“From clerks to cabinet secretaries to the Governor, we all have a role in making government work better for the citizens of Pennsylvania.”
Governor Tom Wolf
The Governor’s Office of Transformation, Innovation, Management and Efficiency (GO-TIME) is working to modernize government operations in order to reduce costs and improve services.
GO-TIME works with agencies, boards and commissions to identify opportunities to share resources, collaborate and engage employees in transformation. GO-TIME also seeks partnerships with external entities to bring new ideas and best practices into state government.
GO-TIME has identified over 200 projects with cost savings and other benefits. During the 15-16 fiscal year, state agencies saved over $156 million. These savings are being reinvested into programs and used to absorb rising costs in other areas of the budget so we can continue to deliver high quality services to our citizens.
With his first savings goal of $150 million exceeded, the Governor is now challenging GO-TIME to build upon this success by achieving $500 million in savings by 2020.
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Here are a few examples of projects being pursued through GO-TIME:
- The Department of General Services (DGS) is taking a more strategic approach to how the commonwealth procures goods and services. These efforts saved over $68 million in 15-16 compared to previously negotiated contracts.
- DGS is also using reverse auctions to get the best possible prices for critical supplies such as winter road salt for state agencies and local governments.
- The Department of Human Services cut the error rate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) program in half while taking steps to ensure that families and seniors don’t incorrectly lose benefits. The changes resulted in a cost avoidance savings of more than $44 million dollars in 15-16.
- The Department of Transportation has equipped its nearly 400 construction inspectors with tablets and mobile applications that enable them to submit reports and access records without leaving the job site, increasing their productivity by thousands of hours per year.
- In less than one year, over a quarter million Pennsylvanians have used the state’s new online voter registration application at www.votespa.com. The system provides citizens with a faster, more convenient service and making it easier to participate in the electoral process.
Decreasing Wait Times for Customers
The Department of Transportation (PennDOT) has implemented a monitoring system to check wait times at 27 Driver License Centers and take immediate steps to make improvements for customers. The system prompted improvements at PennDOT’s busiest center in Malvern, Chester County that cut wait times from 90 minutes to less than 30 minutes.
Modernizing Driver and Vehicle Services’ Operations
Faced with meeting the needs of its customers in the digital age, PennDOT is pursuing a multi-project initiative to implement paperless, streamlined and real-time electronic processes for driver licensing and motor vehicles that will modernize the way it conducts business with customers, business partners and other stakeholders.
Enhancing Benefits and Services for PA Veterans
The Pennsylvania Veterans Registry is an online application that allows veterans to connect with DMVA to request information related to valuable state benefits, programs and services offered by the agency. A registrants’ information will be shared with the veteran’s county director for veterans affairs and other relevant Commonwealth of Pennsylvania agencies in order to facilitate local connections that aid in providing service to the veteran.
Simplifying the Application Process for Vocational Rehabilitation Benefits
The Department of Labor and Industry is working to simplify the process to apply for Office of Vocational Rehabilitation services by eliminating the “pre-application” step, saving time for both counselors and customers.
Modernizing Health Care Provider Enrollment
The desire to improve customer service and comply with new federal requirement in a timely manner led the Department of Human Services to create an online application for health care providers in Pennsylvania’s Medical Assistance (MA) program. The new online application reduces processing times for Pennsylvania health care providers and makes it easier for providers to participate in the MA program. This improvement results in more choices and access to health care providers for MA enrollees and their families.
Improving Procurement Strategies
Commonwealth agencies spend more than $3 billion per year on goods and services. By conducting a thorough examination of existing contracts, applying commercial best practices and reintroducing reverse auctioning to procurement, the Department of General Services saved over $68 million in the 15-16 fiscal year.
Regionalizing State Prison Purchasing
By consolidating the purchasing of food and other items for smaller facilities, the Department of Corrections has been able to improve operational efficiencies and timeliness for purchases, which will save an estimated $1.5 million this fiscal year.
Reducing Inmate Medical Costs
Following a comprehensive review of off-site trips for inmate medical treatment, the Department of Corrections (DOC) identified several services that could be performed on-site or at nearby correctional facilities, reducing transportation costs. The DOC is also using its status as a covered entity under the Public Health Service Act to obtain HIV and Hepatitis C drugs at reduced prices.
Consolidating Mailrooms and Services
DGS has reduced the cost of mail services across state agencies and increase efficiency through consolidation and workload sharing, saving more than $1 million in 15-16. Additional changes to mail routes and right-sizing equipment will produce additional savings in 16-17.
Increasing Mobile Technology in the Field
As a result of the savings and efficiencies that PennDOT has gained by developing mobile applications for inspectors working in the field, the Department of Environmental Protection is looking to double the productivity of its inspectors working to protect our air, soil and water by utilizing this technology. The Department of Agriculture also will increase efficiency and communications through the use of mobile technology and cloud storage.
