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"It's the right thing to do; it's how government ought to work." - Congressional Comment
What is Service First?
At the broadest level, Service First is a concept of organizing work with an external focus. It's about achieving the timeless goals of land stewardship and quality public service. Service First is a way of forming partnerships across agency boundaries to deal with the land in an integrated way and provide quality service to our publics.
Service First has three broad goals:
- Improve customer service;
- Increase operational efficiency, and
- Enhance land stewardship, resource protection, and conservation.
The philosophy behind Service First authority strives to meet the public and resource needs regardless of organizational or agency boundaries. Under the Service First authority agencies can pool resources to design, develop, and implement joint projects that will provide a greater benefit to citizens and natural resources. Service First provides the authority for agencies to form and promote partnerships across agency boundaries in order to address public land management issues in an integrated way; collaboratively developing joint solutions to common problems. The Service First authority is intentionally very broad; it gives maximum flexibility to the agencies to enhance their ability to create efficiencies.
Why do Service First?
- Leverages employee skills and expertise across the land management agencies
- Enables better focus on watershed and landscape management
- Reduces agency costs by pooling human resources and property
- Eliminates redundant efforts
- Increases responsive problem solving
- Provides one stop shopping to the public by reducing points of contacts
- Provides customer convenience and improved delivery of programs
- Enhances communication between agencies and the public
Whether it is collocation of two agency offices or shared resource management, successful Service First efforts share these lessons:
- Service First is only a tool, it will not provide an answer to every situation
- It offers an on the ground problem solving device but requires senior level management support
- It requires significant effort to overcome institutional and cultural barriers
- It allows employees to be more pro-active and become initiators of change
- Service First works best when clearly perceived by the field manager as an effective tool to increase job productivity and efficiency