond as expeditiously as possible to inquiries for information.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

We will strive to make information available through various channels, including electronic media, faxes, and intermediaries such as state assistance organizations, trade associations, and state agencies.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

We will recognize and publicly acknowledge the accomplishments of our customers who achieve success in applicable partnership programs.

In December 1996, Hammer Awards were presented to 1,300 companies involved in EPAís 33/50 program.

We will streamline our customer reporting requirements to be more practical and less burdensome.

To participate in the 33/50 program, the only requirement was that each company write a letter of commitment to whatever goals the company sets.

Pesticide Registration

Provides pesticide registration information.

STANDARD

RESULT

These standards are still undergoing review by customers and staff and will be revised in the near future. Because of the new Food Quality Protection Act of 1996, (FQPA) enacted August 3, 1996, marketing, implementation, training, and measurement of customer standards are under way.

We will answer telephone calls within 24 hours of receipt, when possible. If the person receiving the call cannot fully respond, the customer will be forwarded to someone who can.

Staff have been encouraged to meet this standard. Training of staff and measurement of the standard will commence in 1997.

We will try to answer all correspondence within 10 working days of receipt. However, if our customers have raised questions that require extensive research to answer, it may take us longer. If we cannot provide a complete reply promptly, we will contact the customer within the 10-day period to explain the cause of the delay and indicate when a full response may be expected.

Staff are aware of the standard. Marketing of the standard, staff training, and measurement of it will commence in 1997.

We will seek opportunities to involve all affected stakeholders prior to major regulatory or policy decisions.

The Pesticide Program Dialogue Committee (PPDC) was established under the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA). It represents all customer groups and held its first meeting in July 1996. The Office of Pesticides Programs (OPP) conducted nine public meetings and 30 site visits around the country relating to the Worker Protection Standard (WPS). Information from these meetings will be used to develop strategies to improve WPS administration.

We will provide clear and accurate information about the policies and procedures for pesticide registrations and re-registrations.

OPP used customer feedback to redesign and expand its home page. Information is easily accessible via the Internet.

We will process applications and complete evaluations as promptly and as efficiently as possible without compromising either scientific quality or health and safety considerations.

As part of its overall streamlining efforts, and in response to the FQPA of 1996, OPP is establishing a new Antimicrobial Division (AD) to manage the registration and re-registration of non-food-use products. The AD will pursue an interdisciplinary approach which will allow most registration and re-registration activities to be consolidated within a single division. The AD is expected to be in place by early 1997.

We will ensure that we meet our statutory responsibilities to provide customers with easy access to all available information on pesticides.

OPP used customer feedback to redesign and expand its home page. Information is easily accessible via the Internet.

We will proactively involve states, tribes, and EPA regions prior to establishing major policies or making major regulatory decisions affecting them.

OPP conducted nine public meetings and 30 site visits around the country. Information from these meetings will be used to develop strategies to improve administration of the WPS. OPP held a WPS regional conference in November 1996. Information from this workshop will be used to develop strategies and goals for successful WPS implementation. OPP plans to conduct four state-regional conferences to proactively involve states in decisionmaking and priority setting of WPS program goals.

We will undertake periodic surveys to find out what our customers think of our services and how we could make further improvements.

OPP continues to assess customer satisfaction via other mechanisms, including stakeholder meetings and the PPDC.

Rulemaking

Provides assistance and information in the regulatory development process.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will ensure that customers have input to the rule development process by conducting public forums and using electronic media and other forms of communication.

EPA held public hearings on compliance certification application for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) in Carlsbad New Mexico (Februrary 19), Albuquerque (February 20), and Santa Fe (February 21). EPA created a WIPP Bulletin Board, a WIPP Information Line (1-800-331-WIPP), and has made publications available in both English and Spanish.

We will write rules so they can be understood by the people who use and implement them. Rules will be tailored to the legal and technical knowledge and resources available to those affected.

Plain English rule writing is being stressed.

We will include, in the preamble of all Federal Register notices accompanying a proposed or final rule, a plain English explanation summarizing the problem the rule is trying to solve, a summary of what the rule requires, and a short explanation of how the rule solves the problem.

This is being incorporated into the rulemaking under development. A summary precedes our rules, and a question/answer format is being tested.

We will work to ensure that all members of the regulated community know what is expected of them. To the extent possible, we will notify all known parties who must comply with the rule through written or electronic media.

 

Five technical exchange meetings on WIPP were conducted in FY96 with DOE and other stakeholders at Washington and New Mexico. EPA maintains a public docket in Carlsbad, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe. All documents are placed in the docket. A federal advisory committee (WIPP Review Committee) was established to advise EPA on complex technical issues and to ensure that implementation of the 1992 WIPP Land Withdrawal Act is efficient and effective.

State, Tribal, and Local Program Grants

Provides grants to states, tribes, and local municipalities to provide environmental protection.

The Program Grants Core Process standards were distributed to customers in August 1996 with a questionnaire approved by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). The initial feedback from the 387 state, local, and tribal customers polled indicates that 64 percent of the respondents were either satisfied or somewhat satisfied with the agencyís overall grant award and administrative process. Nearly 60 percent of respondents indicated that they were satisfied with the Agencyís current grant negotiation process, and 90 percent of respondents were satisfied with how the Agency responds to requests for grant amendments or modifications. Over 60 percent of respondents characterize the EPA grant paperwork burden as less than average, to average. In contrast, only 29 percent of survey respondents were satisfied with the Agencyís process for obtaining outside comment/feedback on EPA grant program guidance.

We will reduce the amount of grant paperwork by at least 25 percent through such activities as consolidation of application and reporting requirements, electronic transfer, and multiyear grant work programs.

Various initiatives are under way to streamline/reduce the administrative burden on grant recipients, as well as provide additional funding flexibility. For example, EPA is currently moving forward with the Performance Partnership Grants process that will provide states and tribes the flexibility to combine funds from several categorical grants to address environmental priorities. Over 25 states have either applied to or expressed interest in this program. Efforts are also under way to revise EPAís grant regulations to formalize this process. EPA is also initiating the P2000 Program, which will enable grantees to prepare grant applications and work programs electronically-a desire expressed by over 80 percent of survey respondents. The P2000 effort will also enable grantees and EPA to monitor progress electronically. Other initiatives are under way to explore the feasibility of using multiyear grant agreements, e.g., Section 106 grants.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will acknowledge receipt of grant applications within 10 working days.

This notification concept is currently not a formal requirement within EPA. Results from the survey effort listed above, indicate that some EPA regional offices are already providing this type of notification service. The Grants Administration Division is designing a survey instrument to solicit customer satisfaction data from the Grants Customer Relations Council membership, including Regional Grants Management Offices. Data on time requirements for acknowledging receipt of grants are under consideration for this instrument.

For established grant programs, we will award grant funds within 90 days after receipt of a complete grant application (provided that the EPA office has received funding authorization).

The Agency is committed to achieving this goal for state, tribal, and local grant programs, and in many cases has achieved the 90-day grant award target. For example, two Office of Water grants (Sections 106 and 319) have committed in guidance to award grants as early as possible in the federal fiscal year. Section 106 state program grant guidance, for example, outlines an accelerated grant negotiation process to allow for grant awards by October 1 each year, or as soon as EPA funding is available. Section 319 grant guidance for FY97 also encourages grant awards by October 1 of each federal fiscal year.

We will consult, in a timely manner, with states, tribes, and localities throughout the development of all major grantsí guidance and policy documents.

Recently, the Agency provided increased opportunity for our grants customers to participate in shaping Agency program grant guidance. For example, the Office of Water consulted with the Association of State, Interstate Water Pollution Control Administrators and its members to revise the Nonpoint Source Program grant guidance issued in May 1996. Other efforts are under way within the Agency to utilize the Federal Advisory Committee Act process to obtain recommendations and improvements to various EPA programs funded with EPA grants - e.g., the Total Maximum Daily Load process under Section 303(e) of the Clean Water Act.

Health and Human Services (Department)

Administration for Children and Families

Provides health exams, immunizations, and early childhood enrichment, and other activities aimed at increasing the economic and social well-being and productivity of families.

The Department of Health and Human Services and its grantees (primarily states, local governments, academic institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations) are partners in delivering quality services and supporting research to improve the lives of the American people. The following initial standards express our commitment to making this partnership as cooperative and effective as possible. We look forward to suggestions as we develop these standards and improve our partnership.

Emphasize program outcomes rather than process.

The Adminstration for Children and Families (ACF) published two editions of Achieving Success, the ACF Report Card. This is the culmination of efforts with our partners and stakeholders to identify performance measures and targets that will drive our programs toward more results-based outcomes.

Provide prompt, courteous service and accessible information.

ACF has conducted two basic surveys: a Partners Satisfaction Survey targeted to 660 grantees to assist in the evaluation of grants performance, and an Office of State Systems sent to 400 state public assistance agencies. The results will provide baseline data for measuring improvements.

Provide technical assistance to help our partners meet program goals.

The Partners Satisfaction Survey has two specific questions to measure customer perception of the quality of technical assistance received. This information will provide the necessary baseline data for measuring improvements.

Health Care Financing Administration

Medicare and Medicaid

Manages the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

STANDARD

RESULT

Written responses::

We will answer your written inquiries within 30 days of receipt. If, on rare occasions, we have reason to believe that responding will take more than 30 days, we will acknowledge your inquiry within 10 days.

All Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) components report that written responses are answered within 30 days: HCFA manuals require such a response rate for Medicare carriers and maintenance of a database. HCFA requires clearly written, accurate responses in the appropriate tone. HCFA field staff conduct on-site review of contractor-written letters.

Telephone standards:

We will respond to your telephone inquiries in a pleasant and helpful manner. We will provide an immediate answer whenever possible; a firm commitment as to when an answer can be provided; or, at your request, an accurate referral to the proper party or a return call from someone who can help you. On at least 80 percent of your calls, you will be on hold for less than two minutes. Calls made in off hours will be returned the next business day.

HCFA carriers are required to respond to beneficiaries within 120 seconds (no more than 20 percent of all callers should wait longer) and to maintain data on required response rates. HCFA field staff monitor these data and work with the carriers (who receive 30 million-plus calls per year) to ensure compliance.

Information needs:

We are reviewing all of our publications and notices to ensure that they can be understood by our customers. Our proposed changes will have customer input, as will their evaluation. By the end of this year, we will begin introducing our revised communications.

All major HCFA publications have been completely revamped based upon focus group surveys. All publications are also reviewed for sensitivity to disabled, low-vision, and low-literacy groups. HCFA distributed a revised and simplified Medicare Handbook to 37 million beneficiaries in 1996, and comments have been overwhelmingly positive. Three new prototype publications have been developed using focus groups and case studies on content and format.

Medicare claims processing:

We will process your claims for service accurately and within the times provided for in the law. If you are dissatisfied with the action we take on your claim, we will process your appeal accurately and within the times established in our published standards for contractors, and we will reduce the paperwork burden associated with appeals. Claims processing is evaluated monthly to ensure that 95 percent of all electronically submitted claims are processed within 14 to 30 days. Paper claims are processed within 30 days.

We will provide you with more consistent determination on your claims by improving and simplifying our claim processing system.

Improvements in providing more consistent and simplified claims and notices have been made using input from consumer advocacy groups as well as beneficiary focus groups. Initiatives are also under way to replace the Medicare Explanation of Medicare Benefits with a Medicare Summary Notice which will be more consumer friendly.

STANDARD

RESULT

Customer satisfaction:

We will measure your satisfaction with Medicare, Medicaid, and managed care plans through the use of customer surveys, focus groups, public comments, meetings with customer representatives, etc.

All programs use focus groups, public comment, and, to some extent, surveys to review satisfaction with services. As part of the current Medicare Beneficiary Survey, a new segment on customer satisfaction has recently been added. In 1997, Managed Care Plans serving Medicare enrollees will be required to participate in the Consumer Assessment of Health Plan survey.

We will seek your ideas and the assistance of voluntary membership groups representing your interests in setting standards and evaluating our performance.

In FY98, Medicare will require all carriers to interact with community groups and special-needs populations. Medicaid has requested results of all beneficiary satisfaction surveys from the states for use in evaluation of consumer satisfaction. HCFA has an ongoing relationship with organizations representing Medicaid beneficiaries and various special-need populations to discuss new initiatives and concerns.

