Document Name: Chapter 8: States, Localities and Other Partners
Date: 12/04/95
Owner: National Performance Review

Chapter 8

Customer Service Standards for

States, Localities, and Other Partners

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation

Reviews federal actions affecting historic properties.

We are committed to providing you with first-class service. When you conduct business with us, we will treat you with courtesy and respect.

Section 106 reviews:

* Review of Section 106 projects will be completed within the time allotted by regulation or sooner.

* Upon inquiry, we will provide information on project status, estimated time needed to complete review, or any associated problems.

* We will clearly explain our project review decisions so you can understand why and how they were made and what to do if you disagree.

* To facilitate better communication, the name of the employee responsible for your project, along with a telephone number, will be on every letter.

Technical assistance:

* We will respond promptly to requests for assistance or advice on federal historic preservation programs and related matters.

* We will provide appropriate referral to other sources of information if the request falls outside the Council's purview or we are otherwise unable to address it.

Education and publications:

* We will continue to produce publications that are written clearly and address the specific informational needs of our customers.

* We will fill requests for individual copies of Council publications or training information within three working days.

* Our publications will be regularly updated to reflect changing laws and regulations, and all publications will have a date of publication on them.

* At present we cannot meet all training demand. We will develop a plan that will facilitate the widest possible geographic and special-interest distribution.

Telephone standards:

* Our telephone system is designed to connect you with the person you called or, if they

are unavailable, their voice mail. Telephones will be answered by a person unless all lines are busy. If all lines are busy, you will receive clear instructions for leaving a message. Under unusual circumstances, it may be impossible to answer each incoming call.

We are working to improve this system.

* Your phone call will be returned within one working day of receipt.

* We will respond to your telephone inquiries

in a pleasant and helpful manner. Immediate, concise information will be

provided whenever possible. If such information is not immediately available, you will

be informed when you can expect to receive the information.

Agriculture (Department)

Food and Consumer Service

Food Stamp Program

Manages the Food Stamp Program in partnership with state, local, and tribal governments.

You can expect us to:

* Strengthen nutrition security by promoting policies that ensure all eligible households have access to a healthy, nutritious diet regardless of economic conditions, and by supporting state, local, and community-based nutrition education efforts.

* Actively pursue policies to streamline regulatory requirements and increase state flexibility in administering the program.

* Provide assistance to state agencies for implementing Electronic Benefits Transfer systems to increase customer dignity and benefit security.

* Improve program integrity by seeking new and innovative ways to increase benefit accuracy and to reduce trafficking and recipient fraud.

* Whenever possible, consult with you and solicit your input on the development of policies affecting your operations and ultimate customers.

* Encourage you to publish customer service standards for ultimate customers.

School Meals Programs

Administers the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs in partnership with state and local governments.

You can expect us to:

* Solicit your input on changes to program requirements by issuing, whenever possible, proposed regulations with a comment period of at least 60 days.

* Assist you in your efforts to implement the Dietary Guidelines for Americans by offering training opportunities, supplying low-fat recipes, improving the quality of commodities, and awarding grants to state agencies to develop a sustainable training infrastructure for schools.

* Enhance your efforts to serve fresh fruits and vegetables by providing training on their storage and use and by working with the Department of Defense to procure and deliver these commodities in an economical and efficient manner.

* Support nutrition education through our Team Nutrition campaign, including working with companies, the media, and others to provide posters, videos, parents' guides, and public service announcements; and using local chefs to work with school food service professionals in our Great Nutrition Adventure.

* Provide you with resources, including a computer bulletin board on the Internet; a traveling exhibit booth; support from community groups, such as PTAs and the Extension Service; and partnership agreements with the Departments of Education and Health and Human Services to support your nutrition education efforts for students, parents, and the community.

* Continue our efforts to streamline program administration, enhance administrative flexibility, and reduce paperwork.

* Safeguard program integrity through our continuing efforts to suspend or debar companies with a record of fraud and abuse in their transactions with schools.

* Provide you with materials and guidance on accommodating children with special needs.

* Encourage you to publish customer service standards for ultimate customers.

Office of Inspector General

Conducts audits and investigations.

What you, our customer, can expect:

* You can expect us to work closely but independently with Congress, USDA managers, and U.S. Department of Justice and state and local attorneys to address important or emerging issues and concerns regarding USDA's programs and activities.

* We will work proactively with you by directly encouraging your input into the audit and investigative process to identify areas that warrant our attention, and to engage in discussions with you up front on what we plan to do and what you can expect us to provide to you.

* You can expect to receive audit and investigative information to solve problems and improve operations. We will keep you involved and informed as our audit and investigative work progresses.

* We want to promote a high level of customer satisfaction and to ensure that we are providing you with timely, meaningful, and useful information and solutions to your problems. We plan to answer public concerns about fraud, waste, and abuse promptly, and provide you with accurate and accessible information to improve USDA operations.

* You can expect timely assistance to resolve or implement audit or investigative recommendations or information.

* We will coordinate regular meetings with you to discuss audit and investigative issues to ensure timely resolution and implementation of recommendations or to address other questions as they arise. We will keep you abreast of information you may need during debate on issues affecting USDA, by way of our issued reports or regular briefings.

Rural Housing and Community Development Service

Community Facilities Loan Program

Provides critically needed financing for the development of essential community facilities to public bodies, nonprofit organizations, and Native American groups.

We will:

* Keep our promises and be ethical in our service to you.

* Be polite, responsive, and assist you with a staff knowledgeable of our programs.

* Return your calls in an expedient manner.

* Be accessible and available to talk to individuals, organizations, and groups about our program.

* Give you assistance with your concerns, referring an appropriate source for problem-solving action when necessary. Our customers will not receive the runaround.

* Respect your right to quality and professional service.

* Treat you just as we would want to be treated ourselves and be fair to all people regardless of race, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.

* Be willing to work with you and any persons working on your behalf, and, if appropriate, to cooperate with other lenders or with other federal, state, and local agencies to meet your needs.

* Continually search for customer-related improvements.

* Listen to our customers to ensure RHCDS regulations and forms are customer-friendly and ensure success of the program.

* Efficiently and effectively provide you with assistance.

* Provide technical and professional assistance to our customers.

* Provide you with the necessary information, advice, and guidance on how to access and utilize the Community Facilities program.

* Refer you to other sources of information, assistance, or credit if it appears that you may qualify for alternative sources of programs or funding from commercial, private, or other governmental sources.

* Ensure that you are provided with appropriate forms and materials in five working days when you notify a Rural Economic and Community Development office that you are interested in filing a request for financial assistance.

* Provide assistance in completing all aspects of the application upon your request.

