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Memorandum Directing Improvements in Service Delivery and Agency Productivity

July 31, 1985

Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies

Four years ago we embarked together upon an ambitious mission to improve management of the Federal government and ensure wiser use of each tax dollar, while simultaneously making government more responsive to the needs of our constituency—the American public. Some observers of government activities have often said it was "mission impossible," but through our progress so far, we have proved them wrong.

In the past, in practice as well as in principle, you have been very supportive of our Management Improvement Program: Reform '88. As a direct result of your efforts, we are instituting vigorous new controls on program growth, trimming administrative costs, reducing waste and fraud, and streamlining the Federal field structure.

These achievements are substantial and are a necessary first phase in making government work better. Now it is time to focus on the next phase of Reform '88: improving our delivery of goods and services to the public. To facilitate this effort, I have asked the Congress to demonstrate its support for a government-wide program to improve Federal productivity by passing a joint resolution declaring productivity improvement as a national goal. In addition, I am asking the Congress to pass a legislative program to improve government management tools by addressing specific problems relating to fraud prevention, payment integrity and simplification, procurement, reorganization authority, and reductions in regulatory and paperwork burdens.

While Congress works to enact these measures, there is much we can do to lay the groundwork as we enter the beginning stages of the FY '87 budget process. You should begin by identifying specific priorities which will improve service delivery and agency productivity. These initiatives should concentrate on those programs which make a real difference to the American public, as well as on internal administrative processes.

Through demonstrated ability to institute progressive change, we have begun to stem the public's disillusionment with the Federal government's capability to serve them well at a reasonable price. I know you have as one of your highest priorities completion of the next phase of our management improvement journey—improved delivery of public services through higher quality, improved timeliness, and lower cost to the taxpayers.


Ronald Reagan, Memorandum Directing Improvements in Service Delivery and Agency Productivity Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project

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