OMB wants more e-gov users

Officials at the Office of Management and Budget want to determine how to get more people to use e-government and see how results-oriented management affects federal workers.

Merely building federal e-government initiatives is not enough to make citizens use them, and officials are trying to figure out what will, Clay Johnson, deputy director for management at OMB, said today at the FOSE conference in Washington, D.C.

Within two weeks, the agency will start an effort with the Council for Excellence in Government to determine who is most likely to use each service covered by e-government initiatives, how to contact them, what information they will respond to and other issues. E-government offerings don't have as many users as they should, Johnson said.

He cited the Internal Revenue Service's Free File group as an example of an organization trying new things to reach its potential audience. This year, Free File is sending postcards to people who fit the general profile of eligibility for free federal income tax filing -- about 60 percent of the U.S. population.

OMB officials want outreach for each initiative. "There will be a different marketing plan for each one of them," Johnson said.

Today also marks the beginning of an effort to establish how a results-oriented government affects federal employees. OMB officials have been working with union leaders -- including Colleen Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union, one of the two largest federal employee groups -- to determine how goals and results measurement affect the management and work environment, Johnson said.

Officials expect focus groups to start this week at the departments of Transportation, and Health and Human Services, and next week at the Interior and Veterans Affairs departments.

These questions feed back into the Bush administration's push for the Human Capital Performance Fund, Johnson said. Under that fund, employees will be rewarded for high performance, although agency officials are still struggling to learn to set performance goals and measure improvement.

The bottom line, he said, is that "you don't improve your ability to perform every year just by working harder."


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