Candi Harrison was Department Web Manager at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development from 1995-2005. Under Candi’s leadership, HUD won numerous web awards, including the first Digital Government Award presented by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Accenture for outstanding use of the Internet to serve citizens (2000); the E-Gov Trailblazer Award for HUD's free web clinics for HUD partners (2001); and the E-Gov Pioneer Award for HUD's ground-breaking government information kiosks (1999). HUD’s web strategies and operations were cited as “best practices” in numerous studies and reviews during Candi’s tenure. In 2000, Candi founded and led the government Web Content Managers Forum to help federal, state, and local government web managers exchange best practices and lessons learned. This group now has more than 2,000 members across the country. In 2004, Candi co-chaired the federal working group that recommended policies for government websites, adopted by the Office of Management and Budget. She co-chaired the Federal Web Managers Council from its creation in 2004 until she retired in late 2005. She organized and led workshops in Washington DC and across the country to train government web managers on federal web policies and best practices; and she helped create the website, Webcontent.gov (now Howto.gov), as a resource for government web managers. Candi retired in October 2005, after 24 years of federal government service - all at HUD. Since then, Candi teaches courses and workshops on web management and customer service for the General Services Administration’s Web Manager University, Government Educator, and others. An advocate for plain writing, Candi has served as a judge for both the U.S. Clearmark Plain Language Awards and New Zealand’s WriteMark Plain English awards, for two years. Her highly praised blog, Candi On Content, chronicles her experiences and ideas to improve the way government communicates with and serves citizens. From 1974 to1980, Candi was a member of student services staffs at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, PA and Rider University in Lawrenceville, NJ. She holds a Bachelors Degree in English Education and a Masters Degree in Higher Education Administration, both from Indiana University.
The .Gov Task Force has issued the State of the Federal Web report, summarizing its surveys and the national brainstorming effort it sponsored. It’s a terrific report, full of great data and even better analysis. If you care at all about how customer service in the federal government functions (or should function), this is a “must read.”
The initial drafts of federal agency plans to improve online customer service have been posted. Agencies were asked to report on what’s happening currently, as the first step toward developing their plans; and I must say, the results are – well – disappointing.