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National Partnership for Reinventing Government

Social Security Administration

Commissioner Kenneth S. Apfel

Customer service has always been a top priority at SSA. However, since the Administrationís strong emphasis on Customer Service, SSA has continuously reevaluated its efforts and searched for new tools to increase its levels of service.

SSA has received over 80 Hammer Awards since the induction of the Program. SSA has greatly increased workloads, while shrinking resources over the past few years. It has used partnerships/alliances with other government and private sector agencies as an important strategy to help improve service.

SSAís first Hammer Award was presented personally by the Vice President in 1994 to the World Class Service Team. This group planned, developed and conducted a survey of all SSA employees to get ideas on what constitutes “world class service.” Beyond being a new approach to the way information is gathered at SSA, it also allowed employees to provide suggestions that would later be used to improve the Agency.

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Department of Labor

Secretary Alexis M. Herman

Vice President Al Gore visited the Department of Labor on June 20, 1994 to present five “Hammer Awards” during our first “Heroes of Reinvention” celebration. These awards highlighted the Departmentís initial reinvention accomplishments, and energized employees to continue to seek ways to make government work better and cost less. Other teams went on to win over 40 Hammer Awards and three Innovations in American Government Awards.

The impact of the Hammer Awards goes far beyond the ingenuity and determination of those teams that received them. The Hammer Award has become a symbol of common-sense government, that breaks down barriers of “Can't do it that way”, replacing it with “Lets make this happen”. DOL is deeply committed to reinventing government t in rough creative solutions, decisive action, and results that pay off for the American worker.

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Department of Health and Human Service

Secretary Donna E. Shalala

HHS has received over 85 Hammer Awards since the inception of the program. The Program has provided opportunities for HHS employees at all levels to identify worthy activities and practices that could be improved or changed in some way to obtain cost-effective results or advance HHSís mission.

The National Institutes of Health Intramall is an excellent example of a Hammer Award winner at HHS. This Team used business to business e-commerce to provide product information, on-line ordering, and sophisticated accounting and budget functions, all customized for the Federal procurement community. It has allowed the scientific community to purchase needed supplies more efficiently, and the NIH has decreased its processing cost per order from an average of about $50 to $5.

HHS is more focused on outcomes than ever before. The Hammer Award Program has allowed HHS to find news ways to do business. The HHS culture is shifting to one that is more open to partnering with States, consumers, academia, and its various contingency groups to achieve results Americans care about.

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Department of State

Secretary Madeleine K. Albright

The Hammer Award Program has been most helpful to the State Department by providing a means of public recognition for the many worldwide reinvention efforts, especially concerning consular functions in the Department.

Nearly every Passport Agency has submitted nominations for the Hammer Award following significant changes to their work processes that support the principles of Reinvention, and criteria of the Hammer Award: better service to the customers, reducing red tape, empowering employees, and getting back to basics.

Department of State has partnered with diverse organizations such as private corporations, domestic and international financial institutions, the US Department of Defense, as well as many other federal agencies.

The Hammer Award Program has allowed the Department to celebrate its successes and share its pride in working together for the American taxpayers.

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Department of Education

Secretary Richard W. Riley

“Our mission is to ensure equal access to education and to
promote educational excellence throughout the Nation.”

The Department of Education has received over fifteen Hammer Awards.

Through its experience with the Hammer Award Program, Department of Education learned that although an award is not particularly costly, it can still be extremely well-received. The physical Award has served as an inspiration and motivation for exceptional work, reinvention efforts, and accomplishments. At each of EDís Hammer Award ceremonies, employees have received their pins and certificates with extreme pride. Every employee, including Senior Officials, takes great pride in winning the Hammer Award and participating in the Award ceremonies.

The Reinvention Coordination Council and Team was given an award for EDís all-encompassing reinvention effort, which covered process improvements in over 20 administrative areas, including personnel, contracts and grants, building services, and inter-office communication.

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Department of Commerce

Secretary Norman Y. Mineta

Since 1994, more than 50 Commerce teams have received the Hammer Award for their reinvention activities. Teams include employee reinventors as well as their partners in state and local governments and the private sector who work together to build a better Department.

The NPR areas of reinvention helped Commerce employees focus on the value of teamwork and partnerships as they sought ways to improve Commerce processes and operations, cut costs and focus on results that are important to its customers. Hammer Award criteria also accelerated a change in focus to eliminate a stovepipe mentality.

There have been improvements to the programmatic operations and administrative functions in the majority of Commerce's bureaus, and each has benefited directly from the reinvention activities recognized through the Hammer Award Program.

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Department of Veteran Affairs

Acting Secretary
Hershel W. Gober

VA was the first agency to win a Hammer Award. It was given to the VA New York Regional Office in March 1994 for “Self Directed Work teams.”

The Hammer Award Program has played an important role in VA's efforts to improve the quality of care and delivery of benefits and services to our Nation's veterans. With the introduction of the Program in 1993, the Department of Veterans Affairs developed “customer service standards” that were communicated throughout the organization to ensure that it understood and met the needs of veterans and their families.

The Hammer Award served as an impetus to VA's endeavors to reshape all phases of its operations. This included the streamlining obsolete processes and regulations and the formation of partnerships that changed the way VA does business.

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Department of Agriculture

Secretary Daniel Glickman

“Our employees wear their Hammer lapel pins with pride
and we view these employees with pride. Their Hammer
symbolizes demolishing the old and rebuilding the new.”

The Department of Agriculture has won over 95 Hammer Awards.

The Hammer Award Program has helped the Department of Agriculture to refocus on the people it serves and regulates, build stronger partnerships, and improve productivity and efficiency in an environment of increased responsibility and dwindling resources.

Working with other agencies and the public, the Farm Service Agency led the Gleaning and Food Recovery effort and gathered 8.1 million pounds of food in 2 years. Teams in this agency also saved $12 million by automating the bid entry system for commodities they purchase for foreign food aid, improved the quality of the food purchased for domestic and foreign donations, and created a flexible design of conservation practices and financial incentives.

A Departmental Administration team developed a Purchase Card Management System that allows USDA employees to purchase goods and services faster at a lower administrative cost.

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