We will accurately identify those segments of our customer population that may have special needs related to vision, hearing, mobility, literacy, the use of English, health status, and other factors. We will make a special effort to discover and define these needs and will strive to provide reasonable accommodations and access to services and program information. We will employ people qualified to address these challenges, and then encourage inclusive and innovative thinking in our workforce.

In FY97, all Medicare carriers are required to complete customer service plans describing specific outreach projects to identify special populations needs and ensure that adequate information and outreach are achieved. States are now being surveyed for customer service plans that will also include this type of information for the Medicaid population. HCFA employs several staff members to follow special-needs populations, including low-level literacy, low-vision, as well as physical and other disabilities. For example, HCFAís major publications are now available on audiocassette.

Health issues:

We will prepare and distribute clear, understandable materials about the benefits and disadvantages of the managed care option, including performance data about individual plans, to assist customers in their health care decisionmaking.

Three prototype information booklets have been developed to explain Medicare managed care and to help new beneficiaries determine whether managed care is the best option for them. An innovative worksheet to help compare costs between fee-for-service and managed care has been developed. Review and revision of these booklets will be completed in FY97. Information about the managed care option is now included in the initial enrollment package which all newly eligible beneficiaries for Medicare receive.

Medicaid special standard:

HCFA will encourage all states to establish customer service standards for Medicaid, and we will work with them to ensure a goal of continuous improvement in customer service and program administration.

All states have been requested to submit customer service plans and beneficiary satisfaction surveys. These will be used during FY97 to develop more specific standards for states in these areas.

Health care quality:

We will provide doctors and hospitals with information they can use to give better care to our beneficiaries, and we will monitor the effect of those activities.

HCFA contracts with the PROís to improve processes and outcomes of care to Medicare beneficiaries through measurable quality improvement projects. PROís collect data concerning physician and hospital performance in providing care and services, share the data with providers to demonstrate opportunities to improve care, identify practices that will improve performance, and measure the effect of interventions taken. PROs report on the progress of their projects, and HCFA carefully monitors PRO performance.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will expedite our investigative and case review process as much as the law will permit when a complaint involves quality issues.

HCFA has drafted manual instructions which reduce the time to conduct a complaint investigation by up to three months. In FY97, PROs will begin conducting pilots to study improved processes for handling complaints. HCFA is also revising the complaint reporting system to enhance monitoring capabilities.

We will respond to verbal or written complaints from beneficiaries or their representatives by mailing a complaint form to them within two working days of the telephone contact or responding in writing to written beneficiary complaints within 10 working days.

HCFA is decreasing the number of days in which PROs process and respond to beneficiary complaints regarding quality of care.

Program administration:

We will fully investigate all potential program fraud and abuse leads to protect against unnecessary expenditures.

States and Medicare carriers are required to have fraud units and follow up on all complaints. Operation Restore Trust, a special anti-fraud-and-abuse project, has been successful particularly in south Florida in discovering and halting fraudulent practices. The HIPAA enacted the Medicare Integrity Program, which will be implemented nationwide.

We will work assiduously with our customers to identify and implement creative and effective approaches to improving our programs and our performance.

Medicare and Medicaid programs constantly work with providers and beneficiaries to reach this goal through the use of focus groups, case studies, and research projects.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

Provides activities in support of efforts to improve substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention services.

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its grantees (primarily states, local governments, academic institutions, nonprofit community organizations, and Indian tribes and tribal organizations) are partners in delivering high-quality services and supporting research to improve the lives of the American people. The following initial standards express our commitment to making this partnership as cooperative and effective as possible. We look forward to suggestions as we develop these standards and improve our partnership.

We will:

Invite our partners to collaborate in the development of HHS program policies and procedures.Emphasize program outcomes rather than process.

All SAMHSA programs require outcome evaluations and promulgate standards for outcomes in their announcement documents.

STANDARD

RESULT

Provide prompt, courteous service and accessible information.

SAMHSA provides clearinghouses, TDD lines, 1-800 numbers, a World Wide Web page, bulletin board service, multilingual access, technical assistance (TA) centers, RADAR network, and other channels to make information accessible. SAMHSA convened focus groups of employees to collect their input and feedback on how to improve SAMHSA and give our customers the best service. A customer satisfaction survey is under development.

Process waiver requests from states as quickly as possible, generally within 120 days.

SAMHSA has asked to review waivers affecting its customers, but does not process such requests directly. SAMHSA customer (partners whose waivers we review) satisfaction survey is under development.

Provide technical assistance to help our partners meet program goals.

SAMHSA program staff, TA centers and other grants and contracts, and other supported services provide TA to our partners to help them reach program goals.

Work with our partners to ensure integrity in the use of public funds.

SAMHSA has developed rules, grants management procedures, requisite financial and progress reports, audits, site visits, and other means to help partners meet integrity standards.

Assist our partners in developing their own standards of customer service.

Because of SAMHSAís mission to improve substance abuse and mental health services, all of SAMHSAís TA, grants, and other activities assist our partners in improving customer service. Specifically, customer-service assistance is under development.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Clearinghouses

Improves substance abuse and mental health treatment and prevention services.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Adminstration has two clearinghousesóthe National Mental Health Services Knowledge Exchange Network (KEN) of the Center for Mental Health Services (CMHS) and the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information (NCADI) of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention.

Make federal information relating to substance abuse and mental health readily accessible to the public.

NCADI widely advertises its services through billboard, magazine, radio, and TV public service announcements; distributes over 100,000 catalogs; and offers information through 1-800-number computer and voice lines, a World Wide Web (WWW) site, and other channels. It received, for example, 16,000 inquiries in February. KEN offers information through a WWW site, 1-800-number bulletin board service (BBS) and voice line, and other channels. In January, for example, KEN processed 3,000 requests via mail and telephone, 8,000 BBS hits, and 5,600 WWW hits. KEN has produced brochures, promotional pieces, stickers, a newsletter, and fact sheets in its first year of operation.

Keep current on advances in information technologies (i.e., hardware, software applications, and telecommunications) and integrate these technologies, as appropriate, to enhance responsiveness to customer requests.

The NCADI WWW page won two awards in the last six months, and processed 431 e-mail messages, for example, in January. It provides on-line searchable databases, including services searchable by city, state, and Zip Code. KENís award-winning WWW site supports on-line ordering, searchable databases, and links to other sites. Technology is reviewed systematically and annually. A notebook PC with LCD projector enables staff to present on-line demos.

Promote and operate a dedicated incoming FTS 2000 line for TTD access for persons who are hearing-impaired.

This was implemented by NCADI and KEN.

STANDARD

RESULT

Support special promotions and public education campaigns.

NCADI currently supports the Girl Power Campaign and the Reality Check campaign. KEN supported Communities Together and other outreach activities in its first year.

Treat all our customers with courtesy.

NCADI and KEN personnel receive customer service training, including courtesy training and anti-stigma training. KEN training explicitly addresses compassion and consumer sensitivity.

Answer telephone calls promptly during core working hours, usually between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. EST. Standard information may be provided through automated menu choices, and telephone answering equipment/voice mail shall be used for overflow calls. Requestors shall be called back within two business days.

NCADI calls are answered within four rings; fewer than 15 percent of callers have to wait on hold. Specialists are on duty from 8:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. overnight, a telephone ordering system accepts orders. In January, for example, 31 of these calls required a call back, which was done one day after receipt, with 94 percent of callers reached. KEN calls are channeled through an automated attendant system that permits voice messages; calls are returned the same day or, for after-hours calls, the next day.

Respond within 24 hours to high-priority informational requests (e.g., disaster-related information about mental health services).

KEN provides same-day or next-day (for after-hours calls) responses. Staff members have crisis counseling training and respond to crisis calls appropriately.

Process standard responses within five business days of receipt. Inquiries requiring individualized responses shall be answered within 10 business days of receipt or sooner if specifically requested by the project officer.

NCADI has special staff members to work with federal and media customers. KENís standard response to requests is within two days. Customized responses take up to five days.

Ensure high-quality, consistent content, organization, and presentation of information on federal agency servers using established federal standards; and more important, help users find pertinent information to answer their agency-related questions.

NCADI performs a quality control survey and has a semi annual review done by an evaluation board. KEN staff members participate in ongoing training and frequently review WWW links to other agencies. The database is updated monthly.

Housing and Urban Development (Department)

Departmental Standards

General:

Every customer is entitled to courteous treatment.

Customer survey is planned.

Every customer should be provided additional assistance should the need arise.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide adequate telephone coverage throughout the business day to receive calls and answer questions.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide an interim response when a complete response requires additional time for research or there is a heavy workload.

Customer survey is planned.

Solicit feedback and react to customersí comments.

Customer survey is planned.

Train all employees regularly on customer service.

Customer survey is planned.

Encourage teamwork and ensure that all staff are thoroughly informed.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide basic program training to clerical staff, particularly those who deal with the public.

Customer survey is planned.

STANDARD

RESULT

Ensure that each person in the organization conducts himself/herself as a professional.

Customer survey is planned.

Diversity managerial standards (administrative):

Continue to insist that all staff remain aware of and sensitive to different sex, ethnic and racial groups that benefit from or should be benefiting from HUD programs.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Be certain that the principles of ensuring diversity are included in all written policies, program regulations, handbooks, guidance documents, and issuances for both employees and the customers we serve, issued by headquarters.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Recognize HUD employees, in the field and at headquarters, who have provided evidence of outstanding support, promotion, and performance in encouraging and improving a diversified workplace environment.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Achieve fairness and equality in the selection and promotion of managers, supervisors, and staff consistent with merit staff principles.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Inform all employees of the existence of the Career Counseling and Development Center and the various career development and training opportunities offered by the HUD Training Academy.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

General diversity managerial standards:

Encourage the continued use of the Department-wide Individual Development Plan (IDP).

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Identify and set aside targeted positions for the Upward Mobility Program.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Recommend the use of cross-training and rotational assignments for both field and headquarters employees, to assist them in understanding how the where various functions and offices of HUD fit together.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

All managers and supervisors should disseminate the Departmentís policy statement on affirmative employment, sexual harassment, and diversity to all employees.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Continue to insist that all staff remain aware of and sensitive to different sex, ethnic, and racial groups that benefit from HUD programs.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Encourage all employees to actively participate in Special Emphasis Program observances and activities.

Customer survey will be conducted upon completion of diversity training of all managers.

Office of Community Planning and Development

Stimulates community development through grants and loans to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations.

STANDARD

RESULT

Caring and commitment: A critical, but perhaps unmeasurable, standard for treating customers is the intangible factor of motivation to achieve the underlying mission of caring about the needs of HUD clients and helping them solve their problems.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Timeliness: A common standard for customer service is timeliness. An importantOffice of Community Planning and Development (CDP) standard established in the Consolidated Plan rule for responding to local partners is that CPD has 60 days to review the plan. Section I cites a timeliness standard imposed on grantees, in response to customer complaints from the public, of 15 working days.

Our field staff has provided a vast majority of 1,000 consolidated plans on time, without having to revert to automatic approval. Homeless Notice of Funding Availability applications have been reviewed and selected in less time than in prior years. We do not have response time to customer complaints by grantees. However, we have received few citizen complaints about this issue.

Flexibility in methods of achieving goals: CPD should allow its local partners flexibility, within the framework of the statutes, to achieve goals.

CPD has reduced the planning, application, and reporting requirements from 12 to 1 consolidated plan and one set of reports. Our experience with the first two years of operation of the program is that grantees have more flexibility in achieving local goals because they have a single action plan for all major formula programs. At the same time, CPD has devolved power to field offices to approve consolidated plans and has permitted field staff more flexibility in interpreting laws and regulations. Regulations have been kept to the minimum required by law, permitting field staff flexibility to make decisions in response to local conditions. CPD staff has worked with grantees to make use of the computerized Integrated Disbursement and Information System (IDIS) which will display more accurate and timely data on results. Once data for a full yearís activity have been collected, they will be placed in a national database so that city-by-city data on results will be available to everyone. Over 200 grantees are now using the system, and another 220 are in the process of coming into the system. Field offices have done assessments of most of their grantees based on the results they have achieved compared to objectives. Even in the absence of complete IDIS information, the CPD Annual Reports for the first time in 1994 and 1996 show estimated number of jobs created, homeless persons served, and homes built or rehabilitated.

Performance orientation: CPD should help ensure that our local partners produce results that serve our clients.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Courtesy and respect: Every HUD customer deserves respect and courtesy.

