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July 2014 - At the request of Congress, the Social Security Administration (SSA) contracted with the National Academy of Public Administration (the Academy) to (1) develop a long-range vision and (2) a high-level strategic plan to assist SSA in addressing its service delivery challenges over the next ten to fifteen years.
The Academy formed a seven-member Panel of Fellows to conduct a ten-month study to produce an independent report that will also contribute to a document that SSA is preparing to describe its own long-range vision.
The Panel, chaired by Jonathan Breul, stressed that a long-term strategic view is increasingly important as Americans face more rapid and profound technology and demographic changes during the next few decades. The Panel determined that SSA must expand and enhance its virtual service delivery channels and accelerate introduction of new technologies to effectively meet customer needs in 2025-2030. The Panel also believes that SSA should provide personal service delivery for those customers, or for those transactions, for which direct assistance and face-to-face interaction is necessary and appropriate.
The Panel identified key factors affecting SSA’s future operating environment to inform a vision of what SSA should look like in 2025-2030. Based on the vision, which was developed with broad input from SSA executives, the Panel also developed 29 recommendations divided into ten focus areas that can assist in SSA’s preparation of a strategic plan. The Panel’s central conclusions call for SSA to provide quality service through virtual channels (e.g., online, phone, videoconference) while continuing to provide personal service delivery options as necessary and appropriate; design user-friendly service delivery channels that become customers’ choice for conducting most transactions; become more nimble, such as improving data access, development of a more agile workforce, and expanding use of shared support services to enable more rapid response to changing customer needs; and exercise leadership and sustained focus on implementing the strategy. Congress must provide continuing support to SSA in the form of adequate budgets and policy refinements that may allow SSA to further streamline service delivery.