The Hill

House passes new customer service standards for feds

US Capitol

The House passed a bipartisan bill July 31 that requires the government to set customer service standards for payments, benefits processing and response times to inquiries.

The measure, passed by voice vote, would put the Office of Management and Budget in charge of setting goals for customer service improvements, establishing targets for response times to calls, e-mails, payment requests and other inquiries, and establishing a pilot feedback program at the IRS and two other agencies to be determined, to monitor the results. Agencies would be tasked with implementing government-wide standards under the direction of their chief performance officers.

The bill would address the backlog of retirement claims at the Office of Personnel Management by requiring OPM to set a timetable for handling claims and a setting a deadline for switching to electronic processing.

"Today's House vote is a step toward better service for the millions of people who rely on the federal government. Citizens should expect federal agencies to deliver customer services at least as well as the private sector does, but this often is not the case," Sen. Mark Warner, (D.-Va.), sponsor of a companion Senate bill, said in a statement.

The House bill was sponsored by Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-Texas).

Read the Government Customer Improvement Act.

About the Author

Adam Mazmanian is executive editor of FCW.

Before joining the editing team, Mazmanian was an FCW staff writer covering Congress, government-wide technology policy, health IT and the Department of Veterans Affairs. Prior to joining FCW, Mr. Mazmanian was technology correspondent for National Journal and served in a variety of editorial at B2B news service SmartBrief. Mazmanian started his career as an arts reporter and critic, and has contributed reviews and articles to the Washington Post, the Washington City Paper, Newsday, Architect magazine, and other publications. He was an editorial assistant and staff writer at the now-defunct New York Press and arts editor at the online network in the 1990s, and was a weekly contributor of music and film reviews to the Washington Times from 2007 to 2014.

Click here for previous articles by Mazmanian. Connect with him on Twitter at @thisismaz.

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Reader comments

Fri, Aug 2, 2013

Isn't it nice that congress can set there like big fat generals and with a passing sweep of there collectively flabby arms pass new stupid laws that do nothing. I wish we the people could pass a law that would require congress (including both houses) member to have been successful in SOMETHING other than getting elected through lies and deceit.

Thu, Aug 1, 2013

By their own reasoning, obviously they haven't held themselves to the same standards for the past several years. When do they decide that it's time for them to provide service to those, their constituents, who rely on them for the management of their country?

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