Pennsylvania honors state government innovators

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The Pennsylvania state government honored seven state agencies Tuesday that made efforts to reduce costs, increase productivity and improve services at the Governor’s Innovation Expo.

A panel of judges from the private sector chose the winners from 11 state agencies.

“Our efforts to improve technology, consolidate functions and share services across agencies have allowed us to reduce administrative spending by 10 percent in three and a half years,” Gov. Corbett said in a statement. “In the process, we are providing better service to Pennsylvanians and improving how they interact with state government.”

In the past four years, state agencies in Pennsylvania have completed 275 innovation initiatives that have provided the state with $690 million in savings and productivity gains. The state has another 185 initiatives that are currently in progress and feature the potential for additional savings.

“Through innovation, we are changing the culture of state government from clinging to the status quo to embracing constant improvement,” Secretary of Administration Kelly Powell Logan said in a release. “These awards are intended to recognize the many positive changes that are taking place across our state agencies and how they are benefiting the people of Pennsylvania.”

This year’s winners, according to the release:

Innovation of the Year: PennDOT – Transportation Innovation through Cross-Agency Collaboration

PennDOT understands the importance of engaging stakeholders in the decision-making process of advancing innovative solutions, which demonstrates the creation of the State Transportation Innovation Council. The STIC is a multi-stakeholder approach that is co-chaired by the Secretary of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration’s Division Administrator to improve the evaluation, selection and implementation of innovative solutions to modernize the state’s transportation system. STIC members also include representatives from the major trade associations, local governments and research institutions.

Best e-government Innovation: Department of Revenue – Benefits-Based Procurements

The Department of Revenue has contracted with Revenue Solutions Inc., a company with experience in fraud identification and access to advanced analytical, technological and data tools, to assist in the identification of fraudulent and erroneous refund filings – most commonly overstated unreimbursed employee business expenses and incorrectly reported wages or withholding from W-2s. The contract is innovative in that the vendor’s compensation is based on the percentage of revenue collected or retained; the more new tax revenue the contractor discovers, the more it gets paid. Revenue’s initiative has resulted in $7.4 million in savings, as of July 11.

Best Human Services Innovation: Department of Public Welfare – #Meet the Kids??

The Department of Public Welfare’s Statewide Adoption and Permanency Network launched the #MeetTheKids campaign to recruit resource families who are willing to accept placement of older foster youth into their homes so they are not placed in congregate (group) care settings. The campaign features 12 Pennsylvania foster youth filming themselves and each other while discussing foster care and their need for a permanent family. The campaign has been shared nation-wide through various websites and on Facebook and Pennsylvania has received praise from such organizations as AdoptUSKids and the North American Council on Adoption.

Best Cross Agency Innovation: Office of Administration – MobilePA Challenge

The Office of Administration is partnering with local higher education institutions to partner teams of students with state agencies to develop new mobile web applications. The program provides agencies with access to in-demand technology skills and allows them to provide new information and services to the public. The students gain valuable real-world experience working with a client and exposure to the commonwealth as a potential future employer. The Mobile PA Challenge was successfully piloted with Harrisburg University for Science and Technology, and will be expanded this fall to include Harrisburg Area Community College, Penn State Harrisburg and many State System of Higher Education schools.

Best Customer Service Innovation: Public Utility Commission – PA Power Switch/Standard Offer Program??The PUC Standard Offer Program is a new program, made available to all residential and small business customers who have not shopped their electric generation with a competitive supplier, as well as shopping customers who specifically inquire about the program. The PUC consulted stakeholders, including utilities, electric suppliers, consumer advocates and others, and incorporated their input into the final implementation across all PA electric utilities. Through May 2014, more than 200,000 customers have enrolled, with savings estimated at approximately $19 million.

Innovation Display Awards: ??A total of 21 innovation initiatives by 19 state agencies were on display during the Governor’s Innovation Expo. A second panel of guest judges evaluated and selected the top three:

First Place: Department of General Services – REutilizing, REcycling, REvenue generating

Second Place: Department of Labor & Industry – JobGateway

Third Place: Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole – Jewelry for Justice

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Pennsylvania, States
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