* Ensure that your request for financial assistance is reviewed promptly and that you are notified of eligibility within 45 days after we have received a complete pre-application.

* Provide a professional, supervised credit program to further ensure the success of your project.

Commerce (Department)

Economic Development Administration

Promotes the long-term recovery of economically distressed areas by assisting states, cities, counties, American Indian tribes, or private and public nonprofit organizations in generating and retaining jobs and stimulating commercial and industrial growth through grants and loan guarantees.

We will:

* Always find the answer. Customers will not be left "phone hopping" from office to office.

* Coordinate communications. If a customer sends a proposal for funding to Washington instead of their regional office, we will fax or mail the proposal on the day received to the regional office and advise the customer of this action.

* Strive to meet requests for conference speakers and meetings by providing the best resource person available.

* Provide publications and manuals at no cost. Annual reports, manuals, brochures, and program information are mailed or faxed to customers within 24 hours of the request.

* Provide notification of grant approval status so as to incorporate the distribution of a local press release to promote the project.

* Refer customers to the proper federal agency even when they are in need of non-EDA assistance.

Office of Telecommunications and Information Applications

Assists state and local governments, education and health care entities, libraries, public service agencies, and other groups in effectively using telecommunications and information technologies to better provide public services and advance other national goals.

Commitment to customers:

* We will provide you with all the information you need to understand these programs and to apply for funds. Our goal is to respond to requests for information within five business days.

* Program staff will be available at any step of the application process to provide technical assistance and to help ensure that your project proposal meets funding requirements.

* Notices of availability of funds, funding criteria, and eligibility requirements will be widely disseminated through mail, electronic mail, and Internet services such as the World Wide Web to keep you informed about these grant programs.

* Customers can subscribe to electronic mailing lists to automatically receive timely information updates from the grant programs.

* Information about all successful applications from previous grant rounds will be available by mail and will be posted on the Internet to help you prepare your application.

* The grant programs will conduct seminars and participate in trade shows and conventions to provide timely information and answer your questions.

Consumer Product Safety Commission

Partners in Safety

Promotes cooperation between CPSC and state and local authorities to protect the public against unreasonable risk of death and injury from consumer products.

To serve our state and local partners:

* We will develop partnership agreements with you to increase consumer product safety to your citizens and prevent any duplication of effort.

* We will make available the most current CPSC program and activity information so that you can respond quickly and effectively to your customers.

* We will respond to your requests for injury data, product recall advice, and educational materials within five days.

* We will recognize state and local officials as equal partners.

* We will value each state and locality for its uniqueness, recognizing that "one size does not fit all."

Defense (Department)

Office of the Secretary

Base Realignment and Closure Activity

Properly sizes the Department's base structure while meeting responsibilities to affected communities.

The Base Transition Office (BTO) will focus on the rapid, thorough resolution of specific issues. Our customer service standards are:

* We will respond to correspondence assigned or written to BTO within 14 days of receipt.

* We will work to resolve issues raised in the Base Closure Status Report within 60 days.

* We will provide a trained Base Transition Coordinator (BTC) at all major closing military installations requiring significant property disposal.

* We will train and empower BTCs to locally resolve more than 25 percent of the issues impeding base reinvestment at their assigned closing military installation.

* We will assist each Military Department to successfully convey the property at closing installations to local communities.

* We will assist communities in successfully implementing their approved Local Redevelopment Authority reuse plan.

Office of Economic Adjustment: Community Economic Adjustment Assistance

Provides economic assistance to communities.

The Office of Economic Adjustment will:

* Respond to all telephone inquiries regarding the Defense Economic Adjustment Program within one working day.

* Respond to all written inquiries from the public regarding the Defense Economic Adjustment Program within seven working days.

* Make an initial community visit to describe the Defense Economic Adjustment Program and assess the local economic impacts of the Department of Defense action within two weeks of a request.

* Arrange and schedule site visits within five working days of requests.

* Arrange for meetings with federal agency representatives within three working days of a request.

* Process a final, complete grant application within seven working days.

* OEA hosts federal team visits to communities so that community and federal representatives can develop an action plan for assistance. OEA meets regularly with federal representatives to review OEA customer requirements, and to ensure that requests are afforded priority consideration.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

Disaster Response and Recovery

Supplements state and local efforts to save human life, prevent immediate human suffering, or mitigate property damage.

* We will inform state and local officials of our policies and authorities, and participate in their emergency seminars and exercises when asked.

* We will provide emergency operations assistance (such as providing sandbags, pumps, technical assistance, etc.) when requested and in compliance with Public Law 84-99.

* We will provide post-flood assistance to include technical advice and assistance, debris clearance, debris removal, and temporary restoration of critical public facilities or services, and identify hazard mitigation opportunities as part of our interagency team.

* We will provide temporary assistance for emergency water supply as a result of a drought or contaminated source for up to 30 days or until the Federal Emergency Management Agency undertakes the provision of emergency water under its own authorities, whichever is earlier.

Environmental Management

Incorporates ecosystem management considerations in all aspects of its water resource projects, including those for navigation, flood control, storm damage reduction, hydroelectric, and recreation.

* We will work hand-in-hand with states, cities, and municipalities to fund, plan, and implement needed water and environmental projects that meet federal criteria.

* When recommending projects, we will carefully weigh costs and benefits to the environment with economic costs and benefits, reconciling society's demands with the vital need to sustain our natural environment.

* When requested by the Environmental Protection Agency or another federal agency, we will quickly apply our know-how in environmental engineering and management to investigate hazardous and toxic waste on defense sites, and clean them promptly and thoroughly as funding allows.

* We will continue to work with the public and industry through our four research laboratories to develop new technological solutions to environmental concerns and to make them available quickly.

Water Resources Operation and Maintenance

Operates 234 locks, dredges over 900 harbors, operates and maintains 383 major lakes and reservoirs for flood control, maintains 2,500 recreation sites, and provides hydropower at 75 sites.

* We will publish all scheduled lock outages and maintain procedures for notification of unscheduled outages.

* We will coordinate and share information with federal, state, and local officials of potential flood conditions.

* We will maintain the harbors and rivers of America's waterways so that they are open to traffic.

* We will maintain all recreation facilities in a clean and safe condition, and we will treat all of our visitors courteously.

Water Resources Planning, Engineering, and Construction

Provides developmental capabilities for water resources projects affecting the United States, in partnership with state and local communities.

* We will work closely with other federal government, state, and local officials to complete a definition of the problem with a goal of completing this activity for large projects within two years. These studies will be federally funded.

* We will work to develop a feasibility report of potential solution(s) for large projects within four years, for referral for action to Congress. These studies will be cost-shared.