Each CPD Field Office Director is given a rating by the Area or State Coordinator on customer service in the annual EPPES ratings. A large portion of the CPD Directors have been given high ratings on this item. Courtesy and respect are an essential element of this item. In addition, few customer complaints have been received about discourteous treatment by field offices.

Honesty and integrity: Strict adherence to the federal governmentís ethics code and the Departmentís own standards of conduct is a critical part of maintaining proper relationships with customers.

There have been virtually no charges of fraud or dishonesty by CPD staff in the past four years.

Fairness and impartiality: Customers are entitled to equal treatment with respect to the services for which they are eligible.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

STANDARD

RESULT

Information accuracy and availability: HUD customers rely on accurate, timely, and complete information concerning CPD, HUD, and federal programs.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Clarity: Communication with the public, state, and local partners should be in terms that the general public can understand.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Competence: In order to provide accurate and timely information, CPD staff should be knowledgeable in the program areas or processes for which they are responsible.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Partnerships and entrusting authority: Partnership is the emphasis in CPD in working with state and local governments and nonprofit agencies to serve end users.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Responsiveness to needs of end users: The needs of low- and moderate-income end users of CPD program assistance vary from place to place and change over time.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Accountability: With greater decentralized authority to the field comes greater accountability.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Evaluation and feedback: Part of any effort to improve performance in service to clients should be systematic evaluation and feedback to improve service.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

Regulatory Initiatives

Seeks to further fair housing through development of regulations and other guidance, administration of Executive Order 12892, and innovative projects to involve other federal agencies in removal of barriers to housing choice.

Customers, including the lending and insurance industries, consumer advocates, fair housing and civil rights groups, government officials, the press, members of protected classes, and the general public, can expect the following administrative customer standards:

Provide guidance on interpreting fair housing law through the publication of proposed regulations.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide substantive comments on housing implications of proposed HUD regulations and policy.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide substantive comments regarding fair housing implications of proposed legislation.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide training and informational briefings as requested to HUD employees, housing related industries, consumer advocacy, fair housing and civil rights groups, government officials, the press, members of protected classes, and the general public.

Customer survey is planned.

STANDARD

RESULT

Provide timely responses to questions and concerns of customers regarding fair housing requirements and responsibilities to affirmatively further fair housing.

Customer survey is planned.

Office of HousingóFederal Housing Administration

Fair Housing Assistance Program

Implements fair housing policies and enforces fair housing laws.

Grants administration:

Cooperative agreements and pertinent attachments and appendices will be written in easily understood language with reimbursement requirements and timeframes clearly set out.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide continuous technical assistance.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide updated information and materials that assist in carrying out the provisions of the cooperative agreement.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Certification processing:

Technical assistance will be provided to agencies seeking certification. All requests will be acknowledged within six months.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Send agencyís law or ordinance within three working days to the Office of General Counsel for legal analysis so an agreement between HUD and partner may be executed.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Advance notice will be given of the date and documentation required for on-site technical assistance and performance assessment visits.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Performance assessment:

We will provide guidance on criteria to be used to assess agency performance.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Joint investigations:

All joint investigations will be completed within 150 days.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Referral of complaints:

Referrals will be made in writing within five business days of HUD receipt of complaint.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Determinations regarding jurisdiction under the Fair Housing Act will be made on all complaints before referral.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

STANDARD

RESULT

Approvals and closures of active cases by HUD reviewers in the field offices will be made 90 days after receipt of the case.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

In-depth reviews of closed complaint files will be completed within six weeks.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

All dual-filed complaints will contain a HUD case number and an agency case file number.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Technical assistance:

We will provide guidance on drafting legislation.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide guidance on enforcement activities.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide testimony to legislators.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide assistance to agencies seeking certification.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Training and policy guidance:

Partners are to receive all information in an easily understood format and language.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Technical assistance activities and materials provided will be timely and useful.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide updated and adequate policy guidance.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

We will provide training to improve investigative skills.

Parts 1 and 2 of the customer survey were conducted; part 3 is currently being completed. This standard is a direct result of the outcome of parts 1 and 2.

Fair Housing Initiatives Program

Assists projects and activities designed to enforce and enhance compliance with the Fair Housing Act and substantially equivalent state and local fair housing laws.

Customers of the Fair Housing Initiatives Program can expect the following customer service standards.

Administrative:

Provide guidance in implementing activities.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide guidance in how to prepare reports and other deliverables.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide guidance in how to prepare applications and outcome documentation.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide timely responses to questions, concerns, vouchers, and reports submitted for review.

Customer survey is planned.

STANDARD

RESULT

Financial matters:

Provide technical assistance in compliance with the Office of Management and Budget circulars and HUD regulations.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide training in financial management.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide technical assistance in preparing budgets.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide timely payment of vouchers.

Customer survey is planned.

Programmatic:

Provide training for potential applicants during the Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) period.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide information about the benefits of funded projects to the community in enforcing fair housing.

Customer survey is planned.

Communicate with prospective applicants on the status of their applications.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide technical assistance telephonically regarding HUD regulations and program concerns.

Customer survey is planned.

Select grantees and award grants expeditiously.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide thorough/adequate evaluation of deliverables given to the Department by the grantee.

Customer survey is planned.

Provide concise and accurate notification of NOFAs and application requirements.

Customer survey is planned.

Mortgage Assignment Program, Mortgage Approval Process, Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance, and Section 203(k) Programs

Stimulates housing through direct financing, loan guarantees, interest rate subsidies, and mortgage insurance.

You can expect our employees to meet the following standards:

Respect:

Every customer is entitled to courteous treatment.

Supervisors spot checking telephone conversations have noted improvements.

Every employee represents the Office of Housing.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Display name plates or wear name tags as appropriate.

Name plates are provided to most staff.

Identify yourself and your organization every time you have a customer.

Employees have been instructed to identify themselves each time they answer the telephone.

Donít drop the ballódirect correspondence and telephone calls to the correct party.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

When transferring a customer, take time to reassure the customer that assistance can be obtained by speaking with another party in the office and that the caller is not being shuffled around.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

After assisting a customer, offer to provide additional assistance at a later time should the need arise.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

STANDARD

RESULT

Provide a "real person" alternative to all voice-mail messages.

Voice mail in Housing provides the option of pressing "O" for a "real person."

Strive to provide foreign language alternatives and alternatives for the deaf and blind, when necessary.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Quality products:

Provide all available information to a customer on the first call or letter; ensure that all questions are answered.

Office directors ensure that all controlled correspondence is answered completely, to the full intent of the questioner.

Write in plain English, not technical or government jargon.

Office Directors ensure that all controlled correspondence is answered in plain English.

Follow up regularly to ensure that quality products are provided.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Advise customers/partners in writing when new policies or changes are being considered; involve them in the development phase.

The Office of the Faur Housing Adminstration Comptroller, Single Family Insurance Operations Division, has instituted a quarterly newsletter (FYI) to partners describing evolving practices.

Consider the needs of customers/partners when developing products and procedures.

Focus groups with industry partners and field office staff are always used when new initiatives and directions are considered.

Apprise customers/partners of operational problems; e.g. donít wait for the customer to call only to be told the system they need is down.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Reach out to customersógo to their place of business when possible; conduct regular conference calls.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Include a contact name, organization, telephone number, and effective date on every document; e.g., handbook, mortgagee letter, congressional and general correspondence.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Timely service:

Ensure adequate telephone coverage throughout the business day; answer all phone calls by the third ring.

When "real person" telephone coverage cannot be provided, voice mail is available. Staff members have been instructed to return all calls in a timely manner.

Respond to all telephone inquiries within 24 hours.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Respond to written correspondence within 10 working days.

An automated system provides responses to common letter inquiries, speeding responses to customers. The Housing Correspondence Unit also tracks timely responses for mail received within Housing.

Provide an interim response when a complete response requires extra time for research or there is a heavy workload.

When correspondence requires more than 10 days to prepare a response, an interim response is sent.

Provide 1-800 customer service numbers when possible and economically feasible.

A 1-800 number is in use for homeowner phone calls.

Establish quantitative customer service goals and incorporate them into performance standards and Housingís plan where possible.

The Office of Housing has included a customer service goal in the Employee Personal Performance Evaluation System plans of all managers.

Establish quantitative processing standards for each program or function.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

STANDARD

RESULT

Solicit feedback and react to customer comments.

Office/division directors throughout Housing receive far fewer complaints. Housing receives far fewer congressional inquiries.

Train all employees regularly on customer service initiatives.

Conducted pilot customer service training to 12 percent of the workforce; will expand this if funding is made available. Some division directors have conducted seminars for staff on customer-focused service.

Institute random supervisory quality control checks to ensure that appropriate and adequate customer service is provided.

Conducted periodically, but not systematized.

Encourage teamwork so all staff are thoroughly informed.

Many offices within Housing have created the team concept for accomplishing the many and varied tasks handled by the Office of Housing.

Provide basic program training to clerical staff, particularly those who deal with the public.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Include in the headquarters telephone directory and each field office telephone directory a contact name and telephone number for each program area.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Always conduct oneself as a representative of the organization.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

Public and Indian Housing

Provides subsidies and regulations on public and Indian housing operations.

Standards for our Public and Indian Housing (PIH) partners include the following:

PIH offices should be open to the public and available to do business during conventional work hours as that concept is defined locally.

PIH offices are open and available to do business in accordance with locally defined standards (core hours).

Any PIH staff person receiving an incoming inquiryóby telephone, letter, or personal contactó"owns" that inquiry until the substance of the inquiry has been conveyed to the office or individual responsible for a substantive response.

As part of the PIH roll-out process, inquiries are assigned by subject matter areas. Inquiries, as received and assigned, are "owned" until a substantive response is provided.

During business hours, customers inquiring in person should wait no more than two minutes to be greeted and given an idea of when a technical person will be available to respond.

Specific measurement criteria are being developed.

During business hours, all telephone calls should be answered by a person within three rings.

To provide greater customer service, PIH employees have individual telephone lines. Therefore, customers can make direct contact with a given individual. In the event that person is unavailable, voice-mail service is used.

To the maximum extent possible, PIH field offices and headquarters offices will have a live person responsible for answering the telephone, promptly, every minute of the business day, including "flex-time" hours.

As stated above, PIH employees have individual telephone lines. However, a common office line remains available for use by those individuals unaware of this service. In addition, in accordance with locally defined standards, coverage is available resulting from the use of flex-time.

Each office will establish a procedure whereby the principal receptionist or other telephone-answerer has a regular backup, and a mechanism by which the regular lets the backup know that he or she is "on call."

It is our understanding that Departmentally, as applied to Field Office operations, each program cyclinder is required to provide backup receptionist/telephone answering service.

STANDARD

RESULT

Messages left by phone or in person should be returned by the time promised by the message-taker or within a half-day of the respondentís return to the office.

This standard is being met. We know of no instances where either field or headquarters staff members failed to follow through on messages left by phone or in person.

Interior (Department)

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Serves as the steward for Indian and Alaskan Native lands and monies held in trust by the United States.

We will provide you with up-to-date information about the status of your claim, application, case, or inquiry on the day of your visit to our office.

No reportable results.

We will answer your telephone call in a pleasant, courteous manner and be responsive to your questions. We will return your phone call by close of business the next workday. If we are not able to assist you, we will direct you to the necessary office that will help you.

No reportable results.

We will respond to your written inquiries within five days of receipt of your letter, and we will seek resolution of your problems within 30 days.

No reportable results.

We will consult with and provide feedback to you regarding education issues under consideration through regularly held regional education consultation meetings.

The Office of Indian Education held nine consultation sessions throughout Indian country during the last year regarding issues that required an open discussion and joint deliberation of options between the tribes and Bureau of Indian Affairs education officials.

We will develop all new rules and regulations in partnership with tribes.

BIA has completed the final rule and regulations for the Self-Determination Amendments by working in partnership with a tribal advisory group which agreed to and supported the final document which was published in the Federal Register in July 1996. A similar effort is now under way to develop administrative procedures for the implementation of the new regulations, again in partnership with tribes. Another major effort that has been under way since July 1996 is the establishment of two federal/tribal workgroups to identify BIAís inherent federal functions, their cost, and the legal authorities mandating these functions.

We will establish a formal consultation process through which comments and concerns by tribal governments will be sought.

BIA has not yet established a formal process for consultation with tribes that can apply to all federal agencies dealing with tribal governments that has been approved by the majority of tribes, the Department, Congress, and the White House. In the meantime, BIA has been holding consultations with tribes on every major policy by announcing meetings in the Federal Register and through tribal leader letters. These mechanisms are intended to give all tribes every opportunity to provide input into policy proposals. The Bureau often publishes the results of the consultation sessions in the Federal Register to let tribes know the changes their involvement caused.

