Government to Business #9: US Federal Reform and its impact on Government to Business
Welcome. To government to business the, go-to location for, executives, delivering, digital, services, to business and now. Here's, your host gavin. Atkinson. Get. A folks welcome to government to business my, name is Gavin Atkinson, and today we're going to be looking at the White House's recent, report which. Was basically reforming. The whole of the US federal government he. Came out as a consultation, document recently. It's, called the delivering, government solutions, in the 21st, century the reform plan and, reorganization, recommendations. From, the Office of Management and Budget now. Whilst. This is something that obviously is very much related to the US, within. The federal space I can tell you right now there is so much information in, this particular document that, is equally, relevant if you're a state. Government or a municipal. Government in the United States or. For that matter to. Be perfectly honest and frank if you're anywhere, within the world there's a lot of things that come in this particular report that, are equally of, interest to you because it really sets a clear direction for, where the, United, States is presently looking at moving its government to business service delivery online, and. That's, absolutely, critical for you and what you do as. An actual senior executive, within your jurisdiction because. You. Need to be looking at where exemplars. Are exactly existing, around the world whether. It's in your backyard or what literally it's on the other side of the globe because. We can all learn from each other in this particular space and this. Particular document, really is about positioning the US government to rethink, its service delivery and its overall approach to IT it. Recognizes. That you, know government and. This won't be any surprises to any of you around there faces, a significant, challenge where, it's actually structured, in, American, parlance. Stovepipes. I think. Some other areas, in the world might call it like silos, you know basically an area. Where you've got responsibilities, within a particular department. Or an agency or an organization, or a. Ministry, and as, a result everything, is basically look from an actual, internal, perspective rather than actually the customer view of the world and the, report recognizes, is highly. Inefficient. And a major, cause of frustration. To the customer, because it's, not creating the joined-up integrated, experience, for them now. Putting, aside whatever your own personal, perspectives, are on Donald Trump love him or hate him what, is important here is the moderating, message, actually in the proposed reform plan it's, it's a very clear, conciliatory. Tone, and. I'll give you an example is, that there's a quote from here saying it's it's building, on a history of bipartisan, government, reform initiatives, and then, it goes on to name-drop both. Republican, and Democrat, presidents, from Carter, to Reagan, to Clinton George, W Bush and, Barack Obama and, it's all about the need to make government more efficient, more. Effective more. Accountable, and having, a core focus on reducing duplication.
Generally. Speaking the reform plan also establishes, a a clear, set of customer, centric principles, with, a very strong focus on both citizen, and importantly, government, to business services now. During. This particular episode. Of the podcast I'll have to be recording, from the report a number of times and that's because, I really want to kind of capture the essence of what's in there it's not been laziness on my path but actually trying to make sure that you get the idea of exactly what's being proposed rather than me, putting my own internal, filter on that so. Consider, this particular extract. From the report federal. Customers, ranging from small businesses, seeking loans to families receiving disaster, support the, veterans expecting. Proper benefits and medical care deserve a customer, experience that compares, to or exceeds. That of leading, private sector organizations. Which, most federal services, lag behind the. Executive, branch must develop capabilities. To, better facilitate end to end customer, experiences, that cross agency boundaries. And create, faster, more, convenient and more cost-effective, interactions. Well. That's a really, well-positioned you. Know particularly, ting statement but then it gives other examples, little vignettes, around, small business and. How government can improve their service, delivery experience, so today, in there's there's no real surprises, when the reform plan compares. And contrasts, the contemporary. Multi-channel, customer, experience, that. You and I deal with on a regular the basis with our own personal experience from a private-sector point of view what our businesses, private, sector businesses currently delivering, to. Their customers, in comparing, and contrasting that, with government, which it basically portrays, it being rather outdated. And clunky. And. Some. Of some of you will have probably heard that experience, also as. A province that arson dealing with government yourselves although. Of course wherever is looking at things from a business perspective. There's. An actual quotient, in the document again that's, a pure gem quote. Americans, routinely, shop, online use smartphones, to order rides and get electronic, money transfers, dresser, services, and yet are forced, to deal with multiple agencies, and excessive. Bureaucracy when. They interact, with federal agencies, lengthy. Permitting, for, infrastructure, projects, confusing. And overlapping, job retained training, programs, and Byzantine. Requirements. For applying for small business and farm, loans all are calcified, and entrenched. In outdated. Organizational. Constructs, design, decades, ago, unquote. That's. That's an amazing, statement there and I'm sure hearing. That a few of you are going yes, I can kind of see how this applies to my own jurisdiction. And that that's why this particular report is so relevant to everybody within the the, government of isn't space, so. Look incidentally I mentioned, up front right now if, you want to have a read of the report, it's, it's.