* For those projects authorized, we will complete preconstruction engineering and design within two years. The design is federally funded up-front. The local sponsor will be asked to share design and construction costs when the project is under construction.

* We will provide the sponsor with an estimate of the construction costs and schedule prior to construction, and we will meet regularly with the sponsor to manage risks.

Environmental Protection Agency

Administrator for Water

Provides grants to states, tribes, and local municipalities to provide environmental protection.

EPA will finalize these draft standards after consulting with our customers in the coming year.

* We will reduce the amount of paperwork by 25 percent through consolidation of application and reporting requirements.

* We will acknowledge receipt of grant applications within 10 working days.

* For established grant programs, we will award grant funds within 90 days after receipt of a complete grant application (provided that the EPA office has received funding authorization).

* We will respond to telephone inquiries on assistance matters by the end of the next business day.

* We will consult with states and tribes in a timely manner throughout the development of all major grants guidance and policy documents.

Environmental Permitting

Regulates waste disposal and discharges into the air, water, and land.

EPA will finalize these draft standards after consulting with our customers in the coming year.

For the public, state, tribal, and local permitting authorities and permittees:

* We will prepare permits that are clear, fair, appropriate, and effective.

* Our permitting staff will treat you with professionalism and courtesy. Our staff will be knowledgeable, responsive, cooperative, and available.

For delegated state, tribal and local programs:

* We will conduct relationships with you that are characterized by partnership, open and honest dialog, efforts to empower you to the extent feasible and appropriate, and sensitivity to your needs and concerns.

* We will work with you to continually improve our delegation processes, so that they are efficient, effective, and as non-burdensome as possible.

Pesticide Registration

Provides pesticide registration information.

EPA will finalize these draft standards after consulting with our customers in the coming year.

* We will be courteous, accurate, and helpful in all dealings with our customers.

* We will answer telephone calls within 24 hours of receipt, when possible. If the person receiving the call cannot fully respond, the customer will be forwarded to someone who can.

* We will try to answer all correspondence within 10 working days of receipt. However, if our customers have raised questions that require extensive research to answer, it may take us longer. If we cannot provide a complete reply promptly, we will contact the customer within the 10-day period to explain why and when they may expect a full response.

* We will seek opportunities to involve all affected stakeholders prior to major regulatory or policy decisions.

* We will provide clear and accurate information about the policies and procedures for pesticide registrations and re-registrations.

* We will process applications and complete evaluations as promptly and efficiently as possible without compromising either scientific quality or health and safety considerations.

* We will ensure that we meet our statutory responsibilities to provide customers with easy access to all available information on pesticides.

* We will proactively involve regions and states prior to establishing major policies or making major regulatory decisions affecting them.

* We will undertake periodic surveys to find out what our customers think of our service and how we could make further improvements.


Provides assistance and information in the regulatory development process.

EPA will finalize these draft standards after consulting with our customers in the coming year.

* We will ensure that customers have input to the rule development process by conducting public forums and using electronic media and other forms of communication.

* We will write rules so they can be understood by the people who use and implement them. Rules should be tailored to the legal technical knowledge and resources available to those affected.

* We will work to ensure that all members of the regulated community know what is expected of them. To the extent possible, we will notify all known parties who must comply with the rule through written or electronic media.

* We will include in the preamble of all Federal Register notices accompanying a proposed or final rule, a plain English explanation summarizing the problem the rule is trying to solve, a summary of what the rule requires, and a short explanation of how the rule solves the problem.

Voluntary Programs

Promotes innovative ways to complement traditional regulatory approaches to environmental protection by emphasizing pollution prevention, common sense, flexibility, and economic performance.

EPA will finalize these draft standards after consulting with our customers in the coming year.

* We will always treat our customers with professional courtesy and respect.

* We will proactively provide our customers with accurate, up-to-date, and reliable information, products, and services, including high-quality documents and publications.

* We will actively listen to our customers' concerns and needs regarding our services and will develop technical assistance services designed to address those needs and concerns.

* We will ensure that inquiries will be referred to the right office and individual in EPA, or beyond EPA, if appropriate. We will encourage customers to report back on unsuccessful referrals.

* When possible, we will make every effort to respond to inquiries for information within two business days and for more complex inquiries within five business days.

* We will strive to make information available through various channels, including electronic media, faxes, and intermediaries such as state assistance organizations, trade associations, and state agencies.

* We will recognize, reward, and publicly acknowledge the accomplishments of our customers who achieve success in voluntary programs.

* We will make every effort to streamline and make customer reporting requirements as practical and non-burdensome as possible.

Federal Communications Commission

Private Land Mobile Radio Services

Regulates the use of the radio spectrum to fulfill the needs of businesses, state and local governments, aircraft, ships, and individuals.

When you telephone:

* You will receive a response to your inquiry within one business day.

* You will be transferred no more than twice; if the issue remains unresolved at the second contact point, we will obtain the required information and return your call.

* If you are transferred during your call, we will explain your issue to the recipient of the transfer so you do not have to repeat the reason for the call.

* You will receive accurate and consistent information on FCC policy and rules.

When you request license application forms:

* You will receive your form order within 10 days after we receive your mail or phone request. You have immediate access to forms through fax-on-demand and the Internet.

* You will receive, along with the application, material that clearly describes the licensing process.

When you apply for a license:

* You will be able to determine the status of your license application and where it is in the process.

* If your nonspecialized mobile radio systems application is error-free, you will receive your license within 70 days of receipt.

* If your application contains errors that can be resolved by telephone, we will telephone you. If all errors cannot be resolved, your application will be returned, but only after a complete review. Errors or omissions will be clearly indicated.

* Every five years, when your license needs renewal, we will send you your renewal notice 90 days prior to the expiration date.

Health and Human Services (Department)

Administration on Aging

Carries out the provisions of the Older Americans Act of 1965.

* Administration on Aging (AOA) will distribute funding under the Older Americans Act fairly and objectively, according to the requirement of law.

* AOA will assure complete accuracy in its official grant files.

* For periodic financial reports, AOA will strive to have at least 90 percent of reports received on time, and will follow up within two weeks on reports that are not received when they are due.

* AOA will track grants on a monthly basis for those ready for close-out. Outstanding sums identified at close-out will be reported to the Department's Payment Management system within one week of close-out.

* AOA will provide the aging network information and technical resources by establishing resource centers and other institutions that provide the help the network needs to assure high-quality services for older Americans. AOA will make every effort to respond to requests by the network to specialize in those areas where help is critically needed.

* AOA will work with the aging network to implement a new system of information collection that will provide accurate and reliable data about Older American Act programs.

* Following the implementation of the National Aging Program Information System, AOA will assure that the data are analyzed to identify trends and project the needs of older Americans.