Sharing Electronic Grants Software
The Department of Community and Economic Development has developed an electronic grants application that can be used by many agencies, paperwork and speeding up grant processing times for agencies and grantees.
Consolidating Document and Imaging Services
The Department of Revenue has document imaging equipment and capabilities that can be leveraged by other state agencies that need to convert forms, mail and other documents into digital format.
Maximizing Medicaid Funds for Offenders
The Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs is working with counties and state agencies to transition offenders to residential drug and alcohol treatment facilities immediately following their release from county prison.
Innovative Financing for Energy Savings
Building on the success of the Department of Corrections, the Department of General Services is exploring opportunities at other commonwealth-owned buildings to finance efficiency projects with savings from reduced energy consumption.
Expanding Toxicology Services
The Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) and other agencies must pay private labs to test for controlled substances in driving under the influence cases. PSP will expand its in-house testing capabilities to include controlled substances to eliminate the financial burden on law enforcement agencies throughout the commonwealth.
Sharing Resources across Agencies
Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR) vehicles at seven state parks and one state forest will be serviced at nearby PennDOT facilities through a new agreement expected to reduce DCNR staff time and travel costs.
Implementing Online Voter Registration
This new portal created by the Department of State allows eligible citizens to register to vote online and update information such as name, address or party affiliation, providing added convenience for citizens, greater engagement in the democratic process, as well as improved data accuracy and reduced costs for counties.
Updating the State Park Reservation System
The Department of Conservation and Natural Resources implemented a new online system that makes it more convenient for visitors to our state parks to make reservations online. DCNR was also able to reduce its software transaction costs by over $100,000 per year. At the same time, park reservations have increased by 5%.
Improving Winter Storm Response
PennDOT has outfitted hundreds of snowplows with tracking devices provide real-time information on vehicle movement, plow-route coverage and usage of materials such as salt and anti-skid. The public can also follow the snowplows using the traveler information website, www.511PA.com.
Digitizing State Archival Records
Faced with increasing public demand for birth and death records, as well as other genealogy resources; the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission partnered with Ancestry.com to digitize and make available these records to the public across the world. This will save $5,000,000 through the life of the project with all costs being burdened by Ancestry.com.
Increasing the Reach of MindMatters
The Pennsylvania Department of Aging is partnering with a local public broadcasting station, WITF, to deliver a monthly web-based series of 30-45 minute educational programs to Senior Community Centers. These lectures are conducted by experts on subjects ranging from history to current events, health and wellness and self-help topics and are geared toward providing enrichment and life-long learning opportunities to older Pennsylvanians.
Enhancing Access to Online Services
The Office of Administration is working to enable citizens and businesses to access online services provided by state agencies using a single, secure credential. This will eliminate the need to create individual accounts for each service and keep track of multiple user names and passwords. In addition to greater convenience for users, this new identity management model will strengthen the commonwealth’s overall information security.
Connecting Consumers through “Smart Hearings”
The Public Utility Commission created “Smart Hearings” to use existing live-streaming and telecommunications technology to nearly double participation among PPL Electric Utilities customers in similar rate request public input hearings held in 2012. The initiative also achieved modest savings and will be used again when it makes sense to do so.
Leveraging Experienced Claims Personnel
By bringing administration of the Uninsured Employee Guarantee Fund back in-house at the Department of Labor and Industry, the agency will realize savings and maximize the skills of its existing staff. The project saved over $280,000 in the 15-16 fiscal year.
Governor Wolf has made improving government efficiency a top priority, and has tasked his leadership team with reviewing their agencies’ operations and pursuing transformational projects. Each agency has designated a transformation leader to serve as the point person for agency activities.
All projects must meet one of the Governor’s GO-TIME goals:
- Improve service to commonwealth customers
- Increase efficiency or reduce processing times for government activities
- Generate cost savings or new revenue from collections, fees or recoveries
- Engage citizens
- Improve employee involvement in transformational activities
- Increase collaboration between agencies
GO-TIME has developed a standard methodology for calculating cost savings and implemented a project management tool to track agency cost savings estimates and monitor the progress of initiatives on a quarterly basis, ensuring that cost savings are accurately captured and savings goals are achieved.
Cost savings are categorized as:
- Direct dollar savings – one time reductions or ongoing savings
- Productivity savings – an estimate of change between current and future processes
- Cost avoidance – a reduction in planned or budgeted expenditures resulting from an agency initiative or action
- Increased revenues – may include new revenue from penalties, fines or fees, or improved cost recoveries
Actual or estimated expenses are subtracted from savings to determine net project savings. Savings within each year are prorated based on the date of project implementation, with project costs taken in full in the year in which they are incurred.