Kundra explains cost-cutting for 24,000 fed websites

Jul 14

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7/14/2011 8:58 AM  RssIcon


By Alice Lipowicz

After the White House’s campaign to trim duplicative federal websites got off to a rocky start last month, CIO Vivek Kundra has emphasized that the goal is to comprehensively improve online services and save money.

Kundra, appearing in a video conference at the White House broadcast live online on July 12, said the Web reform initiative is just getting started and involves more than trimming the overtly duplicative, outdated and rarely-visited sites among the estimated 24,000 federal websites.

The next steps involve more ambitious strategies to improve efficiency and online service delivery in a comprehensive fashion, which will reduce taxpayer costs, he said.

“We have watched a huge revolution in how services are delivered in the private sector,” Kundra said, naming “self-service” Web portals and mobile device applications as examples. But the public sector has lagged behind in those areas, he said.

“Having Americans navigate the jungle of 24,000 websites makes no sense,” Kundra said.

The White House announced the Web reform plan June 13 as part of its ongoing campaign to cut waste. Initial reaction was somewhat mixed, as taxpayer groups suggested it would generate only modest savings and bloggers mentioned specific sites — such as FiddlinForesters.gov for a string band made up of U.S. Forest Rangers -- targeted for elimination.

“We must bid farewell to everyone’s favorite website devoted to foresters who play the fiddle,” wrote blogger Nathan Badley in an entry on June 16.

On July 12, the White House created a new website for the program and released names of the members of a federal task force to carry out the website campaign. The campaign also published a list of the 1,759 federal Web domains that host all the websites involved. By Oct. 31, federal agencies have been ordered to submit an inventory of their websites and plans for improved efficiency.

The effort will involve new policies and efficiency-oriented website restructurings that aim to streamline how information is delivered to the public via the Web and to reduce the need for back-end support provided to the websites by federal employees and IT systems, Kundra said.

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