* AOA will provide to the aging network the most accurate, up-to-date demographic information available.

* AOA will make information available upon request to the aging network in various formats on a wide range of subjects of professional interest.

* AOA will work with states and tribal grantees to identify areas of weakness in program administration under Title III, Title VI, and Title VII and to determine technical assistance resources available to correct any deficiencies identified.

* AOA will provide answers to routine policy questions within 45 days and will provide a timeframe, not to exceed 120 days, for more complicated questions.

Health Care Financing Administration

Medicare and Medicaid

Manages the Medicare and Medicaid programs.

Written responses:

* We will answer your written inquiries within 30 days of receipt. If, on rare occasions, we have reason to believe that responding will take more than 30 days, we will acknowledge your inquiry within 10 days.

Telephone standards:

* We will respond to your telephone inquiries in a pleasant and helpful manner. We will provide an immediate answer whenever possible; a firm commitment as to when an answer can be provided; or, at your request, an accurate referral to the proper party or a return call from someone who can help you. On at least 80 percent of your calls, you will be on hold for less than two minutes. Calls made in off hours will be returned the next business day.

Information needs:

* We are reviewing all of our publications and notices to assure that they can be understood by our customers. Our proposed changes will have customer input, as will their evaluation. By the end of this year, we will begin introducing our revised communications.

Medicare claims processing:

* We will process your claims for service accurately and within the times provided for in the law. If you are dissatisfied with the action we take on your claim, we will process your appeal accurately and within the times established in our published standards for contractors, and we will reduce the paperwork burden associated with appeals.

* We will provide you with more consistent determination on your claims by improving and simplifying our claim processing system.

Customer satisfaction:

* We will measure your satisfaction with Medicare, Medicaid, and managed care plans through the use of customer surveys, focus groups, public comments, meetings with customer representatives, etc.

* We will seek your ideas and the assistance of voluntary membership groups representing your interests in setting standards and evaluating our performance.

* We will accurately identify those segments of our customer population that may have special needs related to vision, hearing, mobility, literacy, the use of English, health status, and other factors. We will make a special effort to discover and define these needs and will strive to provide reasonable accommodations and access to services and program information. We will employ people qualified to address these challenges, and then encourage inclusive and innovative thinking in our workforce.

Health issues:

* We will prepare and distribute clear, understandable materials about the benefits and disadvantages of the managed care option, including performance data about individual plans, to assist customers in their health care decisionmaking.

Medicaid special standard:

* HCFA will encourage all states to establish customer service standards for Medicaid, and we will work with them to assure a goal of continuous improvement in customer service and program administration.

Health care quality:

* We will provide doctors and hospitals with information they can use to give better care to our beneficiaries, and we will monitor the effect of those activities.

* We will expedite our investigative and case review process as much as the law will permit when a complaint involves quality issues.

* We will respond to verbal or written complaints from beneficiaries or their representatives by mailing a complaint form to them within two working days of the telephone contact or responding in writing to written beneficiary complaints within 10 working days.

Program administration:

* We will fully investigate all potential program fraud and abuse leads to protect against unnecessary expenditures.

* We will work assiduously with our customers to identify and implement creative and effective approaches to improving our programs and our performance.

Housing and Urban Development (Department)

Office of Community Planning and Development

Stimulates community development through grants and loans to states, localities, and nonprofit organizations.

HUD has provided a point of departure for field offices in setting standards. Field offices are to take into account their local situation. Standards are to address these areas:

* Caring and commitment: A critical, but perhaps unmeasurable, standard for treating customers is the intangible factor of motivation to achieve the underlying mission of the department: caring about the needs of clients of HUD and helping them solve their problems.

* Timeliness: A common standard for customer service is timeliness. An important CPD standard established in the Consolidated Plan rule for responding to local partners is that CPD has 60 days to review the plan. Section I cites a timeliness standard imposed on grantees, in response to customer complaints from the public, of 15 working days.

* Flexibility in methods of achieving goals: CPD should allow its local partners flexibility, within the framework of the statutes, to achieve goals.

* Performance orientation: CPD should help ensure that our local partners produce results that serve our clients.

* Courtesy and respect: Every HUD customer deserves respect and courtesy.

* Honesty and integrity: Strict adherence to the federal government's ethics code and the Department's own standards of conduct is a critical part of maintaining proper relationships with customers.

* Fairness and impartiality: Customers are entitled to equal treatment with respect to the services for which they are eligible.

* Information accuracy and availability: HUD customers rely on accurate, timely, and complete information concerning CPD, HUD, and federal programs.

* Clarity: Communication with the public, state, and local partners should be in terms that the general public can understand.

* Competence: In order to provide accurate and timely information, CPD staff should be knowledgeable in the program areas or processes for which they are responsible.

* Partnerships and entrusting authority: Partnership is the emphasis in CPD in working with state and local governments and nonprofit agencies to serve end-users.

* Responsiveness to needs of end-users: The needs of low- and moderate-income end-users of CPD program assistance vary from place to place and change over time.

* Accountability: With greater decentralized authority to the field comes greater accountability.

* Evaluation and feedback: Part of any effort to improve performance in service to clients should be systematic evaluation and feedback to improve service.

Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity

In general, customers can expect the following customer service standards.

* Every customer is entitled to courteous treatment.

* Every customer should be provided with additional assistance should the need arise.

* Provide adequate telephone coverage throughout the business day to receive calls and answer questions.

* Provide an interim response when a complete response requires additional time for research or there is a heavy workload.

* Solicit feedback and react to customers' comments.

* Train all employees regularly on customer service.

* Encourage teamwork and assure that all staff are thoroughly informed.

* Provide basic program training to clerical staff, particularly those who deal with the public.

* Assure that each person in the organization conducts himself/herself as a professional.

Fair Housing Assistance Program

Implements fair housing policies and enforces fair housing laws.

Grants administration:

* Cooperative Agreements and pertinent attachments and appendices will be written in easily understood language with reimbursement requirements and timeframes clearly set out.

* We will provide continuous technical assistance.

* We will provide updated information and materials that assist in carrying out the provisions of the Cooperative Agreement.

Certification processing:

* Technical assistance will be provided to agencies seeking certification. All requests will be acknowledged within six months.

* Send agency's law or ordinance within three working days to the Office of General Counsel for legal analysis so an agreement between HUD and partner may be executed.

* Advance notice will be given of the date and documentation required for on-site technical assistance and performance assessment visits.

Performance assessment:

* We will provide guidance on criteria to be used to assess agency's performance.

Joint investigations:

* All joint investigations will be completed within 150 days.

Referral of complaints:

* Referrals will be made in writing within five business days of HUD receipt of complaint.

