3 Foundations of Government: Accurate, Accountable and Accessible

Digitizing documents is one way government can cut costs and increase efficiencies

During one of my first weeks at GovLoop, I remember conducting an interview with a recently retired government employee. She had incredible experiences and not only provided me a great interview on customer service, but gave some exceptional career advice as well.

“Get out of the DC bubble, don’t get stuck in your day-to-day and forget there’s a much bigger world out there,” she advised. As I start on my third year in DC, that advice has stayed with me. It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day, but thankfully, in my role I’ve been able expand beyond D.C. to talk to hundreds of people across state, local and federal government.

It’s always fun, and I hear unique views of the challenges facing communities from across the country. I also get to hear stories of remarkable perseverance, best practices and innovative solutions. From my conversations, government employees are grounded in making government more:

  • Accountable: Government must be accountable to constituents, providing the right solutions and meeting a community’s needs.
  • Accurate: Information that is published and data that is collected,must be accurate and authoritative.
  • Accessible: Data and information should be easily accessible for citizens, and through various mediums to make sure everyone can gain access to desired information.

In my conversations, these are the foundational blocks that government employees must operate on. Thankfully, there are technology solutions available to help governments meet those means. Whether it’s through open data programs, self-service portals, email, SMS, or various social media channels, governments must be sure they’re staying accountable, accurate and accessible to citizens.

Three common tactics that government agencies should explore to remain accountable, accurate and accessible include:

Reducing your paper consumption: Reducing paper leads to many benefits for a government agency. At the heart of paper reduction strategies are increased efficiencies at lower costs. But this basic benefit only scrapes the surface of what it means to go paperless.

In a previous post, I mentioned how dignity and fairness are two elements of leadership that cannot be broken. By reducing paper, the processes that become more efficient take manual, time-intensive tasks away from your employees, who become free to go off and do more mission critical tasks, and spend more time with constituents to solve their problem. That’s why so many people entered into public service, so by reducing paper and time spent on document management, you can re-energize staff.

Training non-IT staff on technology: Non-IT staff should be well versed in the basic of IT. They should know about cloud computing benefits, about the power of enterprise content management (ECM) solutions, and how mobility can make their jobs easier. Also, they need to now the risks they might expose the agency to by adopting emerging technology. By educating non-IT on technology applications, you can help them think differently about technology, and how it can improve their jobs, and spur them to think creatively on how to improve processes.

Growing your talent and reforming hiring processes: There are way too many barriers to getting a job in government. The process is too slow, too complex and too difficult to recruit top talent. Time and again we hear that there needs to be serious reform on government hiring practices, both to encourage the next wave of public servants to enter into government and for the public sector to compete for top talent.

But for talented individuals already in government, agencies need to do everything they can to hold on to them. There’s a great list on Forbes about why top talent leave their current positions, and much of it boils down to the need to keep them from getting bored, and making sure you’re investing in their talent. In government, that means getting creative and not always putting the burden on the employee to find the right projects – help them and guide them.

Being accurate, accountable and accessible are foundational to the role of government. Thankfully, today technology is helping government like never before. It’s helping agencies deliver services quicker, become more resilient and use technology adoption as a linchpin for innovation. With smarter decisions and education around available solutions, agencies can start to set a foundation for innovation within their agencies and can work towards keeping agencies accountable, accurate and accessible.

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OnBase is a proven enterprise content management solution for each level of government, helping each meet today’s challenges of smaller budgets and staffs while laying the foundation for simplified, efficient and mobile government information technology. To learn more, visit Hyland’s resources page on GovLoop.

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