Management

Senate bill makes it easier to post feedback to the government

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To improve the customer experience with federal agencies, two senators are looking to cut through some bureaucratic red tape to make it easier for agencies to ask for user feedback.

Sens. James Lankford (R-Okla.) and Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) are looking to improve federal customer experience by eliminating an interagency review process that's currently required to approve the solicitation of public feedback.

Langford and McCaskill occupy leadership posts in the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, Langford as chairman of the Subcommittee on Regulatory Affairs and Federal Management; McCaskill is ranking member of the full committee.

"Most people think interacting with the federal government is unpleasant -- but at the same time we're making it difficult for agencies to ask the public how they can improve -- it makes no sense," said McCaskill in a statement.

To roll back this requirement, the two introduced the Federal Agency Customer Experience Act.

"If the American people have a problem with customer service from a federal agency, they should have a quick and easy way to let their government know there is a problem," Lankford said. "This legislation simplifies agencies' efforts to receive voluntary customer feedback by eliminating an extensive and cumbersome interagency review process."

Instead of the interagency review, the bill would require agencies to collect feedback across "all platforms or channels" through which they interact with users and post the results on their respective websites.

The director of the Office of Management and Budget would stand up "or make use of an existing" website to serve as a centralized page with links to the information posted by the agencies. The U.S. comptroller general, who heads the Government Accountability Office, would submit to Congress a customer service scorecard "assessing the quality of services provided to the public" by each agency.

"We must do more to increase federal customer service and remove unnecessary requirements that make basic services tedious and overly bureaucratic," Lankford said.

About the Author

Chase Gunter is a staff writer covering civilian agencies, workforce issues, health IT, open data and innovation.

Prior to joining FCW, Gunter reported for the C-Ville Weekly in Charlottesville, Va., and served as a college sports beat writer for the South Boston (Va.) News and Record. He started at FCW as an editorial fellow before joining the team full-time as a reporter.

Gunter is a graduate of the University of Virginia, where his emphases were English, history and media studies.

Click here for previous articles by Gunter, or connect with him on Twitter: @WChaseGunter

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