Office of Surface Mining

Ensures that coal mines are operated in a manner that protects citizens and the environmen, and that abandoned mine lands are restored to productive use.

STANDARD

RESULT

Technology development and transfer:

We will provide technical assistance through timely and high-quality technical training in areas related to SMCRA. The training will result in the increased ability of regulatory and reclamation personnel to meet their duties and responsibilities in a more informed, efficient, and effective manner.

Four hundred and fifty-six participants attended 26 sessions of 13 different technical training courses. The Office of Surface Mining is awaiting information collection clearance from the Office of Management and Budger for follow-up evaluations that will be sent to students and their supervisors three months after classes. The evaluations will ask if knowledge and skills acquired at courses assist students in performing their work more efficiently and effectively.

We will identify customer needs and provide opportunities for customer input into program curriculum; consumers will be able to participate directly in program implementation by serving on course design and presentation teams.

All state, tribal, and OSM offices were surveyed for their technical training needs. Nine courses were revised and updated and four new Abandoned Mine Land courses were developed as a result.

We will increase usage of the Technical Information Processing System (TIPS).

TIPS usage has increased by 83 percent in the past year. Training of state/federal/tribal employees will enhance further usage.

Each office will document a public outreach effort and its impact on decisionmaking in each state during the evaluation year.

OSM conducted a number of meetings to provide its customers/stakeholders with input into regulatory issues, policies, and procedures affecting regulatory activities, annual workplans, performance agreements, and responses to citizen complaints. Numerous other meetings were held to discuss industry issues, permit decisions, and technical issues.

We will make sound environmental decisions by applying engineering and scientific principles with computers in areas of data entry, analysis, validation, storage, transfer, and problem solving with accepted and appropriate software models or applications.

Systems, such as TIPS, are now being used by all mine teams, which has led to an increase in the number of permits submitted electronically to states.

We will ensure that a framework exists between OSM and its customers within which existing technical problems can be raised, evaluated, and resolved. Open discussion and evaluation in an atmosphere conducive to learning and applying the latest technical research and solutions available will be encouraged.

OSM is jointly working with states on problem-solving teams to address issues in order to improve program implementation. A number of these teams include industry representatives, environmental groups, and private citizens.

Through the Western Regional Technical Team Meetings and monthly conference calls, feedback will be solicited and followed to ensure customer satisfaction. We will provide early identification of technical assistance needs and provide prompt response to requests for customer satisfaction.

As a matter of business, monthly conference calls have been taking place; as a result, 20 issues have been prioritized.

We will conduct workshops and interactive technical forums to facilitate the sharing of experiences and raising issues for the resolution of specific Title IV and V environmental issues involving all stakeholders (states, tribes, industry representatives, citizens, and OSM).

OSM is currently developing a workshop/forum for citizensí groups through the state regulatory authority.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will establish workgroups to identify and recommend solutions to technical problems where potential environmental damage or non-achievement of SMCRA goals is in question. We will resolve long-standing issues/problems leading to successful reclamation and full SMCRA compliance.

OSMís regional offices provide technical assistance to states in resolving difficult technical issues.

At OSMís mine map repository, each scheduled visitor will be provided prompt and courteous service.

All visitors were provided with prompt and courteous service.

At OSMís mine map repository, letter and fax requests will be answered within one working day, except for requests requiring extensive research and mass reproduction of mine maps.

OSM answered all requests within the required timeframe.

At OSMís mine map repository, requested site locations will be provided within 90 minutes of any inquiry.

OSM provided 90-minute response times on 80 percent of the 347 requests for assistance received in FY96.

At OSMís mine map repository, materials will be available to help identify and easily locate underground mine sites.

OSM provided assistance to all customers in identifying locations on the underground mine maps.

Environmental Protection

Ensures that coal mines are operated in a manner that protects citizens and the environment.

To achieve continued improvement in state primacy programs, federal programs and federal lands programs, and to achieve the goals of SMCRA, we will accurately evaluate the success of state program implementation by measuring reclamation success and off-site damages.

The evaluation of the number and degree of off-site impacts is ongoing, with only minimal data collected. The preliminary data is not adequate to make any supportable successes. The Office of Surface Mining (OSM) will continue to evaluate this area.

We will provide timely and efficient access to public files.

OSM maintains public evaluation files that are available to the public at any time. No complaints were received from the public regarding this standard.

We will provide reports to permittees within 15 business days.

OSM provided copies of all final reports to permittees within 15 business days.

We will provide the opportunity to meet and confer with customers/stakeholders regarding problems and issues relating to environmental protection and surface coal mining operations.

OSM conducted a number of meetings to provide its customers/stakeholders with input into regulatory issues, policies, and procedures affecting regulatory activities, annual work plans, performance agreements, and responses to citizen complaints. Numerous other meetings were held to discuss industry issues, permit decisions, and technical issues.

We will work with the states to increase the number of acres released from Phase III bond.

OSM is working with its partners to improve the timeliness of all phases of bond release; 48,773 acres were released from Phase III bond.

We will work with the states to increase the number of successful cooperative acid mine drainage (AMD) prevention/avoidance efforts.

This is a new initiative, and OSM is working jointly with its partners to incorporate in their inspection programs and AMD inspection initiative developed.

We will protect the environment and the public from off-site impacts attendant to or resulting from surface coal mining and reclamation operations.

The number and degree of off-site impacts is under ongoing evaluation with only minimal data collected. The preliminary data are not adequate to make any supportable findings regarding successes.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will ensure that coal mining operations on federal lands are regulated by either states under cooperative agreements or by OSM.

All primacy states have approved programs with cooperative agreements in place. OSM maintains responsibility in two non-primacy States.

We will conduct program operations with due regard to trust responsibility and government-to-government relations.

OSMís statutory provisions are currently under development. OSM is holding meetings to assist Tribes in program and regulation development.

We will draft statutory provisions, for presentation to the Department and Congress, to allow tribes to seek primacy in the regulations of surface coal mining and reclamation on Indian lands.

OSMís statutory provisions are currently under development. OSM is holding meetings to assist tribes in program and regulation development.

Upon passage of legislation, we will assist tribal governments in accordance with their desires to become the primary regulatory authority under SMCRA.

OSMís statutory provisions are currently under development. OSM is holding meetings to assist tribes in program and regulation development.

We will provide for continued federal, state and tribal capability, authority, and responsibility to implement the provisions of Title V of SMCRA.

OSM makes recommendations that improve the statesí administration of approved programs. Financial reviews are also conducted and funding provided to ensure the continued success of the program.

The availability of state program amendments will be announced in the Federal Register within 20 business days after receipt.

This standard was met 81 percent of the time. In cases where the standard was not met, delays were customer-oriented and outside OSMís control.

Our Applicant Violator System (AVS) office will provide permit recommendation evaluations to the states within 72 hours of request.

Almost all (4,458) recommendations were provided to state regulatory authorities within 72 hours of request.

Our AVS office will provide abandoned mine land emergency and nonemergency contract award evaluations within 72 hours of request.

One hundred percent (600) recommendations were provided for AML contract award evaluations.

Our AVS office will respond to outside industry requests for information within 10 business days of request.

One hundred percent (47) of requests for information were received.

Environmental Restoration

Ensures that abandoned mine lands are restored to productive use.

To achieve continued improvement of the state Abandoned Mine Land (AML) program in achieving the goals of SMCRA, we will accurately evaluate state implementation of the AML program by measuring hazard abatement and restoration of disturbed lands.

Cumulative and annual measurements of reclamation accomplishments indicate that the states/tribes are implementing their AML programs. Oversight teams will develop annual reports documenting the results of evaluations.

For emergencies in federal program states and states without emergency programs, an initial site visit and determination of emergency will be made within 48 hours of the complaint.

OSM responded to 91 percent of the emergency complaints within 48 hours of receipt.

We will eliminate, as rapidly as practicable, suddenly occurring hazards to human health and safety resulting from pre-1977 coal mining activity.

OSM eliminated, as rapidly as practicable, all sudden AML emergency conditions that occurred in FY96.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will minimize exposure of the public to the suddenly occurring hazards (time from emergency report to start of actual work).

OSM minimized exposure to the public by initiating emergency abatement within 20 days on 228 emergency declarations in FY96.

We will abate high-priority hazards to human health and safety resulting from abandoned coal mining operations.

OSM abated all high-priority hazards to human health and safety.

We will restore disturbed lands and abate environmental damages resulting from abandoned coal mining operations.

OSM and the states cooperatively design AML projects in order to avoid any AML-related problems during on-site construction.

To ensure continued state/tribe responsibility and authority to implement approved AML programs, we will encourage the timely resolution of outstanding 30 C.F.R. Part 884 letters; and review, in a timely manner, state reclamation plan amendments.

Four program amendments were processed, and three outstanding Part 884 letters exist.

For emergencies in federal program states and states without emergency programs the abatement method will be determined within 30 days after the initial complaint, unless there are extenuating circumstances beyond the Agencyís control.

OSM determined the abatement method within 30 days of the initial complaint on 228 emergency projects.

For emergencies in states that administer their own programs, state emergency declarations will be finalized by us within eight hours of receipt of the state submittal.

OSM processed and finalized all State emergency declarations after receipt of each complete submittal within one day.

We will work with the states and tribes to increase the acres of land made available for productive use in each state with sites in the AML inventory.

OSM and its partners accounted for the reclamation of 9,592 acres on 285 sites.

We will work with the states and tribes to increase the number of successful cooperative acid mine drainage cleanup efforts.

OSM formed numerous partnerships with stream restoration groups throughout Appalachia and provided seed money for 13 projects.

We will process each submitted complete grant within 60 days of receipt.

OSM successfully processed each submitted complete grant application within 60 days of receipt. A total of 105 grant actions were processed in FY96.

U.S. Geological Survey

Provides the nation with reliable, impartial information to describe and understand the Earth.

Customer treatment:

Customers will be treated with courtesy.

A customer response card is part of each order mailed from our Information Services Branch in Denver (5,000-6,000 per month) and the EROS Data Center. For 1996, fewer than 1 percent of the cards returned to the EROS Data Center had negative comments. A new question regarding courteous treatment will be added to the next version of the card sent from Denver, and data will be collected and analyzed.

We will provide technical assistance to customers.

U.S. Geological Survey subject matter experts respond to complex technical or scientific requests by fax, e-mail, and telephone contact. Pages of frequently asked questions (FAQs) are now on the World Wide Web, enhancing access to USGS scientific and technical information. www.usgs.gov

STANDARD

RESULT

We will resolve our customersí needs through a single point of contact when possible.

Single-point contacts have been established through 1-800-USA-MAPS and through the "Ask a Geologist" program on the Internet. These help eliminate many transferred phone calls and incorrect referrals. Nine USGS Earth Science Information Centers provide single point of contacts for walk-in, telephone, mail, and e-mail customers.

Timeliness:

Customers will be helped as soon as possible.

Walk-in customersí needs are met promptly. Flexible staffing methods now direct additional personnel to customers needing assistance during peak periods. Facsimile orders sent to Denver for standard products are handled on the same day received. At EROS Data Center, customer inquiries increased 100 percent in 1996. The response time to customers was maintained by technological improvements to the telephone and inquiry systems.

Telephone calls will be returned by the close of the following business day.

In most cases, 1-800-USA-MAPS calls are answered, or a return call is placed, within one working day. An ABACUS telephone monitoring system has been installed in Denver to ensure that all calls are answered promptly and voice mail is handled within one working day.

Orders for standard products will be filled in a timely manner.

Turnaround time for customer orders placed with Information Services in Denver was 10 days. Customers have indicated on response cards that this meets their expectations. The EROS Data Center achieved turnaround times of less than one week for digital orders and four weeks for custom aerial photo orders. New inventory management practices and reprint notification procedures improved the availability of USGS map products and reduced out-of-stock maps to under 1 percent.

Timeframes for special services, studies, and interpretive reports will be determined through agreements with cooperators and customers. Once established, due dates will be met unless customers/cooperators agree that their interests would be better served by extending the project or report completion date.

The USGS Water Resources Division provides Federal funding for State, county, city, and local entities through the Federal/State Cooperative Matching Program. USGS works closely with these and other cooperators to determine customer requirements and needs and to deliver products on time. The 90 percent renewal level for cooperative agreements in FY96 indicates a generally high level of satisfaction with the services being provided.