A Hundred plus pages. But. That being said you, can really cherry-pick a fair amount of it you, can download it from the, URL of performance, gov, slash, gov reform, that's govt, if, I am. And that'll. Take you right through to the landing page where you can actually download the PDF document now. The reform plan that at, this point starts jumping, from being setting. The scene for things to actually dealing, with a suite, of government-wide. Reorganisation. Proposals, now some. Of these are, foundational. And they're all about building capability. Or frameworks, for other proposals, and, many of them are understandably. Amateur citizens, we, all know that that's but you know overwhelmingly. The. Largest, aspect, of service delivery from government depending on where you live it might be you know, around, about you. Know two-thirds of citizens, or three-quarters, of citizens and the rest is usually business, which. Is obviously what we love and care about but, there are quite a few of really interesting proposals, that are actually aimed specifically. At government of business service delivery and raising, that bar, now. A number, of these are actually, really really good and if you haven't read the planner I want to show I'm going to share those particular, examples with you and, again it doesn't matter if you're in the US and you. Want to kind of be aware of what's going on or if you're outside of the US it's really, interesting, for you. As. A size point I guess in in the world we live it's it's not surprising for the for for the actual reform plan to, sometimes, sit centralizing. Directions, but strangely, enough at other times very decentralized. Models. And and this is actually I found a really a surprisingly. Refreshing approach. To, see a government not go all in to either a centralization, model. Or a decentralization. But to use that. Old English idiom, it's, a case of horses. For courses and. For those of you who aren't English. Language, speakers, as, your product for primary language basically. It's all around about picking. And choosing what's. Going to be the most appropriate strategy. And tool for. The particular given set of circumstances, and not applying a blanket. Strategic, aspect, over the top whether it's centralization. Or decentralization. Okay. So what. Are the actual specifics, in the White House's reform, plan that relates, to digital government. Business and, service delivery, so.
The First one I want to touch on is the creation of a. Bureau, of economic growth now this brings together bits. And pieces across, the, United States federal government its, first. Of a reform. Package that proposals, creating, this Bureau and looking. At aiming at coordinating. And consolidating. Federal. Economic assistance resources. Now. It aims to create a central, place for. Grants in central and technical assistance to communities, and more importantly, from our perspective, also, for entrepreneurs. Focusing. On job creation and business growth the. Bureau aims to act as an enabler supporting. And empowering, state, governments, local governments, and tribal governments. In the United States to boost their own local, onam is based on the individual. Local development, considerations. That they have so. Again this is one of the great examples of where there's no one-size-fits-all, its, tailoring. Based, on the local conditions, there so. The bureau the bureau's proposed. Programs, will provide training. And business. Development assistance. To help businesses. Regardless, of their position in the business lifecycle now. How to achieve this the bureau, of economic growth is, proposed to have three operational. Arms to achieve that particular mission the first one is a planning, office which. Is endeavours. When, it's created to engage, state local and tribal development agencies, identifying. Each of their community's particular, barriers to economic growth and to, set community SMART goals so, I'm sure all of you are very familiar with SMART goals goals that are specific measurable, actionable, relevant. And time-bound and then, taking. That through, to the planning, process, so that these local agencies, would. Be able to create their own criterion, milestones, to, measure the effectiveness, of subsequently. Awarded grants, so. The idea of being here, is it's kind of creating the preconditions. Upfront for, how things will be assessed, when, you're looking at creating, and awarding, any of those grants, and assistance.
At A local level and, this makes a lot of sense but, it needs to office ly be done with an overlaying, lens applied, to assess you, know where a local agency, is setting relatively. Ineffectual, goals or, for that matter and, way to overly. Ambitious goals, so. One. Thing I think that'll be absolutely critical in this particular space is the assessment process, to, ensure that the planning, phase the, livers the desired, benefits, and that's. Gonna be hard earlier upfront when when people don't really know so our individual, development. Agencies, around the United States don't quite know how to approach this there's a lot of different ways of approaching this and I think it'll take a little while for the bureau to actually work out what sir you, know what's a right, way to do things and approach things and probably take a couple of years maybe three years so we'll see how that one goes the second operational. Arms within the bureau that proposes, an office of grant making so. Once, the the local. Area, the state the the local municipal. Government, of the tribal government has. Completed, their planning, process, the applicants of the local agencies will then make an application through, to the officer grant making for, the actual funding, to implement their plans so that they align with the agreed goals, the. Officer grant making will then craft, some criteria. To assure that the, implementation, activities are sufficiently, comprehensive. Actionable. And consistent, with the applicants, plan so. I think this is good we're just actually starting to have some consistency, going, across the board so you making, sure you allow for that local level participation. And identification. On what the key problems the key goals are but, also at the same time there is some overall, framework, that's, encompassing. All this and how it's kind of work and I think that's that's critical, it's again that mix of the best of both worlds, at. A high level this all makes a lot of sense but I've actually be interested obviously and seeing a little bit more detail, for how this is going to work and and operate.
