National Partnership for Reinventing Government
(formerly the National Performance Review)
Original Task Force, 1993
This group was organized into two sets of teams. One set of teams reviewed individual agencies. The other set of teams focused on government wide systems - procurement, budget, personnel, etc. These teams were expected to produce recommendations for tangible improvements on the government’s services to the public.
The President also directed agencies to create their own internal reinvention teams to work with NPR to develop other recommendations for improvements. In addition to these teams, Vice President Gore asked agency heads to create "reinvention laboratories" - units within agencies that would pilot innovations in service delivery. Reinvention laboratories are also granted waivers from internal agency rules to allow them the flexibility to be creative.
Among the most notable government-wide accomplishments in 1994 were:
- Working with Congress to pass laws that improved how the government did business. This included reforms such as providing agencies with the authority to reduce the size of the workforce (by offering bonuses for employees leaving voluntarily), and simplifying the government’s procurement system.
- Helping agencies create their first sets of customer service standards.
- Developing the "Hammer Award" so the Vice President could publicly recognize innovative teams of federal employees who had reinvented their part of the government.
Individual agencies were responsible for implementing two-thirds of the recommendations because they were specifically targeted to them. Recommendations affecting all agencies (i.e. budget or civil service reforms) became the responsibility of interagency groups, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), or NPR.
Employee-focused Reinvention Efforts
To assist in communicating the reinvention message to the federal work force, NPR developed a variety of materials including: a training video, an interactive CD-ROM disk of the original reports, an electronic forum on reinvention issues involving hundreds of people across the country, and created a newsletter for federal employees. The task force also sponsored "Net Results" - an electronic interchange of information and ideas among federal employees and the general public. This now has been adapted into the NPR main web site with links to a series of other related sites.
Trust in Government
When last measured by the University of Michigan in 1998, the public's trust in government had nearly doubled within a four-year period to 40 percent. While this cannot be totally attributed to the results of reinvention, NPR believes reinvention has made an important contribution in raising the public's trust in the government and creating a better workplace for federal employees.
Phase II Initiatives, 1995
Specific Phase II initiatives included:
- Undertaking a major reform of the regulatory system. Agencies identified $28 billion that could be saved each year by reducing regulatory burdens and eliminating 16,000 pages of unnecessary regulations. They also proposed to change the way they enforced regulations by increasing the use of partnership arrangements and freeing up resources for effective enforcement.
- Having agencies review their current programs to identify areas that could be eliminated. This led to the elimination of 250 programs, such as the Tea Tasting Board.
- Revising customer service standard programs. The October 1995 Customer Service Standards report shows 214 organizations with over 3,000 standards of service to the public.
- Using benchmarking studies to encourage broad action across agencies on specific issues, such as "tele-servicing."
- Expanding work with state-local governments on the use of performance agreements in place of restrictive grant programs.
Transforming Agencies with the Greatest Impact on Americans
High Impact Agencies will complete the reinvention of their operations and their relationships with their customers.
NPR continues to work with those agencies that have the most interactions with individuals and businesses. One effort, for example, is a new initiative to use "Plain Language" in government communications. Following a June 1998 Presidential directive, agencies are now required to communicate in clear, understandable language with their customers. As an incentive, Vice President Gore presents an award monthly to an employee or group of employees that have done a terrific job in rewriting specific communication or regulation documents.