Lawmakers propose establishing new CX lead at OMB

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., shown here at a White House event in 2022, is looking to pass a bill to establish a top service delivery officer in the federal government.

Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., shown here at a White House event in 2022, is looking to pass a bill to establish a top service delivery officer in the federal government. Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images

A House bill would also have agencies tap a senior official to coordinate improvements to government services.

Bipartisan legislation introduced in the House earlier this month would require the White House’s Office of Management and Budget to tap a senior official to lead the push to improve government services.

The Government Service Delivery Improvement Act — introduced by Reps. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., Byron Donalds, R-Fla., Barry Loudermilk, R-Ga., and William Timmons, R-S.C. — would also require agencies to designate a senior official to implement customer service improvements. 

“The federal government has an obligation to efficiently and effectively deliver quality services that Americans rely on including Social Security, retirement benefits, Medicare health coverage, veterans programs, student loans and grants,” Khanna said in a statement. “Congress should help bring service delivery across agencies into the 21st century.”

The OMB service delivery lead would be tasked with developing and overseeing the implementation of governmentwide standards and guidance for customer services, such as policies that push agencies to seek feedback on their public-facing programs. 

The service delivery lead would also be charged with setting up metrics to measure the quality of government services and ensuring that customer experience projects are prioritized in agency budget requests. 

The bill also makes a point to clarify that agency heads are responsible for government service delivery, requiring such leaders to tap a senior official to coordinate agency-level service improvements and submit customer experience plans to the OMB lead. 

Among the duties of both the new OMB lead and agency-level officials tapped to lead customer experience work would be the implementation of the Khanna’s 2018 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience — or IDEA — Act, for which OMB released guidance in September, including requirements on web analytics, accessibility, branding, digitization and more. 

Although the issuance of that guidance took years, making it easier and more seamless for people to interact with the government has been a priority for both the Biden administration and several of those that came before it. Still, some stakeholders have  pushed for the government to formalize customer experience as a priority, suggesting that Congress create new roles focused on customer experience, require governmentwide strategies and fund the work.

“For too long, our nation’s bloated federal bureaucracy has acted as an unaccountable, antiquated, and Byzantine institution,” Donalds said in a statement about the new bill. “We must ensure that our government prioritizes the input of the American people by adopting a modernized and innovative customer-centric approach to service.”

The nonprofit Partnership for Public Service and trade groups including the Software Alliance trade group, the Software and Information Industry Association and the Alliance for Digital Innovation are supporting the bill.

The introduction of the House legislation on CX comes just before the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee is set to vote next Wednesday on another proposal focused on customer experience.

The Senate's bipartisan Improving Government Services Act would require agencies with services designated as “high-impact” to create annual customer experience action plans to streamline forms, create online options for self-service and more.