The. Third arm. Of that particular Bureau is the office of technical assistance and. It, will actually work directly. This. Is this is interesting here with, nonprofit. And educational, organizations. Within those local, areas within those states within the municipal, governments, or so not miscible gums within the cities towns, etc, counties. And tribal. Areas to, to, build the capacity through, a strategic and, operational, training, and a dissemination, of best practices, in an economic development to, local, businesses and practitioners. So. The. Those, nonprofits then, bilaval apply to the office of technical assistance to, fund, technical, assistance activities they. Support the community economic, development plan, so. That particular office of technical assistance will, also provide. Access to assets that. Support, the nonprofit's. Implementation. Now. That's a particular quote from from, the document that's a little bit unclear what they mean by providing, access to assets to support nonprofits. Implementation. So, while. Local solutions, are needed for local problems obviously there's. This scope potentially. For platform, sharing. I think in this particular space, and, what's. Important, here is you really don't want to have a situation, of the wheel constantly, being reamed, entered where, the, the. Bureau of economic growth, is basically, providing. Funding, to hundreds. Literally hundreds, of different, local areas, across the United States and, let's. Say a quarter, of them are all doing the same type of thing sure. You need to kind of kind of contextualize things, for local conditions, but there's going to be some underlying aspects. It's always going to be the same, so. I think having some you know a quote Colonel there, with some flexible, and scalable non, technology. Dependent modules, could, really assist. Because they could be called upon and then be repurposed, at the local level for those local conditions, within those particular areas, maybe. That's what's meant by that particular obscure. Quote of providing access to assets the support and nonprofits implementation, that's not really clear I guess. The other thing that I should probably touch on and I didn't know should, have done this straightforward up front is the fact that this, particular, interaction. Between the, Bureau is. Not being done necessarily, with the actual local, development, agencies. It's not being done with the state governments, it's, not being done with the local governments and not been done with the tribal governments it's actually being done directly, with those, local. Nonprofits. And educational, organizations, in those areas it's, all around about creating, that initial. Stakeholder. Relationship, management I guess it there at the at, the government level determining. The criteria, working, at how this is going to work and operate and then, it's handed over effectively. To these nonprofits and educational, organizations to deliver that's, an interesting model again, the United States has generally. Gone. Down this particular path, of. Government. Assistance and support through, to nonprofits, to be able to and, educational, institutions, to be able to help. Grow. The development, capability, of businesses, and entrepreneurs yeah, it's, it's something that again I think that that's part of that culture within the United States in this particular space and. It's something that if you're within your jurisdiction you, don't look at it's at least worth looking, at and examining, about whether that model is something that's was, considering, or, whether you kind of keep all the the goods in-house so to speak. Anyway. So let's let's move a little bit more and, just kind of wrap things up when it comes to the bureau of economic, growth so, the reform plan clearly, avoids, any, unnecessary duplication.
Of Staffing, and resources, but, actually not having the bureau of economic growth replacing. They're not profit than nonprofits, and that's what I mentioned before it's not doubling, up in that sense it's. Just kind of giving them the keys, to the kingdom so to speak to organize, it at the local level and. That's it the following sentence and the plan muddies things a little bit in my in my view so that which is quote, recognizing. The unique challenges, faced by small businesses this proposal does not include the Small Business Administration's. Office of entrepreneurial, development, which. Provides planning, and educational, services exclusively, to, small businesses, unquote. The. Question that's not yet clear in my mind and maybe this is something that someone had sighed the u.s. like myself wouldn't intuitively. Be able to identify is, the crossover. Between, supporting, small businesses, between, the nonprofits, and educational, institutions and small, business administration, which. Is the SBA that's the main federal. Government organization. Looking after support for small business in the u.s. it. Seems, that both, actually, potentially, will be catering to the same audience with a potentially. Similar set of services and products again. I'm a bit concerned that there's this very strong. Philosophy. Going, through the reform plan about avoiding duplication, but it's not really clear about how in this, set of circumstances, that duplication, will be avoided, maybe. Is at the next stage of the plan is this development, foot a little. Bit further that might become clearer, the, second, element that I want to touch on another one of the programs, in the document, is the consolidation, and streamlining. Of financial, literacy efforts, now. This part of the plan identifies that more than 20 federal government agencies, currently provide some form of financial education or. Literacy program, and while. Understandably, most of those are citizen-centric, the plane actually recognizes, it also applies, to small businesses who often, don't have the initial, financial skills, now whether its compliance, with tax employment. Or other regulatory, aspects, or, the, core basics, of profit and loss statements, balance, sheets pricing. Strategies, although, stop of glue great things the, plain