Availability of data:

USGS will continuously improve availability of on-line data to technical and scientific customers and cooperators.

USGS currently has more than 100,000 screens of data associated with its Web site (expanded in 1996). Customers may use a single point (http://www.usgs.gov/) for information on geologic, biologic, water resource, and mapping products and information on services and studies. This information includes publications, fact sheets, and real-time water and earthquake data. WebGLIS is an on-line, interactive source of information about the Earthís land surface utilizing graphics, forms, and image-browser functions, providing easy access and ordering capability. USGS offers selected U.S. geodata data bases through the Internet, which can be downloaded using anonymous file transfer protocol (FTP).

USGS will continuously improve ease of accessing USGS on-line data, including working toward a goal of single point of entry for data generated by various USGS components.

The USGS home page now provides a single point of entry for USGS data, information, products, and expertise to over 1 million customers a month. Access has been refined by providing customers with the ability to select information by subject area, science program, and type of products.

STANDARD

RESULT

Ordering systems:

We will provide access to USGS product and ordering information through 1-800 numbers and electronic media.

1-800-USA-MAPS is fully operational and interactive with the EarthFax. In 1996, 57,110 callers used this number, an increase of 1,677 calls (3 percent) over 1995 usage. USGS Internet access has been expanded and enhanced with links to ordering and product information, FAQ pages for technical and scientific information, and directly downloadable data (through FTP).

We will work to improve ease of ordering for all USGS products at all ordering sites.

Commercial map dealers are now able to order products electronically from Information Services in Denver, thereby eliminating four to five days of processing time. Facsimilie ordering capabilities and equipment have been improved. The number of orders placed by fax increased 60 percent in 1996.

Product quality:

USGS data and reports will continue to meet the most rigorous standards of scientific accuracy and integrity and be responsive to the user community.

USGS scientific reports are subject to numerous internal and external peer reviews. USGS often releases data without review to meet certain customersí needs for timely data (for example, emergency management personnel at federal, state, and local agencies).

For special services and studies, we will establish written agreements with the customer/cooperator describing the nature of services and final products to be provided and establishing any specific standards for that activity.

In addition to its cooperative programs with state government agencies in the Water Resources, National Mapping, and Biological Resources Divisions, USGS establishes memorandums of agreement, memorandums of understanding, and cooperative research and development agreements (CRADAs) with customers for specific studies and services.

Bureau priorities:

We will ask for and consider input from our customers regarding our products, programs, and services.

Comments, complaints, or questions on consumer feedback cards receive immediate response and resolution. All data from customer feedback cards are collected and communicated to employees. Walk-in customers are consulted for changes in processes and product accessibility. Commercial map dealers are consulted on an ongoing basis for feedback, process improvement, and other suggestions. In 1996, a map-on-demand customer survey was initiated. Data from this survey are being compiled and will be used in making decisions about future mapping products and their availability. During FY96, USGS held several meetings with federal bureaus and other organizations to discuss accomplishments and future goals of USGS programs. Many of these meetings identified opportunities for collaborative efforts and programmatic streamlining.

Justice (Department)

Community Relations Service

Conflict Prevention and Resolution

Prevents or resolves community, racial, and ethnic conflicts.

The agency recently underwent change in responsibilities and staff reductions. Resu;ts data on customer service standards is unvavailable for 1996, but will be collected and made available when new roles and organizational responsibilities have been established.

We will clearly explain the process that Community Relations Service (CRS) uses to address racial and ethnic conflicts, and our role in that process.

Specific measurement criteria being developed.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will provide opportunities for all parties involved to contribute to, and work toward, a solution to the racial or ethnic conflict.

Specific measurement criteria being developed.

If you are a participant in a CRS training session or conference, we will provide useful information and materials that will assist you in preventing or minimizing racial and ethnic tensions. If you would like more information, we will work with you to identify additional materials to meet your needs within three weeks of learning of your need.

Specific measurement criteria being developed.

We will be prepared to provide on-site services in major racial or ethnic crisis situations within 24 hours of when your community notifies CRS or CRS becomes aware of the situation, to discuss your request for CRS services.

Specific measurement criteria being developed.

In noncrisis situations, we will contact you within three days of when your community notifies CRS or CRS becomes aware of the situation, to discuss your request for CRS services.

Specific measurement criteria being developed.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Uniform Crime Reports Program

Provides information on crime in the United States.

The Crime in the U.S. report will be published in the fall of each year.

Accomplished. Standard continues.

Report updates will be published semiannually in April and October of each year.

Reports were published in May 1996 and January 1997. Internal processes are under review. Standard continues.

The public may obtain copies of these reports for a fee by contacting the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office.

Accomplished. Standard continues.

To receive customized reports, contact the FBIís Programs Support Section, Criminal Justice Information Services Division, which will facilitate a response to your inquiry as soon as possible in written or electronic form.

Accomplished. Standard continues.

When fully operational, the National Incident-Based Reporting System (NIBRS) program, which is the enhancement of the current reporting system, will provide the following services:

Data on 22 crime categories made up of 46 specific crimes will be collected (current system collects data on only eight crime categories).

NIBRS implementation continues; 10 state systems have been fully certified.

Information on every crime will be collected separately (current system uses a summary report, which reports only the most serious crime in a multiple-offense situation).

NIBRS implementation continues; 10 state systems have been fully certified.

STANDARD

RESULT

Age, sex, race, ethnicity, etc. will be reported for victims and offenders of all crimes, which will allow for better analysis (current system reports this information only on certain crimes).

NIBRS implementation continues; 10 state systems have been fully certified.

System will provide the ability to quantify drug seizures in relationship to drug arrests (currently not available).

NIBRS implementation continues; 10 state systems have been fully certified.

Information will address such issues as hate crimes, white-collar crime, domestic violence, abuse of the elderly, etc. (currently not available in summary system).

NIBRS implementation continues; 10 state systems have been fully certified.

Labor (Department)

Employment and Training Administration

Provides employment and training services for workers and employers, and issues cash benefits.

The Employment and Training Administration (ETA), working with and through its partners and stakeholders, offers these customer pledges:

ETA will help job seekers take control of their work lives through better employment and unemployment services.

The Employment Service (ES) system provided 12 million people with job-finding services; more than 3 million of them got jobs. The Unemployment Insurance system served 10.7 million people who filed for unemployment benefits: 811,000 of these were assessed as having very poor job prospects and were provided additional reemployment services from ES and Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) programs.

ETA will help job seekers, workers, and employers get the labor market information and other services they need in one-stop centers.

In the 16 states that received one-stop implementation grants, more than 100 communities are operating one-stop centers in which job seekers, workers, and employers get needed labor market information. Americaís Job Bank was accessed more than 7 million times a month.

ETA will help teenagers and young adults throughout the nation move more smoothly from school to the workplace, in many cases through apprenticeship opportunities.

About 105,700 young people left JTPA programs each having received an average of more than 33 weeks of training: almost 45 percent of them got jobs. Three Job Corps Centers started school-to-work initiatives. About 377,000 youth and adults were registered apprentices of which almost 20,000 were between the ages of 16 and 22.

ETA will help laid-off workers find new jobs that pay as close as possible to what they previously earned.

191,000 laid-off workers left the JTPA program with a job averaging $10.20 per hour, which was more than 92 percent of their previous wages, on average.

ETA will help low-income adults and youth get the skills and training they need, and help them find first, new, or better jobs.

Job Corps enrolled about 68,000 disadvantaged youth during program year 1995, providing them with education, vocational training, and work experience. Of all youth terminating from the program, 75 percent were placed in employment (65 percent) or continuing education (10 percent). 145,700 adults left the JTPA program after receiving almost 33 weeks of training; about 63 percent were placed in jobs.

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Manages mine safety program.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will work with state and local institutions and associations to provide miners with useful, understandable information about mining, health, and safety.

This standard was met through focus groups and by communicating with customers.

Transportation (Department)

Bureau of Transportation Statistics

Data User Services Program

Our commitments to you:

We will respond to each telephone call received on the Statistical Information Line with the most accurate and complete information we have on the subject of your request. If the information cannot be provided immediately upon request, we will provide an answer within 30 minutes of receipt of your call. If we cannot answer your question completely, we will provide a name and telephone number for the proper contact. If a question requires additional research, we will keep you apprised of our progress.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will mail products within 24 hours of receipt of request. If material is unavailable, we will notify you of the time when you may expect to receive the product.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will respond to all calls for technical assistance within two hours upon receipt of the problem. If we cannot provide immediate resolution, we will keep you apprised of progress being made on the issue.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will resolve customer complaints before the end of the next business day.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will keep you informed about new products and services through customer mailings, press releases, trade exhibits, and related conferences.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will seek your input on improving our products by providing a customer comment form with each Bureau of Transportation Statistics (BTS) product in order to tailor our information to your needs.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will provide training to the data user community on the availability, access, and use of transportation statistics, services, and resources available to them from BTS, the Department of Transportation, other federal agencies, and sources outside the federal government.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Federal Aviation Administration

Airport Grants

Works in partnership with the aviation community in determining the most prudent use of federal and local funds to support existing and future airport development needs.

STANDARD

RESULT

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) will:

Respond to any request to be included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems within 10 working days.

FAA Airports are continuing to monitor the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems within 10 working days to identify the airports and development that should be considered in the national interest.

Conduct special workshops and seminars and participate in state aviation and airport user group meetings whenever requested to provide advice and receive comments on planning and development guidelines.

Personnel from the various offices have conducted and participated in meetings with groups within the airport community to provide and receive comments on planning and development guidelines. Meetings include state aviation conferences and regional and national conferences/workshops sponsored by aviation advocacy groups.

Update our advisory circulars to reflect the current state of the industry whenever changes are made to the airport development standards.

The advisory circulars related to airport development standards are updated when necessary to reflect the most current standards to ensure that new airport development plans conform to the existing criteria.

Consider all requests for airport inspections within 30 days to determine conformity with federal standards.

We respond to all requests for airport inspections within 30 days.

Conduct local joint planning conferences, as requested, and take necessary follow-up actions.

Many airport offices conduct joint planning conferences which involve all users and tenants at the airports.

Coordinate Airport Capital Improvement Plan formulation with airport sponsors on an annual basis.

Airport offices meet and work with the airports on a regular basis to develop capital improvement plans for consideration for AIP funding as funds and priorities permit. As Airport Capital Improvement Plans are developed, they are maintained and updated on an annual basis.

Respond within 30 working days to requests for assistance regarding airport development needs.

We take all necessary action to process requests for AIP assistance within prescribed time limits. Judging from the feedback to our offices, the customers are very satisfied with the timeliness of Airport officesí actions. We are committed to responding within 30 working days to requests for assistance regarding airport development needs.

Civil Aviation Security

Seeks to protect the traveling public in air transportation throughout the world.

Always seek input from and coordinate with all stakeholders before amending the Federal Aviation Regulations and security programs.

The latest Aviation Security Advisory Committee met in July 1996 and agreed to engage in rulemaking activity involving all participants.

Have Federal Security Managers at 19 major airports in the United States to coordinate security measures, policies, and programs.

All 19 Federal Security Managers are now in place at the designated Category "X" airports that are named in the Air Carrier Standard Security Plan.

Have agents at airports across the country to conduct continuous inspections and investigations of security measures, to share results immediately upon completion, and to ensure corrective action.

Civil aviation security special agents inspected security operations on both an announced and unannounced basis. During inspections, weaknesses and deficiencies were corrected, security violations were identified, and necessary enforcement action was initiated.

Provide Federal Air Marshals for in-flight security on selected flights for U.S. airlines.

During 1995, Federal Air Marshals provided in-flight security on flights of all major U.S. carriers to and from 69 cities and 16 countries.

STANDARD

RESULT

Conduct hazardous materials surveillance and inspection of all air carriers serving the United States to ensure safe handling.

In 1995, 185 foreign-scheduled and public charter air carriers and all airports were required to follow FAA-approved security programs.

Provide training and support for K-9 explosive detection teams at major airports.

In 1995, 30 airport authorities and local law enforcement agencies participated in this program with over 100 teams located at major U.S. airports.

Collaborate with FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, and U.S. Customs to develop strategies and state-of-the-art techniques for drug interdiction.

Investigations conducted under the Drug Support Program resulted in 91 airmen revocations in the first quarter of FY96. This is more than a 100 percent increase over the first quarter of FY95.