* Determinations regarding jurisdiction under the Fair Housing Act will be made on all complaints before referral.

* Approvals and closures of active cases by HUD reviewers in the field offices will be made 90 days after receipt of the case.

* In-depth reviews of closed complaint files will be completed within six weeks.

* All dual-filed complaints will contain a HUD case number and an agency case file number.

Technical assistance:

* We will provide guidance on drafting legislation.

* We will provide guidance on enforcement activities.

* We will provide testimony to legislators.

* We will provide assistance to agencies seeking certification.

Training and policy guidance:

* Partners are to receive all information in an easily understood format and language.

* Technical assistance activities and materials provided will be timely and useful.

* We will provide updated and adequate policy guidance.

* We will provide training to improve investigative skills.

Fair Housing Initiatives Program

Assists projects and activities designed to enforce and enhance compliance with the Fair Housing Act and substantially equivalent state and local fair housing laws.

Customers of the Fair Housing Initiatives Program can expect the following customer service standards.


* Provide guidance in implementing activities.

* Provide guidance in how to prepare reports and other deliverables.

* Provide guidance in how to prepare applications and outcome documentation.

* Provide timely responses to questions, concerns, vouchers, and reports submitted for review.

Financial matters:

* Provide technical assistance in compliance with Office of Management and Budget Circulars and HUD regulations.

* Provide training in financial management.

* Provide technical assistance in preparing budgets.

* Provide timely payment of vouchers.


* Provide training for potential applicants during the Notice of Funding Availability period.

* Provide information about the benefits of funded projects to the community in enforcing fair housing.

* Communicate with prospective applicants on the status of their applications.

* Provide technical assistance telephonically regarding HUD regulations and program concerns.

* Select grantees and award grants expeditiously.

* Provide thorough/adequate evaluation of deliverables given to the Department by the grantee.

* Provide concise and accurate notification of NOFAs and application requirements.

Regulatory Initiatives and Federal Coordination

Seeks to further fair housing through development of regulations and other guidance, administration of Executive Order 12892, and innovative projects to involve other federal agencies in removal of barriers to housing choice.

Customers, including the lending and insurance industries, consumer advocates, fair housing and civil rights groups, government officials, the press, members of protected classes, and the general public can expect the following administrative customer service standards:

* Provide guidance on interpreting fair housing law through the publication of proposed regulations governing lending and insurance.

* Provide substantive comments on proposed HUD regulations and policy regarding fair lending and insurance matters.

* Provide substantive comments on proposed legislation regarding fair lending and insurance matters.

* Provide training and informational briefings as requested to HUD employees, lending and insurance industries, consumer advocacy, fair housing and civil rights groups, government officials, the press, members of protected classes, and the general public.

* Provide timely responses to questions and concerns of customers regarding fair lending and fair insurance practices.

Office of Housing--Fair Housing Administration

Mortgage Assignment Program, Mortgage Approval Process, Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance, Section 203(k)

Stimulates housing through direct financing, loan guarantees, interest rate subsidies, and mortgage insurance.

You can expect our employees to meet the following standards:


* Every customer is entitled to courteous treatment.

* Every employee represents the Office of Housing.

* Display name plates or wear name tags as appropriate.

* Identify yourself and your organization every time you have a customer.

* Don't drop the ball--direct correspondence and telephone calls to the correct party.

* When transferring a customer, take time to reassure the customer that assistance can be obtained by speaking with another party in the office and that the caller is not being shuffled around.

* After assisting a customer, offer to provide additional assistance at a later time should the need arise.

* Provide a "real person" alternative to all voice-mail messages.

* Strive to provide foreign language alternatives and alternatives for the deaf and blind, when necessary.

Quality products:

* Provide all available information to a customer on the first call or letter; ensure that all questions are answered.

* Write in plain English, not technical or government jargon.

* Follow up regularly to ensure that quality products are provided.

* Advise customers/partners in writing when new policies or changes are being considered; involve them in the development phase.

* Consider the needs of customers/partners when developing products and procedures.

* Apprise customers/partners of operational problems; e.g., don't wait for the customer to call only to be told the system they need is down.

* Reach out to customers--go to their place of business when possible; conduct regular conference calls.

* Include a contact name, organization, telephone number, and effective date on every document; e.g., handbook, mortgagee letter, congressional and general correspondence.

Timely service:

* Ensure adequate telephone coverage throughout the business day; answer all phone calls by the third ring.

* Respond to all telephone inquiries within 24 hours.

* Respond to written correspondence within 10 working days.

* Provide an interim response when a complete response requires extra time for research or there is a heavy workload.

* Provide 1-800 customer service numbers when possible and economically feasible.


* Establish quantitative customer service goals and incorporate them into performance standards and Housing's plan where possible.

* Establish quantitative processing standards for each program or function.

* Solicit feedback and react to customer comments.

* Train all employees regularly on customer service initiatives.

* Institute random supervisory quality control checks to ensure that appropriate and adequate customer service is provided.

* Encourage teamwork so all staff are thoroughly informed.

* Provide basic program training to clerical staff, particularly those who deal with the public.

* Include in the headquarters telephone directory and each field office telephone directory a contact name and telephone number for each program area.

* Always conduct oneself as a representative of the organization.

Mortgage Assignment Program:

The following customer service standards are used by field office staff in handling customers who are seeking relief:

* Customer receives written notice from the mortgagee that the mortgage is in default. The letter outlines the eligibility requirements for the Mortgage Assignment Program and gives the customer 15 calendar days to contact the HUD field office.

* Customer contacts field office staff and requests acceptance in the Mortgage Assignment Program.

* Staff identifies documents needed to make eligibility determination and schedules a conference with the customer.

* Staff completes analyses of documents prior to conference.

* Decision on acceptance into the Mortgage Assignment Program is made within 90 calendar days from the date of the customer's initial telephone call to the date of final decision.

Mortgage approval process:

* Processing time from the date of receipt of the application package to date of final approval/rejection is 45 calendar days.

Rehabilitation Mortgage Insurance, Section 203(k):

Mortgagees (partners) make Section 203(k) loans available because HUD insures the mortgage before rehabilitation work is completed. If you are the mortgagee, you can expect us to meet this standard:

* Processing is completed and a mortgage insurance certificate is issued to the mortgagee within 10 days of HUD's receipt of the closed loan.

Public and Indian Housing

Administers a partnership between federal, state, and local governments, with the federal government providing subsidies and regulations on project operations.

Standards for our PIH partners include the following:

* PIH offices should be open to the public and available to do business during conventional work hours as that concept is defined locally.

* Any PIH staff person receiving an incoming inquiry--by telephone, letter, or personal contact--"owns" that inquiry until the substance of the inquiry has been conveyed to the office or individual responsible for a substantive response.

