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E-Government Act Report - FY 2006

Part 1: Overview of DOL's Implementation of the E-Government Act of 2002: Disability info.gov

The Department of Labor (DOL) has chosen to highlight Disabilityinfo.gov, managed by its Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP), for the FY 2006 E-Government Act of 2002 Report. Disabilityinfo.gov is a citizen-centric comprehensive Web resource designed to provide Americans with disabilities and those that support, serve, and employ them with information on and access to Federally-sponsored employment, housing, transportation, income support, health care, technology, and other programs relevant to their day-to-day lives.

How We Are Transforming Our Operations

DisabilityInfo.gov is a unique tool that serves the disability community by aggregating all Federal direct and indirect disability program and service information into a single format delivered through a Web portal. It is recognized that citizens do not differentiate among levels of government when seeking government sources. Thus by providing a citizen-focused view of a "government without boundaries," DisabilityInfo.gov allows citizens to focus on their needs rather than on the source. Furthermore, DisabilityInfo.gov allows the Administration and DOL to ensure a common approach to e-Government support for people with disabilities nationwide; establish a baseline of e-Government activities to support people with disabilities; identify future e-Government activities that support the ability of people with disabilities to join the work force; and improve citizens' ability to assess program effectiveness for enhanced policymaking. DisabilityInfo.gov also benefits Federal programs and agencies, and State and local organizations by making it easier for them to outreach to people with disabilities, and will assist them in supporting the goals of President Bush's New Freedom Initiative.

How We Are Maintaining Ongoing Dialogues with Interested Parties to Ensure Innovation

DOL through ODEP has a strong commitment to maintaining a collaborative relationship with stakeholders and partners to ensure the success of DisabilityInfo.gov. Continued dialogue is consistently maintained between ODEP and its current stakeholders at the Federal, State and local levels through outreach efforts. The DisabilityInfo.gov Governance Board convenes to evaluate and discuss innovative ways to use IT to improve the delivery of government disability information and services to the public, and ODEP continues to engage Federal, State and local governments through a Strategic Outreach and Partnership Development Campaign. This effort has increased the number of stakeholders as well as access to subject matter experts to support the mission of DisabilityInfo.gov. Finally, ODEP conducts surveys and focus groups to measure the effectiveness of its government and public outreach campaigns and to gauge overall customer satisfaction with DisabilityInfo.gov. ODEP then actively shares this information with the DisabilityInfo.gov stakeholders to see where improvements can be made.

Our External Partners

DisabilityInfo.gov is maintained by ODEP, the managing partner, with additional support, subject matter expertise, and content provided by 20 other Federal agencies. ODEP is also collaborating with State and local agencies to expand the information and services available to the public and to ensure localized service delivery. The goal is to provide a comprehensive, one-stop Web resource which meets the varied needs of the disability community. This collaborative business concept leverages the infrastructure benefits and programmatic expertise from several government agencies, including the Department of Labor, Department of Education, Department of Transportation, Department of Defense, Social Security Administration, Veteran's Administration, and Equal Employment Opportunity Commission

Our Performance and Outcome Measures

Qualitative benefits include improved mission performance, improved decision-making, or more reliable or usable information. Specific qualitative benefits are:

  • Increased Citizen Satisfaction: 1) More timely response in obtaining information about disability programs, resources, and policies; 2) Improved, personalized delivery and service; 3) Enhanced public confidence in government based the facilitation of interactions between the public and governmental agencies (viewed as “one-Government”); 4) One-stop Web resource for programs and services, thus allowing the public to easily obtain disability and employment information from multiple agencies in a single visit to DisabilityInfo.gov, and highlighting areas in which these same citizens previously had to canvass multiple Web sites in search similar or identical information; and 5) Contribution toward making citizens with disabilities more self-sufficient and independent.
  • Government-Wide Streamlining of Benefit Programs (i.e., identifying duplicative efforts or processes in government disability programs and services): 1) Necessary coordination among benefit programs. This assists in pin-pointing duplicative or redundant services, allowing redeployment of personnel and resources to mission-critical activities; 2) Consistent and real-time view of contact information for benefits.