Federal Highway Administration

Federal Aid Program

Ensures the highest quality surface transportation system for the nation.

For our partners:

We will inform you of all major changes in policies and regulations in a clear and timely manner. Except in unusual circumstances, you will have at least 60 days in which to offer your views on all proposed changes, and your views will be appropriately considered. The regulations will be clear, realistic, and impose only the minimum necessary requirements.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

All of our partners and customers with whom we have a financial relationship will receive timely and accurate payment of all funds due to you. For those state partners who use electronic signature, we will make reimbursement payment to you on the same day that you request it.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

Provide you, either directly or through other sources, the best available training, technical assistance, and access to state-of-the-art transportation technology that will meet your needs.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

An open and cooperative approach to considering and deciding on changes which may affect practices, materials, or other aspects of transportation improvement activities.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

Integrity in our business processes, openness to innovation and objectivity in our evaluations.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

STANDARD

RESULT

For the motoring and general public:

All persons and businesses affected by federally aided transportation improvements will have an opportunity to present their views during the decision making process, and that they will receive all services and benefits to which they are entitled under the lawPreliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

All federally aided transportation improvements will be undertaken with the aim of minimizing delay and maximizing safety in and around construction activities.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

We will work with our partners to address identified safety problems in a timely and prioritized manner.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

Work closely with our partners to enhance the condition and performance of our Nationís major roads and bridges.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

We will work with our partners to ensure quality and appropriate uniformity in signs, signals, and design standards on the Nationís major highways.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

All Federally aided transportation improvements will take full account of impacts on the human and social environment and on historical sites. We promise to minimize those impacts to the fullest reasonable extent, and to enhance the environment whenever possible.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

All of our partners and customers will be provided timely and accurate information whenever you request it. You will receive the requested information, or a specific commitment for future delivery, within 10 days of our receipt of your request.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be re-evaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

Motor Carrier Safety

Ensures safety on Americaís highways and the safety of the vehicles using the highways.

We will inform you of every major change in motor carrier regulations by providing you with a copy of, or information describing, the new regulations, or by conducting industry briefings.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will provide information about regulatory changes to trade associations, trade press, and other motor carrier publications.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

You will receive information regarding changes in motor carrier regulations during our on-site reviews of your operations. You will also receive the specific information and materials needed to help you comply with the safety regulations.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

When you call or write to us requesting information, we will provide the information to you within five working days of receiving your request.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

We will work with state motor carrier safety enforcement agencies to ensure no duplication in the scheduling of on-site reviews.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

We will review your accident records and provide an accident prevention package to motor carriers that are experiencing accidents regardless of your safety compliance.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

If you are a hazardous materials or passenger carrier and receive an unsatisfactory safety rating as a result of our review, we will conduct a follow-up review within 45 days, as requested, to ensure you the opportunity to remain in business.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

We will periodically collect information from the entire motor carrier industry that will allow us to better serve you. The information request will ask if you are still in the motor carrier business, whether the nature of your business has changed, and how we can improve the information and technical assistance we provide to you.

Preliminary customer input has been canvassed through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

We will work with state motor carrier regulatory agencies, insurance companies, trade associations, and other industry groups to identify motor carriers that may not know that they are subject to safety regulations. We will provide these newly identified motor carriers with the information they need to comply with safety regulations.

Preliminary customer input was received through listening sessions and focus groups. This year, standards will be reevaluated to better reflect customer needs and expectations in efforts to refine our strategic plan, develop agencywide performance measures, and achieve the reauthorization of this programís funding.

The Metropolitan Transportation Planning Process

Provides tools to help state and local governments address mobility, economic development, and social and environmental goals in plans for improved transportation.

STANDARD

RESULT

Our pledge to you:

We will aggressively develop a streamlined approval process and take action on planning grants within 30 days of receiving a stateís application.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will provide consolidated planning grant delivery opportunities to the states, combining Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration planning funds, electronically transferred based on paperless transactions.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will provide you with high-quality technical services (technical assistance, research, and training). We will periodically update our activities through our Planning and Environmental Resources Catalog (available both in hard copy and on our home page).

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will acknowledge information requests within five business days and provide you with an accurate response at that time, or inform you of when you can expect to receive our response.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will provide up-to-date training opportunities through our cooperating partners (the National Highway Institute and National Transit Institute) on current topic areas. Courses planned for the future include major investment studies, public involvement, financial planning, travel demand forecasting, systems planning, environmental analysis, congestion mitigation, and Intelligent Transportation System (ITS).

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will better integrate transportation and air quality planning through guidance, information sharing, and site visits; dissemination of up-to-date information on transportation/air quality/emission modeling; and facilitating a better understanding of transportation conformity issues. We will issue a lay brochure on air quality and conformity.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will expeditiously apply lessons from the ongoing DOT and Environmental Protection Agency pilot project on air quality to streamline the current conformity process.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will work to ensure consideration of environmental, social, and natural resource impacts early in the planning process.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will work with our partners at the state, local, and federal levels to identify, evaluate, and implement a full range of reasonable alternatives to new capacity, including congestion reduction and ITS investments.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will work to mainstream new programs (enhancements, congestion management, ITS, etc.) through the planning process and to support streamlined and integrated decisionmaking.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will proactively work with participants in the planning process to reach timely consensus on critical program issues.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

A Program to Support State and Local Transportation Decisionmaking

Helps transportation planning organizations make the most effective transportation investment decisions.

We will aggressively develop streamlined approval processes and take action on planning grants within 30 days of receiving a stateís application.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

We will provide consolidated planning grant delivery opportunities to the states, combining Federal Highway Administration and Federal Transit Administration planning funds, electronically transferred based on paperless transactions.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first evaluation.

Federal Railroad Administration

Commitment to Railroad Safety

Promotes a safe railroad industry and encourages policies that help the industry realize its full potential.

Conduct rail safety audits and provide railroad management and labor with our findings prior to the scheduling of the railroadís senior management meeting.

Rail safety audits identify safety problems that may span an entire railroad system. Audits involve joint inspections by (FRA), rail labor, and management to determine the extent and significance of each safety concern and develop alternatives for appropriate countermeasures. There have been many successful audits resulting in improved compliance and increased train safety.

Strive to identify and resolve regulatory interpretations, through mutually satisfactory solutions, on regulatory issues at least semiannually.

FRA chairs the Railroad Safety Advisory Committee established in March 1996. The process takes a new approach to rail safety regulatory development: instead of filing papers, the parties, together with FRA, actively gather data, identify core concerns, and resolve issues. FRA pioneered this process to develop new safety standards to protect track-side workers, and collaborative rulemaking holds great promise for innovative, cost-effective safety regulatory solutions.

Develop consensus-based regulations on a schedule developed by the Rail Safety Advisory Committee.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Promote safety partnerships by building working relationships with railroad management and labor as issues are identified and resolved.

As a result of partnerships: (1) the CSX instituted a safety training program for bridge supervisors and bridge tenders; (2) a goal was set to close 34 of the 1-8 grade crossings in Laredo, with Union Pacific agreeing to contribute $500,000 for the consolidation; and (3) 525 rail crossings have been permanently removed from Kentuckyís state inventory.

STANDARD

RESULT

Provide technical assistance to the rail industryóboth labor and management on how to comply with safety requirements. When corrective actions are required, we will work with these partners to assist them in coming into full compliance. FRA will review these interactions as opportunities to hear suggestions on how to improve this process.

New published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

For our government customers:

Actively guide states in the development of applications for available funds under the Local Rail Freight Assistance (LRFA) program in response to continued restructuring by freight railroads.

The ORD actively aids states in the development of LRFA applications. Application requirements for repaid load funds have been streamlined. Extensive guidance is provided to states submitting environmental assessments.

Communicate continuously with state participants in Section 1010, high-speed rail, and LRFA programs to obtain input in the effectiveness of grant programs.

Applications for grade crossing safety grants under Section 1010 of the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) were developed jointly with all eligible states. Selected projects focus on reducing highway/grade crossing hazards in high-speed corridors.

Obtain input from states on the effectiveness of grant programs.

We participated at meetings with American Association of State Highway and Transportation Office (AASHTO) Standing Committee on Rail Transportation regarding funding grant programs. Based on input received from states, we recommended flexibility for states to use ISTEA funding for rail freight projects with public benefits. Outreach meetings have been held with states developing high-speed rail to discuss their planning construction and funding needs.

Implement and provide training on all facets of new Integrated Personnel and Payroll System (IPPS) as they become available.

Headquarters implementation and training for the timekeeping portion of IPPS has been completed. The field implementation will begin as soon as the LAN/WAN work is completed. After the entire agency has implemented timekeeping, we will begin phasing in training and SF-52 functions for all offices.

Utilize all appointing authorities and personnel programs to reach diverse candidates for hiring and advancement.

The FRA utilized a variety of recruitment sources and appointment authorities to fill position vacancies. FRA has filled positions using the special appointing authority for persons with disabilities, the Office of Personnel Management competitive examination procedures, the merit promotion program, student employment appointing authorities, and FRA upward mobility program. FRA also considers candidates eligible for veterans readjustment appointments.

Distribute customer service surveys to a representative sampling of all customers;, review and tabulate the results; revise or modify its policies, procedures, and programs, if necessary; and notify customers of any changes.

The Office of Administrative Services distributed a customer satisfaction survey in 1996 to determine the level of satisfaction perceived by customers. The results were tabulated and a report provided to the Associate Administrator for Administration and Finance and the Office Chief. Recommendations were reviewed and changes made accordingly.

Rate the quality of the service provided by our computer technicians and identify areas for improvement.

Customer atisfaction questionnaires were given to each customer following a visit by one of our computer technicians. The data were tracked via dbase III and areas for improvement were identified. Monthly reports were submitted to the lead contractor as well as the contracting officerís technical Representative. Changes were made based on recommendations received.

Empower staff and agency IMPAC credit cardholders with maximum dollar delegations of authority with minimal reviews.

Credit cards were issued to 20 cardholders in key positions throughout the agency. This has facilitated and streamlined most small purchases up to, in most cases, a threshold of $2,500 per transaction. Paper purchases have been largely eliminated, and end users receive goods and services faster and more efficiently through this streamlined process.

STANDARD

RESULT

Review wants and needs, as well as problems, noted with computer hardware, software, and remote connectivity of FRA customers.

In 1995 the Technical Resolution Committee on Information Technology (IT) was developed to address all issues relating to IT. The Committee meets monthly by videoconference or teleconference to address issues relating to office automation and makes recommendations to management based on the merits of these issues. This helps to ensure that issues related to all aspects of FRA are addressed by the whole of the organization and not a select few.

Review ways to streamline the information technology acquisition process.

Streamlining of the IT acquisition process is part of the overall procurement streamlining initiative currently under way within FRA and the Department.

Provide accounting information about various FRA programs to program managers and fund administrators.

Meetings are held with interested program managers and fund administrators on a regular basis.

Provide current information to employees on travel entitlements and status of vouchers, and develop a new methodology for electronically preparing, processing, and paying for all travel expense vouchers to reimburse individual employees for various expenses incurred while performing their assigned duties.

Making initial progress for this ongoing initiative.

Track all adjustments during the three phases of the budget cycle and provide feedback to program offices.

Action was completed in a timely manner. FRA received passbacks that were higher than Office of Management and Budget targets. Based on a survey sent out last year, customers were pleased with the office and products.

Issue financial plans and related documents for all program offices.

Action was completed in a timely manner. Based on a survey sent out last year, customers were pleased with the office and products.

Determine status of funds and adjustments needed to maximize funding options.

FRA did maximize the use of all funds without exceeding ceilings.

Minimize the amount of time necessary to generate and distribute inspection reports.

Making initial progress for this ongoing initiative.

Review the first yearís activities of the Technical Review Committees (TRCs) and make refinements accordingly to make TRCs more efficient.

FRA created TRCs to ensure; that FRA policies and regulations are clear and applied consistently in all eight regions throughout the U.S. FRA established TRCs in 1994 for each of its five disciplines (track, signal systems, hazardous materials, equipment, and operating practices) for identifying and resolving, with input from both railroad and management, complicated and technical interpretations.

Develop improved performance standards for inspectors.

As a part of the redesign of the Performance Management System, the performance standards will be reviewed and revised in order to make them more results-oriented.

Notify employees on impacts of newly enacted civil rights legislation and/or interagency changes.

There have been no changes to the civil rights legislation affecting employees.

