Roadmap for Renewing Our Federal Government

A pandemic. Economic turmoil. Racial injustice. Threats to national security. The nation’s future and our democracy depend on our ability to solve these challenges, and the federal government is the most powerful tool we have to drive change. Yet, years of neglect, diminished capacity and leadership shortcomings have taken a heavy toll on the government’s ability to serve the public effectively.

In order to fulfill its promise, the government must do things differently. To meet America’s current and future needs, we must rebuild and revitalize our nation’s most important democratic institution. To that end, we propose that the next administration – a second Trump term or first term Biden team – make the following issues a priority.

Agencies across the federal government are experiencing a serious leadership deficit. Political appointees must be prepared to lead in the public sector, career executives need greater opportunities for growth and development, and both must recognize their responsibilities as stewards of the public trust.
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The government is struggling to recruit, hire and retain the skilled talent it needs to meet today’s complex challenges. The federal workforce is aging and just 6% of federal employees are under the age of 30. We need to renew the call to public service for new and diverse talent and make it easier for agencies to hire the talent they need.
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The public deserves faster and more effective service from its government, but federal agencies are often stymied by outdated technology, red tape and the risk that comes from trying something new. The White House and agency leaders should create an environment that fosters and rewards innovation, invests in modern technology and empowers employees with a customer-service mindset.
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Today’s most significant problems do not fit within existing agency boundaries, but require the federal government to collaborate across agencies, across the legislative and executive branches, between levels of government, and with the private and nonprofit sectors. We need to build communities within and outside of government to more effectively solve problems and deliver services.
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Recent News
Fixing Government: Judy Woodruff in Conversation with Max Stier
On Wednesday, September 2, 2020, the National Institute hosted its fourth virtual forum of the year. PBS NewsHour anchor and journalist Judy Woodruff interviewed Max Stier, the President of the Partnership for Public Service, about his two decades of bi-partisan efforts to improve the practice of government in America and the future prospects for making government more efficient and effective.
First 100 Days Checklist
In order to fulfill its promise, the government must do things differently. To meet America’s current and future needs, we must rebuild and revitalize our nation’s most important democratic institution. To that end, we propose that the next president and his administration focus on these actions in the first 100 days to begin laying the groundwork for renewing our federal government.
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Survey on the Future of Government Service
The 2020 Survey on the Future of Government Service includes questions about federal employee hiring, performance, management and government reform. It is hoped that this survey will contribute to evidence-based decision making on the future of public service.
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Government for the People: Serving the Public in a New World
Our second annual customer experience report provides in-depth data and insights on 11 key federal services, assesses the progress government has made since last year, and offers three service-delivery principles for advancing customer experience improvements in the pandemic and beyond.
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