ArchiveNational Partnership for Reinventing Government
(formerly National Performance Review)
An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers, and Their Partners-Pass It On
Reinventing Service at the IRS
Task Force member Marilynn Smith, a frontline worker from Kansas City, MO, said serving on the task force was the greatest honor of her life, but that co-workers said, "Yeah, yeah, another IRS task force, so what?"
"I told them this is different," she said. "This task force is headed by the Vice President of the United States...And there is a four-way partnership involved-the IRS, Treasury, the National Treasury Employees Union, and the NPR. And when NPR is involved, they make things happen. Even my Missouri co-workers can see a change in how we do business-and, believe me, that's saying something."
The Task Force's Recommendations
Customers say they want to hear from IRS only when necessary. IRS identified 50 categories of notices (letters) that can be eliminated, and 33 have already been axed. In total numbers, IRS will eliminate 45 million out of the 140 million notices it sends each year. Customers told the task force that IRS letters and tax forms are too hard to understand. The agency will simplify and rewrite the remaining letters and tax forms using plain language.
IRS will no longer measure "success" with enforcement measures such as dollar goals, but will rate performance on customer service, employee satisfaction, and business results. "We want to get IRS off people's backs," Vice President Gore said.
IRS will also support customer service with modern technology, and will give employees the tools, training, and support they need to do their jobs-especially the employees who deal with the public.
How to Get Copies
VA is Creating a Human Resource System That Will Work Better, Cost
Less, and Deliver Results That Employees Care About (Not to Mention
Recently tested by selected employees, including union representatives, at the 12 prototype sites, HR LINK$ is now available to all employees at those sites. Seven days a week, almost 24 hours a day, they can use a kiosk or a touchtone phone-through an interactive voice response system-to change personal information or pay records that range from Thrift Saving Plan allotments to tax withholding deductions. There are more than 20 transactions in all and customer service representatives will help employees learn and carry out the self-service functions.
Later this year, managers in the same location will initiate recruitment and classification actions on their desktop computers with expert systems. The mostly manual staffing and classification processes of the past can take months to create and fill a job. The new expert system will speed things up. Managers will select from a library of position descriptions to classify jobs. Employees will submit automated applications, which will be rated and ranked automatically at the new Shared Service Center in Topeka, KS. The SSC is the operational "link" in HR LINK$.
SSC Director Bruce Carruthers said, "I am reluctant to use the word 'empower' because it has become a stock term, but that's what this system does for employees and will eventually do for managers. It will enable them to perform their own transactions and to deal with workforce issues in a timely, cost-effective way." Taxpayers will see savings of $90 million in staff salaries over 10 years (that began with the project in 1995), against an initial investment of $70 million required to build the software and the SSC. And HR LINK$ eventually will be a "franchised" revenue producer that other agencies may want to use.
The volume of business-especially from employees seeking the help of CSRs-will determine the eventual staffing needs of HR LINK$. Currently the SSC is recruiting people with personnel management backgrounds. VA employees receive preference for SSC jobs and relocations expenses. For more information about HR LINK$, contact Bruce Carruthers at (785) 350-3700.
NPR Experiments With New Work Environment
All NPR phone numbers have changed except the main number, (202) 632-0150, and the fax, (202) 632-0390. Old phone numbers provide a voice referral to the new number. All e-mail addresses changed from "npr.gsa.gov" to "npr.gov." Start using the new e-mail addresses immediately. For more information on the work environment project, contact Jim Williams at GSA, (202) 205-0317, or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
National Partnership for Reinventing Government (formerly National Performance Review), 750-17th St., NW, Suite 200, Washington, DC 20006, Phone: (202) 632-0150. To subscribe by e-mail, write to Listproc@etc.fed.gov . Put this message in the message block: EXPRESS-L FIRSTNAME LASTNAME (no period). For fax subscription, contact Pat Wood at email@example.com or fax: (202) 632-0390. Also send reinvention stories to Pat.