The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has launched the first annual Burden Reduction Plan for Fiscal Year (FY) 2024. In the new plan, Chief Information Officer (CIO) Eric Hysen charges the Department to build upon the momentum of the prior DHS Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Burden Reduction Initiative (which reduced over 21 million hours of burden on customers) to transform the public’s experience with our organization. DHS will continue to improve the experience of everyone who relies on the Department for critical services by making customer experience a central and lasting part of our culture.
Burden Reduction is Not Solely a PRA Function
The FY 2024 Burden Reduction Plan will be a cross-functional and cross-organizational effort across the Department. The new plan aligns with the FY 2024-2028 DHS Information Technology Strategic Plan to expand equity, accessibility, and efficiency, and transform service delivery, using customer-centric methods. Last year, DHS drove a major culture change across many lines of business by requiring usability testing on new information collections, or what most people would refer to as forms. Since forms are one of the most common ways the public interacts with the government, it is vital that we provide forms that are easy to understand and use.
Burden Reduction at Scale
The new Burden Reduction Plan has two goals: Reducing an additional 10 million hours of public burden and redesigning 75% of internal DHS HQ forms to enhance operational efficiency. Both goals will be achieved by using customer-centric methods and a combination of other best practices from our previous Burden Reduction Initiative and industry best practices, including process reengineering.
The first goal is for DHS Components to reduce another 10 million hours of burden on our customers by streamlining processes and making services easier to use. DHS will improve outcomes for trade, travelers, businesses, disaster survivors, and millions of other customers by making services more equitable, accessible, and trustworthy. The second goal is to redesign 75% of internal DHS Headquarters (HQ) forms to enhance operational efficiency and improve overall performance. Employees of DHS HQ will experience improvements to internal processes, including records management, onboarding, and other processes that help employees deliver mission-critical work.
The FY 2024 Burden Reduction Plan also includes a look ahead to the coming years and initiatives. CIO Hysen’s vision for DHS to consistently reduce burden hours as a part of our normal operating procedure includes future annual burden reduction initiatives to reduce additional burden hours and the redesign of all internal-facing forms across the Department.
We know that small improvements have an exponential impact at DHS. By making small improvements in pivotal areas, we can change people’s lives in a big way. Culture change is hard, but burden reduction is becoming a key component of the Department’s operational culture. Reducing burden on our internal customers (DHS employees) by improving internal processes creates a ripple effect that scales out to improving experiences for our Components and the public. Our initial Burden Reduction Initiative captured the imagination and inspired many across DHS and the federal government to make small changes of their own. Through these annual initiatives, DHS intends to make burden reduction a permanent part of our cultural make-up.