Provide FRA employees with formal customer service training, and on-the-job training, explore new ways of doing business, and implement the most efficient ones.

The FRAís Customer Service Team coordinated an array of customer service workshops for all FRA employees to provide the foundation for customer service training. All employees received formalized customer service training throughout the Dynamics of Tranformation course.

Develop an alternative work schedule (AWS) program and make changes based on evaluation results.

Maxiflex provides the safety inspector workforce with maximum flexibility to schedule surveillance activities, often unannounced, of the rail industry. Results are that inspectors are better equipped to carry out their mission and more responsive to rail safety issues. Currently, 80 percent of FRA inspectors participate in Maxiflex. Maxiflex provided the American public with a more cost-efficient, productive, and responsive workforce.

STANDARD

RESULT

Develop and implement a telecommuting program.

FRAís telecommuting program reduces facility costs by permitting the closure of small field offices and reduction of overall government-leased space. Using advance technology, inspectors now work from their homes on a full-time basis or in geographical locations that are closer to the preponderance of their work. Currently, FRA has 42 inspectors who work from their homes.

Complete needs assessment to provide adequate training opportunities for managers, executives, and employees.

Annually, while considering the desired performance of the agency, each manager is asked to determine and explore the cause for the gap between required and current skill levels of his or her organizational unit. After this assessment, the Career Development staff assists; the managers in preparing a plan that outlines training that will eliminate the gaps. In the last two years, the assessments have resulted in an agencywide training plan that has improved training opportunities for all employees.

Provide Partnership Training to address issues that are of mutual benefit to the union and management.

Three sessions of Partnership Training were provided to the FRA labor-management partnership council and the regional partnership committees in 1995 and 1996. The courses explored cooperative and collaborative relationships in general, with a focus on building an interest-based partnership and alternative dispute resolution.

Review current Performance Management System to determine feasibility/ability of revising it.

FRAís goal is to revise its PMS during FY97 in order to make it more results-oriented and consistent with Government Performance and Results Act of 1993. A contractor will assist an FRA team in redesigning the system.

Public Safety

Promotes a safe railroad industry and encourages policies that help rail realize its full potential.

Install toll-free lines to Federal Railaroad Administration Office of Safety headquarters and regional offices.

In July 1995, toll-free lines were installed and fully operational to FRA Office of Safety headquarters and regional offices.

Implement negotiated rulemakings ó such as on trackside worker safety ó whenever possible to encourage consensus building.

In June 1994, we initiated a pilot process to implement negotiated rulemakings. A negotiated rulemaking for roadway worker safety is currently under way with consensus on 11 recommendations.

Educate labor and management on inspection and enforcement procedures and use opportunity as listening post to seek feedback and suggestions.

To date, we have held over 600 listening post sessions with thousands of railroad industry labor and management personnel, providing education on inspection and enforcement procedures. As a result of these sessions, the railroads gained greater knowledge of FRAís laws and regulatory procedures, and they attained a higher level of regulatory compliance, thereby lessening the amount of federal inspector resources needed to monitor the industry.

Conduct inspection demonstrations and briefings, including training videos, in partnership with labor and management customers.

A two-hour standardized presentation package has been developed for use by the regions at major United Transportation Union conventions. Among the safety issues included in the package are: (1) the role of the FRA inspector (2) a review of the hours of service law,and (3) engineer certification. Also, FRA partnered with CSX Railroad and the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers to produce a video demonstrating daily inspections.

Conduct in-depth surveys of all major customers to improve customer services.

In June 1995, an in-depth survey of all major customers to improve customer services was completed with a customer service plan issued.

Voluntary compliance: Develop safety profile for all Class I railroads and work with three railroads to develop systemwide safety management plans.

As of September 30, 1996, 28 senior management meetings have been held with railroad labor and management which will result in the submittal of safety action plans for most of those railroads.

STANDARD

RESULT

Train small railroads on safety rule compliance and provide assistance to resolve safety issues.

A standardized training program was developed in cooperation with the American Short Line Railroad Association on safety rule compliance. The resulting standard 12-hour educational program covers regulations in all five technical areas (hazardous materials, motive power and equipment, operating practices, signal and train control, and track).

Reduce average time from receipt to resolution of safety complaints to 60 days.

Based on a pilot study, a nationwide program has been implemented to reduce average time from receipt to resolution of safety complaints. This reduction was met.

Use mentoring techniques to model best practices in safety performance: Bring together an exceptionally safe railroad with a railroad that needs improvement.

A train dispatching project has brought together the Burlington Northern and Amtrak railroads. Also, Norfolk Southern and Amtrak were working jointly on employee injury reduction.

Work with states to prepare inspection schedules; meet with states annually to minimize the disruption caused by duplicate scheduling.

Meetings to eliminate duplication problems have been conducted for program coordinators and inspectors of the states of North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tenneessee, Florida, Mississippi and Texas. As of October 1, 1996, 32 states and 146 inspectors have participated in the Rail Safety Participation program.

Investigate inspection complaints from railroads within 10 working days.

FRA has met its commitment to investigate complaints from railroads within 10 working days.

Federal Transit Administration

Assistance For Private Transit Providers and Manufacturers

Provides financial and technical assistance for transit planning, operations, and capital programs.

We will continue to provide you with courteous and professional service.

Results of the customer service survey indicate above-average performance.

We will respond to your routine telephone inquiries immediately, or at least within 24 hours, and routine fax and mail queries within five business days. If more time is needed to provide you with the requested information, we will acknowledge receipt of your written inquiry within five business days and give you an estimate of the time it will take us to respond.

We will continue to improve on the above average performance rating indicated in customer service surveys conducted in spring and summer of 1996.

To ensure open lines of communication and to enhance technical assistance, we will solicit your participation in scheduled outreach forums, including annual regional meetings, roundtables, and town hall meetings. We will use these and other opportunities to obtain your feedback on the quality of our services, and to stay abreast of your needs and expectations and evaluate our performance in meeting them. Develop and improve training and other technical assistance activities.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will disseminate program guidance/technical assistance information within 30 days of publication.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will update circulars for the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program, the Non-urbanized Area Formula Program, Title VI, and equal employment opportunity programs; as well as guidance on environmental requirements.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

In FY97 we will continue to improve your access to program, policy, and procedural information by routing the content of Federal Transit Administration (FTA) circulars, regulations, and policies on the Internet. Information on current issues, changes in current policies, and new policy directives will be placed on FTAís home page (http://www.fta.dot.gov).

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will continue to place information about FTAís research and technical studies and transit-related training on the Internet. This information will be updated regularly.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will increase our efforts to publicize new reports, revisions to circulars, and other documents and make them available through a variety of media.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

We will expand our efforts to keep you informed of the types of information that are accessible via the Internet.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Grantees for Public Transportation

Einsures personal mobility and Americaís economic and community vitality by supporting high-quality public transportation through leadership, technical assistance, and financial resources.

Grant assistance:

We will provide you with courteous and timely service.

Results of customer service survey indicate that above-average performance in this area continues to improve.

We will implement an Electronic Grant Making and Management System (EGMMS) by the end of FY96 that will reduce by more than 50 percent the amount of paperwork you are required to submit with each grant application.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) has developed a fully automated grant making and management system that allows electronic submission of grant application information. This reduced the amount of paperwork required by more than 50 percent. In FY96, 36 grantees executed 97 grant awards totaling $1.7 billion and 478 grantees filed 3,889 financial status reports using the EGMMS.

We will approve completed formula grants within 30 days of receiving the application.

Standard is being met.

We will ensure that your grant drawdowns are deposited in your financial institutions in two days or less from the time of your request.

The standard has been exceeded. The average time between requests for grant draw-downs and deposit in financial institutions is less than two days.

STANDARD

RESULT

Technical assistance:

In FY96, we will improve your access to program, policy, and procedural information by expanding our use of electronic media, such as bulletin boards, the Internet, etc.

New guidance and reports are promptly posted to the FTA Internet home page, reducing the time needed to get information to grantees. FTA has received two awards for its new home page. In FY96, the first year of operation, there were over a million requests for information via the Internet.

We will respond to your routine telephone queries within 24 hours and routine mail queries within five business days.

Survey results from FTA customers indicate an improvement in this area.

We will disseminate program guidance/technical assistance information within 30 days of availability of publication.

The standard is being maintained.

By the end of FY96 we will:

Issue a guidance circular for the Capital Program.

An updated circular for the Capital Program has been published and is on the Internet.

Update the circulars for the Urbanized Area Formula Program, the Metropolitan Planning Program, the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program, and the Non-urbanized Area Formula Program.

The guidance circulars for the Urbanized Area Formula Program, the Metropolitan Planning Program, the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program, and the Non-urbanized Area Formula Program have been updated and published.

Update the circulars for Title VI and equal employment opportunity programs and the guidance on environmental requirements.

Guidance on these programs is being finalized.

To ensure open lines of communication and enhance technical assistance, we will ask your participation in regularly scheduled outreach meetings, annual regional meetings, and town hall meetings; and continue to conduct formal customer service surveys.

A formal customer service survey was conducted in the spring and summer of 1996. Feedback from customers was also sought in workshops, professional meetings, and conferences. FTS staff members receive numerous unsolicited letters of appreciation for good customer service.

We will use feedback received from you to:

Stay abreast of your needs and evaluate our performance in serving them.

Results of customer service surveys in 1996 rate overall agency performance above average.

Develop and improve training and other technical assistance.

We streamlined third-party contracting guidance, reduced regulations by more than 50 percent, and eliminated 1,161 pages of outdated and unnecessary directives. FTAís oversight of programs has increased focus on providing guidance and assistance to grantees in meeting federal requirements. Information on technical assistance and training is available on the Internet.

Maritime Administration

Port, Intermodal, and Environmental Activities

Promotes the safe, efficient, economical, and environmentally sound use of our nationís ports, international and domestic water transportation, and intermodal systems.

STANDARD

RESULT

We promise to:

Provide customer service to high-level business standards.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Maintain current and timely data and make it available in forms you can use.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Respond promptly to all inquiries.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Welcome any suggestions to improve our services.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Treat you with courtesy and respect at all times.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

State and Community Traffic Safety Program Services

Works with state highway safety offices to plan and administer safety programs.

Program planning:

Work with your office in the initial planning stages of major new traffic safety program initiatives and continue to seek your input as the plans evolve.

Preliminary survey results indicate that 82 percent of state highway safety offices rate communications as "outstanding" or "very good" (39 respondents).

At least once a quarter, inform your office of potential Section 403 priority project opportunities and activities and national organization initiatives, and solicit your ideas for other projects that merit 403 funding consideration.

A quarterly newsletter was developed to keep customers informed of activities and priority programs. A team comprised of national organizations is examining methods to improve service to state highway safety offices. A profile of national organizations and services will be distributed to state highway safety offices.

Technical assistance:

Once a year, conduct a meeting with your office to share the latest information available about: available programs, funding sources and technologies offering the greatest promise for reducing highway death and injury, and the associated economic losses; traffic safety projects and activities being planned or conducted by other federal agencies and national organizations; and interactive computer capabilities to enhance information exchange.

Of 39 respondents, 38 rated the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) outstanding or very good in communications, technical assistance, and materials support.

Review your Annual Benchmark Report to ensure compliance with federal regulations.

Newly created standard. Process was reengineered.

STANDARD

RESULT

Program information and materials:

Provide your office with a Project and Program Materials Update summarizing the key projects, printed and electronic media, and other publications planned for completion and distribution during the next six months.

NHTSA has improved this service by publishing the update on the Internet and performing more frequent updates. Hard copies are available upon request.

Ship program materials for major program initiatives, such as Campaign Safe and Sober, 90 days before they will be needed.

Of 39 respondents, 38 rated timeliness of materials shipments as "outstanding" or "very good."

Provide your office at least a 30-day advance notice of when national media campaign materials will be distributed to media outlets.

Thirty-eight respondents rated NHTSA as either "outstanding" or "very good" in materials support for their offices.

Publish a catalog of traffic safety program materials that includes ordering instructions and the name of the person to contact about the status of orders.

The materials catalog is published on-line, and orders may be placed on-line. The catalog is updated monthly. Hard copies are available on request.

Training:

Each September, provide your office with a listing of traffic safety professional development and technical courses.

A catalog of courses was provided to the state highway offices as requested.

Each January through March, help your office conduct a training needs assessment.

Training needs assessments were conducted in February and April.

Deliver or arrange for the delivery of the courses identified in the training needs assessment.