* During business hours, customers inquiring in person should wait no more than two minutes to be greeted and given an idea of when a technical person will be available to respond.

* During business hours, all telephone calls should be answered by a person within three rings.

* To the maximum extent possible, PIH field offices and headquarters offices will have a live person responsible for answering the telephone, promptly, every minute of the business day, including "flex-time" hours.

* Each office will establish a procedure whereby the principal receptionist or other telephone-answerer has a regular backup, and a mechanism by which the regular lets the backup know that he or she is "on call."

* Messages left by phone or in person should be returned by the time promised by the message taker or within a half-day of the respondent's return to the office.

Interior (Department)

Bureau of Indian Affairs

Serves as the steward for Indian and Alaskan Native lands and monies held in trust by the United States.

By the end of FY 1995:

* We will provide you with up-to-date information about the status of your claim, application, case, or inquiry on the day of your visit to our office.

* We will answer your telephone call in a pleasant, courteous manner and be responsive to your questions. We will return your phone call by close of business the next work day. If we are not able to assist you, we will direct you to the necessary office that will help you.

* We will respond to your written inquiries within five days of receipt of your letter, and we will seek resolution of your problems within 30 days.

* We will consult with and provide feedback to you regarding education issues under consideration through regularly held regional education consultation meetings.

* We will develop all new rules and regulations in partnership with tribes.

* We will establish a formal consultation process through which comments and concerns by tribal governments will be sought.

Justice (Department)

Community Relations Service

Conflict Prevention and Resolution Program

Resolves racial and ethnic conflicts.

* We will clearly explain the process that CRS uses to address racial and ethnic conflicts, and our role in that process.

* We will provide opportunities for all parties involved to contribute to, and work toward, a solution to the racial or ethnic conflict.

* If you are a participant in a CRS training session or conference, we will provide useful information and materials that will assist you in preventing or minimizing racial and ethnic tensions. If you would like more information, we will work with you to identify additional materials to meet your needs within three weeks of learning of your need.

* We will be prepared to provide on-site services in major racial or ethnic crisis situations within 24 hours of when your community notifies CRS or CRS becomes aware of the crisis.

* In non-crisis situations, we will contact you within three days of when your community notifies CRS or CRS becomes aware of the situation, to discuss your request for CRS services.

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Uniform Crime Reports Program

Provides information on crime in the United States.

* The Crime in the U.S. report will be published in the fall of each year.

* Report updates will be published semiannually in April and October of each year.

* If you are a member of the public, you may obtain copies of these reports for a fee by contacting the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing Office.

* To receive customized reports, you may contact our program staff, which will facilitate a response to your inquiry as soon as possible in written or electronic form.

When fully operational, the National Incident-Based Reporting System program will provide the following services:

* Data on 22 crime categories made up of 46 specific crimes will be collected (current system collects data on only eight crime categories).

* Information on every crime will be collected separately (current system uses a summary report, which reports only the worst crime in a multiple-offense situation).

* Age, sex, race, ethnicity, etc., will be reported for victims and witnesses of all crimes, which will allow for better analysis (current system reports this information only on certain crimes).

* System will provide the ability to quantify drug seizures in relationship to drug arrest (currently not available).

* Information will address such issues as hate crimes, white-collar crime, domestic violence, abuse of the elderly, etc. (currently not available in summary system).

Labor (Department)

Employment and Training Administration

Provides employment and training services for unemployed persons and issues cash benefits.

ETA is consulting with its partners about performance goals for FY 1996. In FY 1995 ETA made the following pledges to its customers:

* We will improve the promptness of our response to your requests for information and assistance while maintaining the high quality of those responses.

* We will make grants-related decisions in compliance with all legislated and regulated timelines 100 percent of the time.

* Within 45 days of your funding request, we will notify you of funding decisions for JTPA Title III National Reserve Account grants.

* Within 30 days of receipt, we will notify you of our decisions on your request for modification of your JTPA Title III National Reserve Account grants.

* Within 30 days of receipt, we will notify you of decisions on your requests to modify your Indian and Native American, Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker, or Older Worker program grants.

Mine Safety and Health Administration

Manages mine safety program.

* We will work with state and local institutions and associations to provide miners with useful, understandable information about mining health and safety.

Transportation (Department)

Federal Aviation Administration

Airport Grants

Works in partnership with the aviation community in determining the most prudent use of federal and local funds to support existing and future airport development needs.

FAA will:

* Respond to any request to be included in the National Plan of Integrated Airport Systems within 10 working days.

* Conduct special workshops and seminars and participate in state aviation and airport user group meetings whenever requested to provide advice and receive comments on planning and development guidelines.

* Update our advisory circulars to reflect the current state of the industry whenever changes are made to the airport development standards.

* Consider all requests for airport inspections within 30 days to determine conformity with federal standards.

* Conduct local joint planning conferences, as requested, and take necessary follow-up actions.

* Coordinate Airport Capital Improvement Plan formulation with airport sponsors on an annual basis.

* Respond within 30 working days to requests for assistance regarding airport development needs.

Civil Aviation Security

Seeks to protect the traveling public in air transportation throughout the world.

FAA will:

* Always seek input from and coordinate with all stakeholders before amending the Federal Aviation Regulations and security programs.

* Have Federal Security Managers at 19 major airports in the United States to coordinate security measures, policies, and programs.

* Have agents at airports across the country to conduct continuous inspections and investigations of security measures, to share results immediately upon completion, and to ensure corrective action.

* Provide Federal Air Marshals for in-flight security on selected flights for U.S. airlines.

* Conduct hazardous materials surveillance and inspection of all air carriers serving the United States to ensure safe handling.

* Provide training and support for K-9 explosive detection teams at major airports.

* Collaborate with FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, and U.S. Customs to develop strategies and state-of-the-art techniques for drug interdiction.

Federal Highway Administration

Federal Aid Program

Ensures the highest quality surface transportation system for the nation.

For our partners:

* We will inform you of all major changes in polices and regulations in a clear and timely manner. Except in unusual circumstances, you will have at least 60 days in which to offer your views on all proposed changes, and your views will be appropriately considered. The regulations will be clear and realistic and impose only the minimum necessary requirements.

* All of our partners and customers with whom we have a financial relationship will receive timely and accurate payment of all funds due to you. For those state partners who use electronic signature, we will make reimbursement payment to you on the same day that you request it.

* We will provide you, either directly or through other sources, with the best available training, technical assistance, and access to state-of-the-art transportation technology that will meet your needs.

* We will provide an open and cooperative approach to considering and deciding on changes that may affect practices, materials, or other aspects of transportation improvement activities.

