National Partnership for Reinventing Government
(formerly National Performance Review)


October 16, 1998, Vol. 4, No. 12

An Information Sheet for Federal Communicators, Managers, Workers and Their Partners-Pass It On

-- New Online Magazine Spotlights Federal IT Successes
-- NPR's Website Puts on a New Face
-- All OSHA Employees Get E-Mail About Plain Language
-- Treasury Proposes a Single "Electronic Face" to Collect Trade Data
-- Interagency Benchmarking Site Recognized

New Online Magazine Spotlights Federal IT Successes

A new web site, Access America Online Magazine, hit the information highway this month. It features weekly human-interest stories about how federal agencies are using information technology to deliver services to their customers and increase productivity. The theme is based on Vice President Gore's vision of an electronic government in his 1997 report, Access America Reengineering Government Through Technology. The new online publication is the result of a partnership that includes the Government Information Technology Services Board . GITSB members "champion" the visionary goals outlined in the report. Other partners are the Chief Information Officers Council, the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, and the Federal Communicators Network. Network members are supplying many of the stories and story ideas for the magazine. We invite your agency to send your stories to Pat Wood, NPR, (202) 694-0063 or We also invite writers, editors, public affairs specialists, trainers, librarians, web managers, and other government communicators to join the Federal Communicators Network. FCN welcomes public and private sector members. Contact Lee Wexel, NPR, at (202) 694-0036 or You may also apply for membership on the website above.

NPR's Website Puts on a New Face

If you're a frequent visitor to NPR's website, you'll notice that we have a new face to display our vision and the work we're doing to help federal agencies reinvent themselves. Our spruced up homepage is a newsletter format so that you can see our top news or feature stories first. Our new homepage also has 31 buttons to get you to your favorite reinvention pages faster--things like the calendar, tools, Hammer Awards, Reinvention Labs, High Impact Agencies, Plain Language, Access America, and Conversations with America. Our reinvented web site also has some new features, such as a topical index and a pull-down box of 20 federal one-stops on the World Wide Web. Many of these information-rich sites, such as U.S. State and Local Gateway, were developed by multi-agency partnerships led by NPR. Some of the earliest one-stops, such as FinanceNet and Acquisition Reform Net (ARNet), helped spawn successful reforms and then were spun off as reinvention took hold. We hope our new website will provide timely tools to reinventors, helpful information to students and researchers, and ample evidence to the American people that government is beginning to work better, cost less, and deliver results that people care about. In the future, we hope to add an interactive forum so that reinventors can talk to each other and to their customers.

All OSHA Employees Get E-Mail About Plain Language

In June, OSHA's Marthe Kent, Director of Regulatory Analysis, received Vice President Gore's first No Gobbledygook Award (See This month Assistant Secretary Charles Jeffress made sure that all employees at the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are up to speed on the Plain Language Executive Memo that took effect on October 1. He sent them an e-mail message with the guidelines attached. "I personally made the commitment that OSHA will support the President's Plain Language Initiative," he told OSHA employees. The Assistant Secretary designated his Special Assistant Art DeCoursey to lead the agency initiative. He asked OSHA employees to "work with Art and me to achieve the goals of the President's initiative."

The President's directive gave agencies a deadline of October 1 to use plain language in new letters, forms, or other documents that explain how to obtain a benefit or service or how to comply with a federal requirement. By January 1 agencies must use plain language in all proposed and final rulemakings published in the Federal Register, unless they proposed the rule before that date. For more information on plain language, including award criteria, visit If your agency needs help with plain language, call the National Partnership for Reinventing Government hotline at (202) 694-0075.

Treasury Proposes a Single "Electronic Face" for Government to Collect Trade Data

If your agency's customers include importers, exporters, brokers, carriers and others associated with international trade transactions, you may want to pass this message along. Treasury has announced a draft report and a public meeting on an interagency Trade Data System, a National Partnership for Reinventing Government information technology initiative. You can find out more about the meeting and access the draft report at The briefing is set for Thursday, November 5 at 9 a.m. in the Commerce Auditorium at 14th and Constitution Ave., NW, Washington, DC. If you want to attend to present your views, you must call (202) 216-2760 or send an e-mail from the web site by October. 21. If you just want to attend, your deadline to respond is November 2. And here's another deadline. If you want to comment on the proposal but don't want to go to the briefing, you have until November 12 to get your comments in. Send your written comments to the Department of the Treasury, International Trade Data System Project Office, 1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 4000, Washington, D.C. 20229, or by e-mail at

Interagency Benchmarking Site Recognized

The Inter-Agency Benchmarking & Best Practices Council Website, has been recognized as among the best in the world for content by the Harvard Business School Press in its monthly newsletter, Harvard Management Update. The site is supported primarily with staff from the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Policy & Planning. The Council's homepage was also recognized in a book published in the United Kingdom, "Benchmarking for Competitive Advantage," by Professor Tony Bendell of the University of Nottingham. The book includes a case study on the Council. The National Partnership for Reinventing Government is a partner of the Council. For more information about the Council, contact James Cavanagh at the Department of Energy, (202) 586-8257 or

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