Labor unveils e-gov strategic plan

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Labor Department Secretary Elaine Chao announced the department's e-government strategic plan today, electronically signing the initiatives into action.

The plan's goal is to make products and services more customer-friendly and make the department a government leader in implementing e-government initiatives. It is transforming the department into a "digital department," Labor officials said.

"We're spelling out how we intend to operate," Labor's chief information officer Patrick Pizzella said. "This is the first time since the [E-Government] Act of 2002 that we've put everything in one place."

The plan, based on the President's Management Agenda, is divided into four components: customer relationship management, organizational capability, enterprise architecture, and security and privacy. Within each area, the department has outlined more than a dozen programs to be completed during the year.

The department is nearing the final phase of implementing a common e-mail system, which should be completed by May or June, Pizzella said.

The first phase of another major initiative, the GovBenefits Web site, is expected to be complete by April, offering citizens access to every government benefit program. The site will then provide information and determine benefits eligibility for more than 300 programs.

The department also has implemented the DisabilityInfo Web site, which brings together all government information for people with disabilities.

"The Department of Labor is one of the first agencies to take the president's blueprint and run with it," said Rep. Adam Putnam (R-Fla.), chairman of the House Government Reform Committee's Subcommittee on Technology, Information Policy, Intergovernmental Relations and the Census.

The department received high marks on the Office of Management and Budget scorecard released last month, demonstrating the greatest level of progress in implementing the President's Management Agenda. Mark Forman, associate director for information technology and e-government at OMB, said the department was at the forefront of the e-government initiatives.

"I like the Department of Labor's e-gov strategic plan," he said today. "It's clearly focused on the customer."

E-government funding took a hit in the fiscal 2003 budget bill, receiving $5 million of the $45 million requested, but Pizzella said that wouldn't have a major impact on the department's initiatives.

"It just makes us have to review our priorities and see how we can best deploy the resources we have," he said. "Our plan is flexible enough to figure out you may not get all the funding you request."

Other initiatives in the plan include:

* A Web-based time and attendance system.

* A privacy Impact Assessment Program.

* A common office automation implementation.

* Initial launch of e-procurement.

* Public-key infrastructure network or e-Authentication.

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