NHTSA continuously assists states in the arrangements and delivery of traffic safety training.

Research and Special Programs Administration

Hazardous Materials Safety

Provides regulatory standards on the Hazardous Materials Safety program.

Our commitment to you:

The 1996 Emergency Response Guidebook (ERG) will be available in English, Spanish, and French.We will return your phone calls before the end of the next business day.

100 percent of phone calls have been returned before the end of the next business day.

We will mail training materials and publications within one week of receipt of your request.

Of all training materials and publications, 97.9 percent were mailed within five calendar days in FY96 and 99.6 percent for the first half of FY97.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will investigate all reports of noncompliance with the Hazardous Materials Regulations and expedite the resolution of violations to protect our nationís environment and citizens against potential hazardous materials disaster.

We have reduced the complaint investigation time by 22 percent from FY95 through FY96 and are completing these investigations in an average of 78 days from date of receipt.

We will inform you of regulatory changes through the Hazardous Materials Information Exchange (HMIX) bulletin board and provide you with a selection of information available for downloading.

Regulatory changes are posted on the HMIX within two days of the Federal Register publication date and are available as downloadable files.

We will add your name to our mailing list when requested. You will receive the hazmat newsletter, safety notices, public meeting announcements, and other safety-related information on a continuous basis.

In FY96, over 3,500 names were added to the mailing list. Through its distribution network, RSPA distributed over 330,000 copies of its most recent safety alert notice.

We will hold public meetings as needed to hear your comments and suggestions on eliminating unnecessary or burdensome regulations and when considering the need for new or amended regulations.

RSPAís hazardous materials program office conducted the 18 public outreach meetings that were attended by persons from the regulated public. Many issues raised at these meetings were quickly acted upon in regulatory reinvention rulemaking dockets.

Hazardous Materials Safety: Emergency Planning and Training Grants

Provides hazardous materials emergency planning and training grants

Our commitment to you:

We will return your phone calls before the end of the next business day.

Ast least 95 percent of phone calls have been returned before the end of the next business day.

We will inform you of grant awards within 10 days after awards are made.

All award recipients were notified within 10 business days in FY96.

We will provide you with a selection of emergency planning and training information as files available for downloading from the Hazardous Materials Information eXchange (HMIX) bulletin board.

All award recipient files are currently available on the HMIX.

We will mail hazardous materials emergency preparedness curriculum guidelines, training materials and other safety-related publications within one week of receipt of your request.

All curriculum guidelines, training materials, and publications were mailed within 1 week in FY96.

We will add your name to our mailing list when requested. You will receive the hazmat newsletter, safety notices, public meeting announcements, and other safety-related information on a continuous basis.

All grant recipients names were added to the hazmat mailing list to receive safety related information.

We will help you assess the content of your selected courses to verify that they will qualify as hazardous materials training under the grant program.

At technical assistance workshops, all of the award recipients who requested assistance received help assessing the content of selected hazardous materials training courses.

Pipeline Safety

Administers grants to help state agencies manage their natural gas, liquified natural gas, or hazardous liquid pipeline safety programs.

STANDARD

RESULT

Our commitment to you:

We will provide you with technical assistance when preparing your grant application.

Nearly all grantees have received technical assistance when preparing their grant applications. We assigned several personnel to provide prompt, one-on-one assistance to both current and potential grantees in preparing grant applications.

We will return your phone calls before the end of the next business day.

Approximately 95 percent of our customers received a return phone call before the end of the next business day. We take corrective action if a quick response is not provided.

We will inform you of grant awards within 10 days following the final determination.

All grantees were notified within 10 business days in FY96.

We will keep you informed through monthly mailings and add your name to our mailing list within seven days of request.

Anyone expressing an interest in receiving mailings is immediately added to the appropriate list. We sub-divided our mailing list to address the needs of gas pipeline, liquid pipeline, and other customer groups; we maintain it to ensure currency.

We will provide information regarding the status of your grant applications at each National Association of Pipeline Safety Representatives (NAPSR) regional meeting.

We attended every NAPSR regional meeting and provided information on grants, applications, and funding levels. We also worked with the NAPSR Grant Allocation Subcommittee to respond to grantee concerns.

We will provide you with schedules and updated information regarding training programs available at the Transportation Safety Institute (TSI).

We sent schedules of training available at TSI to each of our state grantees several times during the year and made training announcements at every NAPSR meeting. TSI provides annual announcements of its training programs, which are open to hundreds of federal and state personnel and some industry personnel.

We will provide information via the Internet (World Wide Web access at Research and Special Programs Administration menu: http://www.dot.gov/).

Our home page on the World Wide Web is up and running. We have expanded the information provided to our customers and plan to provide Internet access to all publicly available pipeline safety documents.

U.S. Coast Guard

Bridge Administration Service

Provides for the needs of navigation for interstate commerce, national defense, and recreational vessel traffic.

Our goal is to:

Respond to 95 percent of fully responsive bridge permit applications for proposed new bridges and/or causeways or the modification of existing structures within nine months of receipt of the request.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Respond to 95 percent of requests from bridge owners, navigation interests, or land transportation officials to review, evaluate, validate, and approve or deny a request for new drawbridge operating regulations or to modify existing operating regulations within 12 months.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

STANDARD

RESULT

Complete our investigations of purported unreasonably obstructive bridges and decide whether to issue an order to a bridge owner to alter its bridge within 18 months.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Ensure successful completion of design and construction of a bridge found to be an unreasonable obstruction to navigation within five years for projects that cost less than $20 M.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Ensure successful completion of design and construction of a bridge found to be an unreasonable obstruction to navigation within eight years for projects that cost more than $20 M.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Respond to reports of deficiencies in bridge lighting or markings within 24 hours.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Contact the bridge owner within 24 hours of discovery of a bridge lighting or marking deficiency to enable the owner to correct the deficiency.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Issue a timely notice to mariners advising waterway users of the discrepancy until the deficiency is corrected to ensure intermodal safety.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Domestic Ice Operation

Provides icebreaking services to facilitate navigation on seasonally ice-covered waters.

Our goal is to:

Strive to minimize commercial vessel transit times through ice-covered waters by maintaining a minimum transit speed of 4 knots in at least 90 percent of ice-covered waters.

Pending carrier industry acceptance.

Perform preventive icebreaking and track maintenance through ice-covered waters.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation. Received industry awards for icebreaking services during winter of 1995-96.

Respond to all icebreaking requests to assist commercial vessels beset by ice.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation. In FY96, the Coast Guard provided 683 assists in the Great Lakesó100 percent response.

Respond to all icebreaking requests to prevent flooding caused by ice jams.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

National Response Center

Provides the sole national point of contact for reporting all oil, chemical, radiological, and biological discharges.

Answer all telephone calls promptly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Receive and process your pollution discharge report in five minutes or less.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Immediately pass your pollution discharge information, by phone and fax, to the Federal On-Scene Coordinator and other affected federal and state agencies as needed.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Continuously monitor our calls and service to ensure prompt, professional, and courteous performance.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Polar Icebreaking Operation

Provides heavy polar icebreaker services in support of U.S. objectives.

Our goal is to:

Provide polar icebreaking operations 144 days per year.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

STANDARD

RESULT

Provide platforms for scientific research in the Arctic and Antarctic as needed.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Perform heavy icebreaking to support logistical and supply activities in polar regions as needed.

Newly published standard. Collecting data for first annual evaluation.

Treasury (Department)

Financial Management Service

Product Promotion

Provides payments, claim adjudications, collections, financial information, financial policy, government wide accounting, and financial education and consulting services for federal program agencies.

Ninety percent of customers rate Federal Finance at least 3 (good) or higher on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is highest rating).

The new standard was established in 1996. Measurement against will be published in 1997.

U.S. Agency for International Development

Domestic Development Partners

Manages U.S. foreign economic and humanitarian assistance programs around the world

Quality:

On a regular basis, we will communicate with our customers to improve our processes and simplify our business practices.

We met with customers, and conducted surveys and interviews.

We will include our customers and partners in an ongoing, consultative process on policy, programmatic, and procedural matters.

This standard is addressed through surveys, interviews, meetings, focus groups, and workshops with customers and partners on a regular basis.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will hold semiannual vendor meetings for service providers and partners.

Seven vendor meetings have been held in various parts of the country with service providers and partners with over 1,000 people in attendance.

We will periodically survey customers and partners to see if the changes in our policies and procedures are working to eliminate the impediments you have identified and report customer satisfaction.

U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) policies, procedures, and strategic plan are posted on the Internet for access and feedback from customers and partners. USAID holds town meetings and conducts focus groups and surveys to obtain input for changes in policies and procedures. A number of redundant policies and procedures have been eliminated and others modified based on customer feedback.

If USAID issues a grant, cooperative agreement, or contract, an Agency project officer will be assigned to facilitate our relationship. The project officer will provide his/her phone number, address, e-mail address, and fax number.

A procurement officer is assigned to each grant, cooperative agreement, or contract to facilitate customer service as described in the standard.

To simplify the Private and Voluntary Organizations (PVO) registration process, we, in collaboration with our PVO partners, reduced the number of documents required from new PVO registrants from 18 to 6; reduced the number of documents required annually from PVO registrants from six to three; and revised and simplified USAID Form 1550-2, used to compute a PVOís "privateness percentage."

Twelve documents were eliminated from the new PVO registration process; four documents were eliminated from the annual PVO registration requirements; and Form 1550-2 was revised and simplified.

To be more consistent in applying USAID policies and procedures, our contracting and grants officers:

Interpret and apply policies and regulations consistently in awarding grants and contracts.

A customer survey indicates that USAID is improving its consistency in interpreting and applying regulations in awarding grants and contracts.

Eliminated redundant procurement processes, procedures, and reporting requirements by December 1994.

USAID eliminated procurement processes, procedures, and reporting requirements identified by customers as redundant. An automated Acquisition and Assistance System has been developed and is being used to eliminate further redundancies.

Published and made available in September 1994, A Guide to Doing Business with the U.S. Agency for International Development, which clearly and concisely describes USAIDís policies and procedures.

This standard is being met.

Timeliness:

We will answer your questions in a courteous, prompt, and professional manner.

Survey information indicates that this standard is almost always met.

You will receive an initial response to calls and e-mails within 24 hours; written inquiries will be answered within 10 working days from receipt. If a full response is not possible within these periods, we will indicate a probable timeframe for resolution.

Survey information indicates that e-mail messages and telephone calls are almost always responded to within 24 hours and that progress is being made toward responding to written inquiries within 10 working days.

USAIDís Office of Procurement will make noncompetitive awards within 90 days and competitive awards within 150 days.

Survey information indicates that progress is being made toward making competitive awards within 150 days.

STANDARD

RESULT

We will modify contracts and amend grants within 90 days of receipt of requests for action from line offices.

Survey information indicates that the Office of Procurement almost always makes noncompetitive awards within 90 days.

PVOs seeking registration and eligibility requirements to compete for development assistance grant funds are sent a complete registration packet within five days from the receipt of inquiry.

Survey data indicate that this standard is being met.

Applications to register new PVOs are reviewed and formal notice of acceptance or denial is mailed within eight weeks of receipt of fully completed application packages.

Survey data indicate that this standard is being met.

Within three days of an organizationís request for funds under a letter of credit, payment is deposited in its bank account via electronic funds transfer.

Survey data indicate that this standard is being met.

Access to information:

Outside vendors can dial in to an electronic bulletin board and check the status of all invoices and payments.

Survey data indicate that this standard is being met.

Provide assistance and acquisition information relevant to PVOs, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and private businesses through USAIDís gopher (gopher.info@usaid.gov) and USAIDís new World Wide Web home page (http://www.info.USAID.gov). These include: general information on USAID-funded programs; country strategies and implementation guidelines; USAID publications; all USAID solicitation documents; USAID procurement policies and opportunities; all procurement award notices, posted within five working days of approval; all USAID Commerce Business Daily notices, posted within 24 hours of appearing in the Commerce Business Daily; Center for Trade and Investment Services information on business opportunities; and Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization information on business opportunities.

USAID has a World Wide Web site in place to address this transparency standard. The site contains the information in this standard and is made available to customers and partners.

Introduction ||| Contacts ||| Contents ||| Beneficiaries ||| Business ||| General Public ||| Law Enforcement ||| Natural Resource Management ||| Research and Academic Community ||| States, Localities, and Other Partners ||| Travelers, Tourists, and Outdoor Enthusiasts ||| U.S. Government and Federal Employees ||| Veterans

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