The Cost Savings Achieved with this Initiative

The move to a citizen-centric, one stop portal for disability related information is realizing leveraged cost savings by avoiding the additional costs associated with other alternative information dissemination mechanisms. In FY 2006, the initiative demonstrated savings of over $22 million compared to methods of disability information dissemination prior to the site’s inception. These figures reflect the consolidation of each partner agencies’ activities for s ite branding and outreach into one branded portal that transparently redirects citizens to the agency sites of interest. The estimated cost to support those activities in each agency for FY 2006 is $1.14 million multiplied times the number of partner agencies (currently 21). With this initiative, those activities are paid for only once and the benefits are multiplied across all partners. In addition, the cost savings are projected to remain consistent at $20 million annually through FY 2012.

How We Are Ensuring Accessibility

ODEP ensures that all information posted on DisabilityInfo.gov is formatted to allow people with disabilities to read and access data with the aid of assistive technology, thereby removing barriers and making programs and services more accessible to the disability community. Moreover, current contracts include language requiring compliance with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. Additionally, ODEP maintains an uptime goal of 99.9% for the DisabilityInfo.gov Web portal, thereby facilitating constant availability of this valuable resource.

Part 2: Compliance with Section 207(f)(2)of the E-Government Act of 2002

The Office of Public Affairs (OPA), Division of Enterprise Communications leads the DOL effort to comply with Section 207 (f)(2) of the E-Government Act of 2002, which requires Agencies to establish a process for the publication of Government information to the public. OPA leads this process for DOL by collecting information and publishing a Web Publication Schedule. To collect this information, OPA contacts all DOL Agencies, Offices and Bureaus annually to request a list of publications such as statistical databases, fact sheets, brochures, news releases and other document types that Agencies planned to publish, along with an estimated date of publication. In addition, OPA consults with the DOL National Contact Center to determine which topics the public most frequently requests to assist agencies in identifying potential content deficiencies.

For FY 2006, twenty-four items were identified and scheduled for publication. These items are in the DOL Web Publication Schedule table below and are also published on the DOL website at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/aboutdol/content.htm. The Web Publication Schedule identifies the agency, the type of publication, the planned action, and the estimated date of publication for each item. Public comments on the final determinations, priorities, and schedule are solicited on the same page as the published schedule, where users are invited to send their questions, comments or other feedback about the information to our primary public e-mail address, webmaster@dol.gov.

File Searching on the DOL.gov Website

The DOL.gov website utilizes the Fast DataSearch Search Engine so that users can find information quickly and easily. Information such as HTML pages, PDF documents, Word documents, video and audio files are some examples of what is gathered and categorized by this search engine. The newly installed search engine provides extremely accurate search results by means of its internal relevancy, ranking and tuning algorithms. Other measures involve relevancy testing and optimization to ensure that top keyword searches match up-to-date content spread across the DOL enterprise. Internal testing of our search engine response times indicate that searches are completed in approximately 0.405 seconds.

Part 3: FOIA and DOL Information Dissemination Activities

Describe how your agency's information dissemination activities are coordinated with its FOIA operations in order to improve both access to and dissemination of government information to the public.

One of the Department of Labor's primary means of information dissemination is its public website. Within the DOL.gov domain, DOL Agencies have extensive websites in which they post materials of interest to their constituencies and the public. One example of how a DOL Agency used the Web to quickly and effectively disseminate information to the public occurred in connection with the Sago mine accident. MSHA, recognizing that there was a great deal of public interest in the accident, quickly created a reading room for Sago related material and has regularly updated it: http://www.msha.gov/sagomine/sagomine.asp.

DOL.gov provides information on FOIA to assist potential FOIA requesters. See http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/. The website includes a "Guide for Requesting FOIA Records," a list of the Department's FOIA disclosure officers, links to the FOIA Requester Service Centers established pursuant to the Executive Order, links to the FOIA Web sites of individual agencies, and links to the Department of Labor's annual FOIA reports dating back to 1996.

In accordance with Executive Order 13392, the Department has issued a report on its FOIA activities and an improvement plan, which can be found at: http://www.dol.gov/dol/foia/eo13392/index.htm. Section II of the Plan discusses increasing the Department's FOIA web presence and proactive disclosure. The plan recognizes that the Department's Web site can be used both to provide information on how to file a FOIA request, and to provide access to information that members of the public may want, thus avoiding the need for individual FOIA requests. In addition to complying with the law, it is anticipated that once the goals of the plan are achieved, requesters will obtain information more quickly and be spared the effort of using FOIA to obtain the documents directly, which also has the benefit of allowing the Agency to avoid the effort, expense, and delays of processing unnecessary FOIA requests. The plan sets out goals and timetables for:

  1. Improving DOL website Information on FOIA;
  2. Improving Agencies' Procedures for Identifying and Posting Required Affirmative Disclosures; and
  3. Identifying Opportunities for Proactive Disclosure.

