Virginia report calls for improved shared services, telework capabilities

According to an interim report, produced by Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring, the Commonwealth is looking to promote expanded use of telework in government, while enhancing business-centric and citizen-centric customer services. Making up the lion’s share of the reports 107 suggestions, the shared services committee recommended ways to make collections more efficient; consolidate payroll systems; and encourage wider use of service level agreements that extend down from agency heads to smaller and satellite groups under the Secretariat’s purview.

After nearly ten months of meetings and deliberations the Commission on Government Reform & Restructuring released its interim report last week with over 100 proposals that would streamline operations, improve services and address both sides of the Commonwealth’s balance sheet. The Commission is made of four committees: Government Simplification & Operations; Consolidation of Shared Services & Enterprise Architecture; Intergovernmental Relations; and the Committee on Customer Service, Performance, Accountability & Transparency. The committees are composed of legislators, executive staff and twenty citizen members from Virginia’s private
sector, academia, local government, and prior state government service.

Of the 107 recommendations, over 40 have the full support of the Commission, including a wide array of operations simplification and shared services proposals.

According to the report, 48 percent of state jobs are eligible for alternative work schedules and telecommuting – this is up from 11.1 percent in 2006. The Virginia Department of Human Resources Management suggests that teleworking just one day per week over the course of a year would yield an additional 46 hours per year in productivity and save employees roughly $1,000 in commuting costs.

Another suggestion focused on Virginia’s Business One-Stop website. “While the goal is to have a “onestop shop” for entrepreneurs who start a new business in Virginia, there are a number of tools currently unavailable on the website,” the report noted. The Simplification of Operations committee recommended the One-Stop website become the “First-and-Only-Stop” resource for business information and assistance by centralizing business formation forms, consolidating state and local forms and look for ways to reduce application fees.

A similar proposal was made to improve citizen-centric services by creating centralized physical locations for services like professional licensing, taxes and child support, license boats or trailers, and local information, while enhancing e-government and web-based access to similar services. In a related recommendation, the governor is encouraged to instruct his Secretary of Technology to form a cross functional team of public and private sector stakeholders and subject matter experts to begin identifying the scope, duration, and cost of an aggressive e-gov initiative – to make web-based transactions the primary means of government-to-citizen interaction.

Under the terms of another proposal, shared services of administrative functions across agencies and smaller boards and commissions should be consolidated into an enterprise system. “All agencies not currently in the payroll services bureau shall enter into the bureau,” the report said. The Shared Services committee also suggested that funding models and governance frameworks be developed so service level agreements can be provided “within secretarial areas where systems and operational missions are compatible.”

For more information and a copy of the interim report in full, click here.