* We will show integrity in our business processes, openness to innovation, and objectivity in our evaluations.

For the motoring and general public:

* All persons and businesses affected by federally aided transportation improvements will have an opportunity to present their views during the decisionmaking process, and they will receive all services and benefits to which they are entitled under the law.

* All federally aided transportation improvements will be undertaken with the aim of minimizing delay and maximizing safety in and around construction activities.

* We will work with our partners to address identified safety problems in a timely and prioritized manner.

* We will work closely with our partners to enhance the condition and performance of our nation's major roads and bridges.

* We will work with our partners to ensure quality and appropriate uniformity in signs, signals, and design standards on the nation's major highways.

* All federally aided transportation improvements will take full account of impacts on the human and social environment and on historical sites. We promise to minimize those impacts to the fullest reasonable extent, and to enhance the environment whenever possible.

* All of our partners and customers will be provided with timely and accurate information whenever you request it. You will receive the requested information, or a specific commitment for future delivery, within 10 days of our receipt of your request.

Motor Carrier Safety

Ensures safety on America's highways and the safety of the vehicles using the highways.

* We will inform you of every major change in motor carrier regulations by providing you with a copy of, or information describing, the new regulations, or by conducting industry briefings.

* We will provide information about regulatory changes to trade associations, trade press, and other motor carrier publications.

* You will receive information regarding changes in motor carrier regulations during our on-site reviews of your operations. You will also receive the specific information and materials needed to help you comply with the safety regulations.

* When you call or write to us requesting information, we will provide the information to you within five working days of receiving your request.

* We will work with state motor carrier safety enforcement agencies to ensure no duplication in the scheduling of on-site reviews.

* We will review your accident records and provide an accident prevention package to motor carriers that are experiencing accidents regardless of your safety compliance.

* If you are a hazardous materials or passenger carrier and receive an unsatisfactory safety rating as a result of our review, we will conduct a follow-up review within 45 days, as requested, to ensure you the opportunity to remain in business.

* We will periodically collect information from the entire motor carrier industry that will allow us to better serve you. The information request will ask if you are still in the motor carrier business, whether the nature of your business has changed, and how we can improve the information and technical assistance we provide to you.

* We will work with state motor carrier regulatory agencies, insurance companies, trade associations, and other industry groups to identify motor carriers that may not know that they are subject to safety regulations. We will provide these newly identified motor carriers with the information they need to comply with safety regulations.

Federal Railroad Administration

Promotes a safe railroad industry and encourages policies that help rail realize its full potential.

For our government customers, we will:

* Answer congressional letters within five working days and all other letters from our customers within 10 working days.

* Promptly process grant applications and contract proposals submitted by states, localities, private entities, and Amtrak in connection with programs that the Office of Railroad Development administers.

* Reach out to and consult with organizations, including labor unions, affected by reports and policy recommendations for which the Office of Railroad Development is responsible. Develop reports and publish conclusions and policy recommendations.

* Actively guide states in the development of applications for available funds under the Local Rail Freight Assistance (LRFA) program in response to continued restructuring by freight railroads.

* Communicate continuously with state participants in Section 1010, high-speed rail, and LRFA programs to obtain input in the effectiveness of grant programs.

* Sponsor outreach meetings and attend association meetings and conferences to foster customer partnerships.

* Obtain input from states in the effectiveness of grant programs.

* Work with commuter rail agencies and state departments of transportation, including Amtrak, to develop financing and operations coordination plans for the Northeast Corridor.

* Develop evaluation tools to provide states, Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs), and railroads assistance in determining the rate of return to prioritize projects in order to better allocate limited infrastructure dollars.

* Promptly publish results of R&D projects within 30 days of final approval.

* Promote the Partnership Transportation Investment (PTI) initiative at conferences.

* Conduct briefing sessions to help customers mold projects that will fit Federal Highway Administration guidelines for the PTI initiative.

* Develop a brochure to detail the status of the PTI initiative, including types of projects approved to date.

Railroad Safety

We will:

* Install toll-free lines to FRA Office of Safety headquarters and regional offices.

* Implement negotiated rulemakings--such as on trackside worker safety--whenever possible to encourage consensus building.

* Educate labor and management on inspection and enforcement procedures and use opportunity as listening post to seek feedback and suggestions.

* Conduct inspection demonstrations and briefings, including training videos, in partnership with labor and management customers.

* Conduct in-depth surveys of all major customers to improve customer services.

* Voluntary compliance: Develop safety profile for all Class I railroads and work with three railroads to develop systemwide safety management plans.

* Train small railroads on safety rule compliance and provide assistance to resolve safety issues.

* Reduce average time from receipt to resolution of safety complaints to 60 days.

* Use mentoring techniques to model best practices in safety performance: Bring together an exceptionally safe railroad with a railroad that needs improvement.

* Work with states to prepare inspection schedules; meet with states annually to minimize the disruption caused by duplicate scheduling.

* Investigate inspection complaints from railroads within 10 working days.

Federal Transit Administration

Provides financial assistance for transit planning, operations, and capital programs.

Grantees for public transportation can expect the following.

Grant assistance:

* We will provide you with courteous and timely service.

* We will implement an Electronic Grant Making and Management System by the end of FY 1996 that will reduce by more than 50 percent the amount of paperwork you are required to submit with each grant application.

* We will approve completed formula grants within 30 days of receiving the application.

* We will ensure that your grant drawdowns are deposited in your financial institutions in two days or less from the time of your request.

Technical assistance:

* In FY 1996 we will improve your access to program, policy, and procedural information by expanding our use of electronic media such as bulletin boards, the Internet, etc.

* We will respond to your routine telephone queries within 24 hours and routine mail queries within five business days.

* We will disseminate program guidance/technical assistance information within 30 days of availability of publication.

By the end of FY 1996, we will:

* Issue a guidance circular for the Capital Program.

* Update the circulars for the Urbanized Area Formula Program, the Metropolitan Planning Program, the Elderly and Persons with Disabilities Program, and the Non-urbanized Area Formula Program.

* Update the circulars for Title VI and the Equal Employment Opportunity programs and the guidance on environmental requirements.

* To ensure open lines of communication and enhance technical assistance, we will ask your participation in regularly scheduled outreach meetings, annual regional meetings, and town hall meetings; and continue to conduct formal customer service surveys.

We will use feedback received from you to:

* Stay abreast of your needs and evaluate our performance in serving them.

* Develop and improve training and other technical assistance.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

State and Community Traffic Safety Program Services

Works with state highway safety offices to plan and administer safety programs.

Program Planning:

* We will work with your office in the initial planning stages of major new traffic safety program initiatives and continue to seek your input as the plans evolve.