flakes at 170. Million, US dollars a year actually goes into technical, assistance in education, for entrepreneurs, from. The, Small Business Administration, the SBA now. It bill so makes it clear that not all of that 170 million dollars goes into financial literacy but obviously identifies, it as being a component of that so. The plan proposes, at high levels consolidate, programs, into fewer agencies, which i think is really good but doesn't, necessarily discuss. The strategy, for where this would exist and how it would be implemented, for business owners so again. This is one of those things where at a high level you, know you kind of expect, it to set that overarching, strategy, and, view of where the US federal government wants to go but. Yet that next level down the next level of detail is not entirely clear how this particular aspect, will work and operate and not again, I do hope that to see as it's unpacked, a little bit further when it comes to its implementation, that'll. Become clearer the, third particular, program, that is very much related to, government. Business service delivery, is relating. Actually to the Small Business Administration the SBA and it's all around streamlining. Small business programs, now. There's, a very, very strong focus here, consolidating. Two key areas, centralizing. Basically, the the, government, contracts, through to businesses, and its purchasing, and also. Access. For businesses, to, financial. Capital, to be able to get started and to grow and so forth now I've, mentioned the word consolidate. A couple, of times now in this particular podcast and. That's. Because this is a theme that runs all the way through the reform plan I actually did a a quick search across it there's, a hundred and sixty, instances, of the word consolidate. Or consolidating. Or consolidation, and the. Word duplication, isn't too, far behind at sixty-four instances. So. There's really no surprise that this part of the plan looks at improving, the service delivery of these two programs, by by centralizing. The activities. Now. So this is one of those times where centralization. Kind of kicks in and whether, it's contracts, or capital access this particular proposal. Recognizes. That's not just a technical solution the reform playing flags that the, existing. Environment across the federal governor in the US has inconsistent. Standards, inconsistent. Processes for eligibility there's a lack of reciprocity, between.
Agencies. And programs so whilst you might be eligible for one set of programs, that's very similar in another agency it's not you're, not eligible as, a business so, and, also recognizes, this you know dude all this complexity, there's just great inefficiencies, and. A total, miss of opportunity. For achieving, economies, of scale all, of this needs to be considered I suppose in that consolidation, process of creating, again. Quote-unquote, one-stop, shops which is another. Key message that comes through the particular document. Now. What's interesting I suppose in the in that contract, space is where consolidation. Is proposed it, doesn't, actually say it's a total. Centralization. It's actually not, a one-size-fits-all, approach, so. Where there are targeted. Industry, specific, expertise, that's required, within that contracting, and purchasing, space, the. Small Business Administration would. Defer actually through to the other government local organization. And move its services, from them to. That other government, organization, federal government organization, now, the plan doesn't say what areas this would include but I'm assuming it's going to be more in that highly. Specialized, or sensitive, areas such as military. Aerospace, and, other applications, rather than the staples, of government purchasing, as I mentioned a few moments ago the overarching, plans, consolidation. Of programs is a really great step forward but doesn't. Discuss, the strategy, of where this would exists actually for business owners, and. This is the main challenge, I feel for the reform, plan yes it, does consolidate, it eliminate duplication, in many areas but it but. There doesn't seem to be an underlying strategy, of bringing together from a customer-centric point of view of. All government, to business services into, a single one-stop shop or platform, instead. It's a number of a number of one-stop, shops which. Wall a step forward unless the customer experiences, integrated, together leads the job only half-done. Now. Consider, the areas that we've talked about so far grants. Technical, assistance financial, literacy contracts. And purchasing, access to capital they all seem to be brought together but, without a natural, integrated, customer, strategy. That. Still look it's a big step forward and sometimes that's. All you need to get the ball rolling rather. Than a big all-encompassing bang. So. Incidentally. I do hope, that this proposal, or a similar, one dealing. With the Small Business Administration would. Also address the the, relatively, poor customer. Journey and experience for businesses affected by natural disasters which, are wrote about in the blog about. Hurricanes, Harvey, in her last, year and looking. Basically at better joining, up an integrating, disaster, support across the u.s. federal government but, I guess that's for another day, so. While the reform areas I've discussed s-- up, to now or a specific, to business, customers of government the, remaining, three are all about capability. Development and a great step forward for how government agencies can improve, their digital service delivery for the business, but. I'll be addressing those next week because, what. I've talked about today is a lot to guard or get your head around so. I look forward to catching up with you next week and don't. Forget to subscribe to the podcast and, if. You've got any questions, or queries always, feel free to give me an email, Gavin. At government, to business comm. Look, forward to speaking you very soon. Thanks. For listening to government, to business for. Show notes and how Gavin can help your department, or agency, visit. Government. To business comm.