A bill carving out an exception to the Paperwork Reduction Act would aid federal agency efforts to improve their customer service, according to a Senate report on a bill (S-671) now pending a floor vote there.
“The bill aims to facilitate the gathering of useful and timely customer satisfaction information to encourage continuous improvement of agency customer service,” it says.
However, the Paperwork Reduction Act requires OMB approval of agency proposals to collect data and mandates that the government minimize the administrative burden it imposes. It also notes that in an annual assessment of customer satisfaction, “public administration and government are at the bottom of all American economic sectors”—and that the 2020 score for the government in that index was the lowest since 1999.
The bill “seeks to encourage agencies to collect voluntary feedback about the quality and perceptions of their services and interactions with the public by exempting a proscribed survey instrument from the review requirements under the PRA,” it says.
It would create an exception for seeking voluntary feedback from the public at the point of service—often now meaning online—with a requirement that respondents must remain anonymous and that individuals who decline to respond not be treated differently by agencies for the purposes of providing services or information.