Annual Report to Congress FY 2004
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Pursuant to the President's Management Agenda and building on the Department's Culture of Accountability Report and Strategic Plan , in 2003, OCR formed a team to examine its primary line of business—the case resolution process. OCR's Team developed a set of recommendations to reengineer the case resolution process in order to promote consistency and high quality, enhance efficiency, and improve customer service. In July 2003, the Department's Executive Management Team accepted OCR's recommendations. Throughout FY 2004, OCR developed and undertook a comprehensive series of strategies designed to implement the recommendations. Significant strategies are discussed below.
Case Management System
The Case Management System (CMS) is an automated tool that OCR uses to track OCR's complaint and compliance review investigations and proactive activities such as significant technical assistance. CMS is a primary data source for measuring progress in achieving agency objectives. Moreover, the document management part of the CMS reduces reliance on paper complaint files for documenting OCR's case resolution activities and provides users the ability to perform a variety of functions involving particular cases, such as indexing of party and witness interviews and evidentiary documents.
OCR adopted improved customer satisfaction in the case resolution process as one of its performance indicators under the Government Performance and Results Act . The office developed a new set of customer service standards, addressing such areas as courtesy, promptness, fairness, and consideration of customers' time and needs. These standards are prominently displayed in all OCR offices and on OCR's Web site. OCR is emphasizing the importance of customer service in relevant OCR publications as they are reprinted and in communications about the case resolution process with our customers through training for OCR staff. To evaluate the success of our efforts, OCR began an ongoing survey of customer satisfaction in 2004. The survey responses will help OCR assess the effectiveness of our standards and their implementation and enable us to ensure that we provide high quality service.
2004 also brought the rollout of the internal automated casework tools system. Casework tools are documents that have been identified as meeting specific agency standards for high quality and that can be adapted for use by our staff to save time on specific case related activities. Population of the casework tools database is reviewed on an ongoing basis. Identification of casework tools that meet high quality standards and that help all of OCR staff be more efficient is an important step in the process of improving the way we conduct civil rights investigations.
OCR Policy Repository
In FY 2004, OCR also established an internal automated Policy Repository. The Policy Repository is yet another resource to ensure consistency and high quality, improve efficiency, and enhance customer service. When fully implemented, the repository will consist of a searchable current policy document collection with ensured content integrity that substantially reduces duplication.
Case Processing Standards
OCR also developed new case planning and monitoring standards in FY 2004. These standards are simple but important principles that apply to all OCR cases. They are intended to enhance quality, efficiency and customer service in OCR's overall case resolution process.