* At least once a quarter, we will inform your office of potential Section 403 priority project opportunities and activities and national organization initiatives, and solicit your ideas for other projects that merit 403 funding consideration.

Technical assistance:

* Every three years, we will perform a full program management and financial review of your Section 402 formula grant program, including ways to strengthen programs and streamline the financial management process.

* Once a year, we will conduct a meeting with your office to share the latest information available about:

-- available programs, funding sources, and technologies offering the greatest promise for reducing highway death and injury and the associated economic losses.

-- traffic safety projects and activities being planned or conducted by other federal agencies and national organizations.

-- interactive computer capabilities to enhance information exchange.

* We will review and approve your annual highway safety plan not later than 30 days after we receive it.

Program information and materials:

* Twice each year, we will provide your office with a Project and Program Materials Update summarizing the key projects, printed and electronic media, and other publications planned for completion and distribution during the next six months.

* We will ship program materials for major program initiatives, such as Campaign Safe and Sober, 90 days before they will be needed.

* We will provide your office at least a 30-day advance notice of when national media campaign materials will be distributed to media outlets.

* Each January, we will publish a catalog of traffic safety program materials that includes ordering instructions and the name of the person to contact about the status of orders.


* Each September, we will provide your office with a listing of traffic safety professional development and technical courses.

* Each January through March, we will help your office conduct a training needs assessment.

* We will deliver or arrange for the delivery of the courses identified in the training needs assessment.

Research and Special Programs Administration

Hazardous Materials Safety: Emergency Planning and Training Grants

Provides hazardous materials emergency planning and training grants.

Our commitment to you:

* We will return your phone calls before the end of the next business day.

* We will inform you of grant awards within 10 days after awards are made.

* We will provide you with a selection of emergency planning and training information as files available for downloading from the Hazardous Materials Information Exchange (HMIX) bulletin board.

* We will mail hazardous materials emergency preparedness curriculum guidelines, training materials, and other safety-related publications within one week of receipt of your request.

* We will add your name to our mailing list when requested. You will receive the hazmat newsletter, safety notices, public meeting announcements, and other safety-related information on a continuous basis.

* We will help you assess the content of your selected courses to verify that they will qualify as hazardous materials training under the grant program.

Pipeline Safety

Ensures the safe, reliable, and environmentally sound operation of the nation's pipeline transportation system.

Our commitment to you:

* We will hold exit interviews after all pipeline safety inspections to advise pipeline operators of safety deficiencies and ways to achieve compliance.

* We will conduct public education campaigns and participate in public forums at least six times a year to increase public understanding of pipeline safety, one-call systems, and damage prevention programs.

* We will respond to your telephone inquiries no later than the end of the next business day.

* We will acknowledge your requests for pipeline safety waivers, interpretations, and petitions within 10 days of our receipt. These requests will be processed within 60 days of receipt. If more time is required, we will provide you with a written explanation.

* We will provide technical assistance and training, on an ongoing basis, to aid small pipeline operators in meeting federal safety standards. We will also provide you with information on changing pipeline safety technologies through professional seminars, safety publications, public meetings, and fact sheets.

* We will work to provide faster service for our state partners by offering electronic access via the Internet. World Wide Web access at Research and Special Programs Administration menu:

* We will seek your input on improving pipeline safety regulations and work with you to develop risk-based pipeline safety regulations and nonregulatory approaches to safety concerns.

U.S. Agency for International Development

Independent federal agency that manages U.S. foreign economic and humanitarian assistance programs around the world; promotes sustainable development worldwide that does not exhaust local resources or damage the economic, cultural, or natural environment.

Domestic Development Partners

Based on issues and concerns raised in numerous forums, USAID has developed these standards to address our domestic partners' concerns. They represent the way USAID will work to achieve a more efficient relationship with our development partners and service providers. USAID is committed to providing:


* On a regular basis, we will communicate with our customers to improve our processes and simplify our business practices.

* We will include our customers and partners in an ongoing, consultative process on policy, programmatic, and procedural matters.

* We will hold semiannual vendor meetings for service providers and partners.

* We will periodically survey customers and partners to see if the changes in our policies and procedures are working to eliminate the impediments you have identified and report customer satisfaction.

* If USAID issues a grant, cooperative agreement, or contract, an Agency project officer will be assigned to facilitate our relationship. The project officer will provide his/her phone number, address, e-mail address, and fax number.

* To simplify the Private and Voluntary Organizations (PVO) registration process, we have, in collaboration with our PVO partners:

-- Reduced the number of documents required from new PVO registrants from 18 to six.

-- Reduced the number of documents required annually from PVO registrants from six to three.

-- Revised and simplified USAID Form 1550-2, used to compute a PVO's "privateness percentage."

* To be more consistent in applying USAID policies and procedures, our contracting and grants officers:

-- Interpret and apply policies and regulations consistently in awarding grants and contracts.

-- Eliminated redundant procurement processes, procedures and reporting requirements by December 1994.

-- Published and made available by September 30, 1994, A Guide to Doing Business with the U.S. Agency for International Development, which clearly and concisely describes USAID's policies and procedures.


* We will improve the turnaround time for our processes.

* We will answer your questions in a courteous, prompt, and professional manner.

* You will receive an initial response to calls and e-mails within 24 hours; written inquiries will be answered within 10 working days from receipt. If a full response is not possible within these periods, we will indicate a probable timeframe for resolution.

* USAID's Office of Procurement will make noncompetitive awards within 90 days, and competitive awards within 150 days.

* We will modify contracts and amend grants within 90 days of receipt of requests for action from line offices.

* PVOs seeking registration and eligibility requirements to compete for development assistance grant funds are sent a complete registration packet within five days from the receipt of inquiry.

* Applications to register new PVOs are reviewed and formal notice of acceptance or denial is mailed within eight weeks of receipt of fully completed application packages.

* Within three days of an organization's request for funds under a letter of credit, payment is deposited in its bank account via electronic funds transfer.

Access to information:

* USAID will offer greater access and more transparency to Agency activities and information.

* Outside vendors can dial in to an electronic bulletin board and check the status of all invoices and payments.

* Assistance and acquisition information relevant to PVOs, nongovernmental organizations, universities, and private businesses are available on USAID's gopher ( and USAID's new World Wide Web home page (

Information available includes:

* general information on USAID-funded programs,

* country strategies and implementation guidelines,

* USAID publications,

* all USAID/W solicitation documents,

* USAID procurement policies and opportunities,

* all procurement award notices, posted within five working days of approval,

* all USAID Commerce Business Daily notices, posted within 24 hours of appearing in the Commerce Business Daily,

* Center for Trade and Investment Services information on business opportunities, and

* Office of Small and Disadvantaged Business Utilization information on business opportunities.

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