OMB to release figures on e-gov acceptance, usage

The Office of Management and Budget will release statistics Monday revealing e-government initiatives' satisfaction levels, participation rates and usage, in an effort to showcase the projects' success, an administration official said Friday.

The performance statistics will cover 18 of the 25 initiatives, said Karen Evans, administrator of OMB's Office of Electronic Government and Information Technology, during the year-end meeting of the Treasury Department's Federal Consulting Group.

For example, the percentage of agencies using the Office of Personnel Management's eTraining program will be listed along with the percentage of federal travelers that use the General Services Administration's eTravel initiative. Some of the projects, such as GSA's Federal Asset Sales or the ePayroll program, do not lend themselves to the measurement criteria or are not far enough along in development, Evans said.

"The objective is to improve customer service," Evans said. "OMB is always trying to get it at the same or lower cost because we can't really afford to have our budgets grow. And a lot of times in a lot of things that we're doing … people look toward investments in information technology to gain those efficiencies."

The customer service statistics will be based on the quarterly American Customer Satisfaction Index, which uses survey methodology developed by the University of Michigan and is compiled in cooperation with the Federal Consulting Group. Metrics for participation and usage will be based on goals set out in the business cases for the initiatives.

Evans said the statistics are being made public for the first time to increase transparency. She could not say how often the figures will be released. ACSI scores will continue to come out quarterly but the other statistics may not come out as often, she noted.

"We've been saying we've been focused on adoption, but this is really where we're trying to put as much information out there so that people can see that we're actually successful," Evans said.

The latest ACSI survey of citizen satisfaction with government services, released Friday, shows that after a slight decline in 2005, satisfaction is at an eight-year high.

The aggregate score this year, derived from the results for dozens of agencies, is 72.3 out of a possible 100 points, a 1.4 percent increase over last year. The private sector's 2.1 point lead over the government remained the same, though.

A separate ACSI survey of citizen satisfaction with agency Web sites shows that the satisfaction level remains the same as last year, with a score of 73.9 out of 100.

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