A Customer-Centric Upgrade For California Government

Report229_Interactions

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For this study, the Commission reviewed the nature and quality of interactions between California state government and the public.

State government employees interact with the public in a vast number of ways by providing information, evaluating benefit eligibility, implementing regulations, managing public safety and fulfilling many other important roles. Some services are provided indirectly, such as monitoring environmental pollution or maintaining roads and highways. However, Californians receive many other services directly from state government. Californians interact with state government to obtain drivers licenses and register their vehicles or get the certifications necessary for their businesses or careers. Thousands spend their leisure time in one of California’s magnificent state parks, or visit one of the state’s libraries to conduct research. In hard times, they go to the state for help finding a job after being laid off or to apply for unemployment and disability benefits.

Though the circumstances and expectations for services vary, all Californians deserve a state government that is responsive to their needs. Further, Californians and California businesses reasonably expect the services they receive from government are well-designed, efficient and generally comparable to those they receive from the private sector.

Despite some important strides, state government too often fails to meet the expectations of Californians, creating unnecessary hassle and cost for consumers of government services and government itself. It is not surprising when surveys find that few Californians trust state government or have confidence that government spends their tax revenue wisely. To build and sustain the public’s confidence in state government it is critical for state agencies to gauge how their services meet their customers’ needs. Agencies also should sustain and focus efforts on continuing to improve the way services are delivered.

As part of its study, the Commission explored efforts to improve the delivery of public services across the United States. The Commission reviewed examples throughout government, from services in the federal government to those in cities and counties and other states. The aim was to identify strategies California might employ to improve its interactions with the public, and ultimately to improve Californians’ confidence in government. The Commission also selected several state agencies that provide services that impact the daily lives of a great number of Californians to better understand the nature and the quality of the interactions between those agencies and the people they serve.

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