In addition the Department completed and published its updated IT Strategic Plan for FY 2005-2009. See: http://www.dol.gov/cio/programs/ITStrategicPlan2006/IT-Strategic-Plan.htm. The plan confirms the critical role of Information Technology as an enabler of success in achieving the four strategic mission goals of the Department, and lays out the five IT strategic goals which provide a practical guide and a scope within which the Department will focus its IT planning, development and management.

Section 207 (d) Categorizing of Information

Section 207 (d) of the Act requires the adoption of standards to enable the organization and categorization of Government information so that it is searchable electronically and interoperable across agencies. The Department of Labor’s Enterprise Architecture Program Office is using the Data Reference Model (DRM) to demonstrate the connection and alignment between horizontal layers of the Departmental Enterprise Architecture (performance, processes, data, services, and technology). By applying the Federal Enterprise Architecture DRM taxonomy, DOL uses standards to enable the organization and categorization of Government information, interoperability and reuse across agencies, and electronic access to information. For example, data standardization is enabling DOL to develop reusable Web Services and modular development components through the Electronic Communications Initiative (ECI). The Department is also in the process of implementing the Departmental Enterprise Architecture Management System (DEAMS), which will act as a centralized data repository that will facilitate department-wide solutions by centralizing DRM-based data collection and storage. To enhance the use of the DRM to enable seamless exchanges of data within DOL and with external stakeholders, the Department launched the DOL Data Working Group in September 2006. This Working Group will actively work to validate and update the Department’s Data Inventory and to define and adopt comprehensive Department-Wide Data Standards.

Section 207 (e) Public Access to Electronic Information

Section 207 (e) of the Act requires the identification and scheduling of all electronic records in existing and new electronic information systems. The Department of Labor is in the process of updating all records disposition schedules to include the scheduling of program related or program specific electronic records including database and small database applications that are not covered by the General Records Schedule. To ensure that all records are scheduled, the Departmental Records Officer meets on a monthly basis with Agency Records Officers, disseminates records information and policy changes, and reviews all records submissions to ensure that Agency Records Officers are fulfilling their responsibility to schedule all unscheduled records. The Departmental Records Officer is also monitoring the creation of single item schedules and will implement a plan to compile single item agency schedules into one consolidated schedule every five years. A migration plan will be developed and implemented to migrate to new technology all electronic permanent records housed on tapes and discs, and stored on site or off site at a Federal Records Center pending transfer to the National Archives. This ensures that the information and data contained on the electronic medium remains available to the public, and that the medium upon which they are stored remains updated and readable.

The Department of Labor is in the conceptual phase of outlining business requirements for an enterprise-wide Document Management and Records Management (DM/RM) system. The DM/RM system will address NARA and OMB A-130 requirements by serving as the Departmental electronic record keeping system, thus enabling an electronic records management program at DOL. Information systems currently in use at the Department that generates electronic records as output will be able to connect to the DM/RM record keeping system. Record keeping requirements for all existing electronic information systems are updated annually in the Departmental Target Enterprise Architecture.

DOL also utilizes a robust governance process which vets and approves any Requests for Information Technology Systems (RITS) through a series of governing bodies including the Enterprise Architecture Subcommittee, the Capital Planning subcommittee and the Technical Review Board. These governing bodies utilize a rigorous evaluation to ensure that no redundancy across the Department will be created by the RITS. The governing bodies also examine whether existing service components currently in use at DOL could be used to fulfill the RITS. It is during this approval process that information systems are scheduled with NARA, if they are not already covered by an existing NARA General Records Schedule.

Section 207 (g) Access to Federally Funded Research and Development

Section 207 (g) of the Act requires that any Agency that funds Federal research and development to provide that information to the public. Every year, DOL provides information on its research and development grants to RaDiUS https://radius.rand.org/radius/index.html, the federal database for R&D, for publication on their website. In FY 2006, two Agencies at the Department of Labor, Employment Training Administration (ETA) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) funded approximately $158 Million dollars in Research & Development grants which were published on RaDiUS. The information provided to RaDiUS includes the Federal organization name, estimated start and end dates, the Agency contact name and phone number, the average funding amount, the award/task abstract, place of performance, performer, performer type and type of funding mechanism. In previous years, other DOL Agencies have published R&D information on RaDiUS including the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the Pension Benefit Guarantee Corporation.