Got Government Questions?
Oct. 8, 2009
Contact: Tobi Edler, 202-501-1231
GSA Offers Renewed Commitment to Citizen Engagement
WASHINGTON — The Web may be the new number one place people go to find information, but there are still millions of Americans who are more comfortable picking up the phone to find what they need. The U.S. General Services Administration’s National Contact Center answers the call, providing the public with timely and accurate official government information.
Each year, the National Contact Center fields questions on new and ever-changing items of interest, and answers more than 1.5 million calls, emails and chat sessions equaling about 6,000 questions per day. In September, GSA made the decision to continue this service as a renewed commitment to deliver official government information to citizens for free.
The NCC is a fully integrated, multichannel citizen contact center that responds to public inquiries and requests for official government information via phone at 1-800-FED-INFO, and via Web chat at USA.gov from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. EST weekdays. The center also handles orders for consumer print publications and answers public email inquiries.
”The National Contact Center helps us achieve some of this nation’s top priorities including, increased transparency, enhanced public participation and more collaboration” said Dave McClure, head of GSA's Office of Citizen Services and Communications, which oversees the contact center. “Our sharing of official government information promotes accountability.”
The NCC also allows for up to 20 percent home-based information workers which ties in to the Office of Science and Technology Policy’s push for solutions that create greater telework opportunities.
The NCC answers inquiries on behalf of multiple federal agencies, including the Department of State’s Overseas Citizens Service hot line. In the case of an emergency such as the 2008 attacks in Mumbai, India, this service provided an efficient, cost-effective vehicle for getting information to the American public about loved ones traveling in the region.
“Getting an answer to a question about the federal government becomes easier when you call 1-800 FED INFO. We have information about everything from federal jobs, foreign travel, passports, to buying surplus government property, Social Security and much more," said McClure.
NCC Services include:
• Information on all headquarters, regional and local locations of all federal offices;
• Detailed instructions on applying for various government benefits;
• Referrals and general information about all government agencies and agency-sponsored programs; and
• Order processing for Federal Citizen Information Center and other agency publications and products.
The National Contact Center is a part of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services. In addition to toll-free telephone service, GSA is a trusted, one-stop source that offers helpful government information to the public through a variety of channels. These include USA.gov and GobiernoUSA.gov, its Spanish language counterpart. GSA also offers free print publications from the Federal Citizen Information Center and other resources such as email alerts, public service announcements, Web Managers University and GovGab.gov, a federal blog.
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GSA provides a centralized delivery system of products and services to the federal government, leveraging its enormous buying power to get the best value for taxpayers.
• Founded in 1949, GSA manages more than one-fourth of the government’s total procurement dollars and influences the management of $500 billion in federal assets, including 8,600 government-owned or leased buildings and 213,000 vehicles.
• GSA helps preserve our past and define our future, as a steward of more than 480 historic properties, and as manager of USA.gov, the official portal to federal government information and services.
• GSA’s mission to provide superior workplaces, expert technology solutions, acquisition services, purchasing and E-Gov travel solutions and management policies, at best value, allows federal agencies to focus on their core missions.
Did You Know? Using www.USASearch.gov will yield results from an index that exceeds 500 million pages of government content on federal, state, local, tribal and territorial Web sites.