National Partnership for Reinventing Government
(formerly National Performance Review)
March 19, 1996 Vol. 2, No. 8
An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners--Pass It On
Have you ever used your agency's listing in the phone book's blue pages of government numbers? Most listings read like an organizational chart, with names of offices and divisions, not services that people are tying to find.
The General Services Administration has the lead in a reinventing government initiative underway with federal agencies to make their blue pages more customer friendly. The inspiration came from the Federal Executive Board in Denver. An FEB team--with representatives from the General Services Administration, Office of Personnel Management, Government Printing Office and the FEB Board--partnered with U.S. West to lead federal agencies in the Denver area to improve their listings. Denver's improved blue pages came out last November. Some organizations that have high involvement with the public--like Social Security, Agriculture, and Transportation--are also pioneers in improving federal phone listings.
For the government-wide initiative, a special team is working to create a standardized, user-friendly format to be used by about 30 companies that publish the 6,200 telephone directories in the U.S. If you have ideas for improvements, can share good or bad experiences using federal blue pages, or can help in your area, please contact Sue Valaskovic or Candy Kane at NPR, (202) 632-0150 or email@example.com. To ask about Denver, call Lea Chapan at (303) 676-7009.
The Oklahoma Federal Executive Board has established a home page on the World Wide Web that is linked to the National Performance Review's home page. FEB Director LeAnn Jenkins plans to post the monthly newsletter, meeting announcements, information about the Cooperative Administrative Support Unit (CASU), and reinventing government activities by Oklahoma agencies. "We want to use the Web to offer federal agencies information and ideas about working together and we want to show the public what Oklahoma agencies are doing to save money, cut red tape, and improve customer service," LeAnn said. The URL for the FEB Web site is http://www.mmac.jccbi.gov/feb-okc/. Call LeAnn at (405) 231-4167.
It's no secret: training is often among the first things to go when money gets scarce in a federal organization. Nobody ever said this was smart, just easy. Isn't it time we took a fresh look at how we approach training, especially with smaller budgets in the years to come?
The Department of Housing and Urban Development has done it. HUD has been slowly, but radically, reshaping its departmental training activities for almost 3 years under Secretary Henry Cisneros. Instead of being swept away in a downsizing fervor, training has become a separate and elevated organization, focused on the departmental mission and guaranteed a dedicated budget that will not be reduced every time HUD faces financial constraints.
Most of the changes were proposed by a 35-member task force blessed by the Secretary. It was made up of representatives from union and management, headquarters and field. Here's what HUD has accomplished.
CENTRAL FOCUS--HUD moved its training function into a new Academy, with field staff staying in the field, but reporting directly to the Field Training Manager in headquarters. This assures that training is focused, prioritized around HUD's objectives, and technically consistent.
TECHNOLOGY-BASED DELIVERY SYSTEM--For some training, it's not cost effective to bring 30 or 40 employees to a central site for training. New satellite training reaches 400 to 500 people at one time in field office sites. HUD's Television Network has 56 sites, fully equipped with a keypad system that allows interaction between the participants and the instructors. In addition to reaching many more people, HUD's distance learning technology has saved several hundred thousand dollars over traditional classroom methods. It also has increased the variety of programs and the consistency of technical training like legislative and program changes.
OPEN TO PARTNERS--HUD now opens its training to its business partners. For example, comprehensive training on the Single Family Assistance Program was provided to about 500 field staff and representatives of lending institutions in FY95. Plus, a videotape was sent to the Mortgage Bankers Association for its members. This interdisciplinary approach also facilitates people from within and outside HUD to interact (both in person and via technology) and plan ways to improve our nation's communities.
CAREER TRAINING--HUD is providing opportunities for its staff to further their own career goals. The Department has set up partnerships with academic institutions over the country to offer certificate programs in a variety of fields, including housing and community development, business finance, and real estate management. In most cases, employee compete for slots. Twenty-three educational partnerships were in operation in FY 1995, with 1,500 HUD staff participating. Several hundred employees will participate this year. In addition, HUD set up a mentoring program with 500 participants.
"With these reforms, training is moving into the mainstream of HUD operations to become an integral part of the management process," said Sandra Webb, Administrator of the HUD Academy. For more information, contact Sandra at (202) 708-3368.
For more information, contact Pat Wood, National Performance Review, 750-17th St., NW, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 632-0223; FAX: (202) 632-0390; email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The Express is on the Internet at http://www.npr.gov.To subscribe, send an e-mail message to: Listproc@etc.fed.gov. Put this message: SUBSCRIBE EXPRESS-L FIRSTNAME LASTNAME. (Put three spaces: after the word "SUBSCRIBE," after "EXPRESS-L," and after your FIRSTNAME.)