Most Governments Outsource Critical Activities, and more
Paper Industry Sets New Recycling Goal
The American Forest and Paper Association, in part-nership with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), seeks to recycle 55 percent of all paper consumed in the United States by 2012. Office buildings, schools, and municipalities, in particular, will be encouraged to increase recycling efforts.
The industry is expected to meet its current goal of 50 percent recovered paper in 2003. The 55 percent goal represents an increase over today’s paper recycling levels by the equivalent of 23 full Empire State Buildings per year. More than 38 percent of all raw material used to make new paper comes from recovered paper.
U.S. Department of Labor Boosts e-Government Security
The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has turned to identity and information software from Entrust, Inc., to reduce paperwork and promote secure, digital alternatives to sensitive documents. The software meets General Accounting Office (GAO) requirements for financial disbursements.
The DOL was also motivated by the Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) requirement for federal agencies to enable the use and acceptance of electronic documents, signatures, and recordkeeping by September 30, 2003. Department officials will use digital signatures that can be deployed easily and administered by government personnel.
Directory Will Connect 22 Agencies Within Department of Homeland Security
An e-mail/meta directory, created by Syntegra’s federal business unit and PEC Solutions, Inc., will electronically connect the 22 agencies in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
The solution will translate legacy e-mail addresses from the agencies into new DHS addresses. The Webbased directory will allow inter-agency access to addresses of the 170,000 DHS employees.
Missouri Launches Internet-Based Bioterrorism Response Tool
A statewide Internet link between hospitals, emergency responders, and public health specialists is equipping Missouri officials to enhance communications and respond quickly to emergencies.
Missouri officials announced implementation of hospital, health, and emergency resources tracking, expanding an EMSystem network already in place in St. Louis and Kansas City since 2000. Using the system, officials can track and monitor the status of health care resources, manage multi-casualty incidents, detect disease patterns, and quickly communicate public health events to a broad audience.
Department of Justice Wins E-Government Industry Award
The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs (OJP) has won the E-Gov 2003 Explorer Award for its electronic solution to processing grants.
The OPJ is among 50 government agencies—out of more than 250 applicants—being recognized for innovative e-government initiatives.
Originally implemented in 1999, the OJP Grants Management System (GMS), is a Web-based tool that makes processing grants easier and faster. The system provides automated support throughout the grant life cycle for OJP staff, as well as grant applicants and grantees.
GMS is used to process grant management activities of OJP’s 13 bureaus and offices and handles more than 10,000 applications per year. Using the program, the award creation process takes about three weeks to complete. Under the paper-based system, the process took three months.
“With GMS, information that our staff used to spend hours searching for is now available at their fingertips,” says David Zeppieti, OJP Chief Information Officer. “The staff’s ability to sort, research, and modify grant information on their desktops means that the days of sorting through thousands of paper files are a thing of the past.”
Most Governments Outsource Critical Activities, Report Finds
Nearly 90 percent of government executives outsource activities that are “important or absolutely critical” to their mission of citizen service delivery, finds a recent study by Accenture. Only two percent of those surveyed said that outsourcing is “relatively unimportant.”
The study, which entailed surveying and/or interviewing more than 150 executives in 23 governments in Asia, Europe, North America, and South America, found that governments outsource mainly to improve the speed or quality of the service they provide to citizens and others. Among the activities and services most often outsourced are staff training and education programs, finance and accounting functions, human resources and supply chain operations, and information technology applications and infrastructure.
According to the study, as governments become more experienced with outsourcing, they seek new ways to derive greater value from these arrangements and are therefore more inclined to outsource processes such as procurement, finance and accounting, and human resources, which were previously considered too critical to out-source. By outsourcing certain critical services and functions, governments can improve the quality of service they provide to citizens, while increasing operational efficiency and lowering costs.
Government executives who said they outsourced to gain access to technology, change operations, or find workers with specific skills were more satisfied with the results than were those who outsourced primarily to reduce costs.
The study also finds that governments that used outsourcing to change the way they operate were more inclined to engage in business process outsourcing than were governments primarily concerned with reducing costs. More than two-thirds of those who said they used outsourcing to transform their agencies indicated that they achieved change by outsourcing business processes.
Based on the data and in-depth interviews with government executives, the study concludes that governments usually outsource to achieve one of two objectives: 1) make changes in government operations to improve citizen satisfaction and address severe budget deficits, or 2) create efficiencies through cost reductions and greater productivity. On that basis, each of the 23 governments studied was placed into one of two groups according to the government’s outsourcing objectives, then charted along a continuum to illustrate the degree and complexity of its experience with outsourcing.
The study finds that the United Kingdom has developed a range of capabilities for managing outsourcing contracts while achieving greater value for the money it spends on outsourcing. In addition, the UK ranks as the most mature in its use of outsourcing to drive change. Canada and the United States also are among the most advanced in using outsourcing to modify the way government operates.