Senator wants to make complaining about the government easier

The FirstGov Web portal should include a complaint box where citizens can lodge complaints with any federal agency, said Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., in a Nov. 21 letter to the General Services Administration. A single, centralized complaint box would make the submission of an electronic complaint much easier by shifting the burden of routing complaints to the right agency from citizens to the government, Wyden said. "At present, a citizen with a significant complaint about a product, a service or a government function may not know which agency or office to contact, and might therefore fail to lodge the complaint," he said. FirstGov, a Web portal that provides access to all online federal government resources, has featured "feedback" links on its home page since its debut in late September. While users can access the customer service sites of many agencies through these links, they still must locate and fill out the individualized complaint forms of each agency. As of July, online complaint forms were available at only seven of 32 agencies designated as "high impact" by the National Partnership for Reinventing Government, according to a recent General Accounting Office report. Wyden proposes to streamline electronic complaints by providing one set of complaint forms at FirstGov. On the basis of information submitted by the user, the Web site would then route the complaint to the appropriate agency. Users would get an email telling them when their complaint had been processed. While all online complaints would be submitted to FirstGov, individual agencies would still need to accept online complaints under Wyden's proposal. However, FirstGov need not put off a new complaint box until all agencies are capable of processing such complaints, Wyden said. "For some types of complaints, this 'online complaint box' initially might be limited to identifying the appropriate agency or office and providing a telephone number for the citizen to call," Wyden said. Wyden's complaint box is similar to one provided by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which earned high marks in the GAO study. "The study shows that when an agency does provide a good online complaint mechanism, people use it," Wyden said in his letter to GSA. The GAO study was requested by Wyden and Sen. Ernest Hollings, D-S.C. The FirstGov team at GSA is preparing a response to Wyden's letter, according to GSA spokeswoman Eleni Martin.
Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.