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One Stop
Implementation Plan


 
I. STRATEGIC DIRECTION, BACKGROUND

A. Strategic Direction - The Department of Environmental Services is in the process of drafting a new strategic plan to guide environmental protection efforts in New Hampshire over the next several years.  The draft strategic plan establishes an overall mission statement, 11 guiding principles and 12 broad goals.  (When completed it will include more specific objectives for each of the goals as well as measures for tracking progress.)

The Department has also completed a Strategic Information Technology Plan.  Recent legislation in New Hampshire requires all state agencies to prepare such plans to guide agency investments in hardware, software, telecommunications and even information management staff.  One of the primary purposes of requiring these plans is to get agencies thinking more about their business needs and how their information technology investments help to meet those business needs.  The Department's Information Technology Plan is consistent with and is designed to help implement the strategic plan.

The strategic plan, the Strategic Information Technology Plan and the work plan for the One Stop Reporting grant, taken together, provide the overall direction and vision for the Department's One Stop Environmental Reporting and Information Access Program.
 
Department Mission Statement: The mission of the Department of Environmental Services is to protect, maintain and enhance environmental quality and public health in New Hampshire.
Department Guiding Principles:
We promote mutual respect and open, straightforward communication;

We strive to ensure timely, effective and consistent responses to all citizens;

We encourage and work hard to provide ample opportunities for public participation in all phases of the Department's responsibilities;

We consider the quality of life, health and safety, and concerns and aspirations of all our citizens while pursuing our responsibilities under the law;

We strive for excellence in all of the Department's operations, are committed to continuous improvement and consider innovative approaches;

We are committed to scientifically and technically sound, cost effective and environmentally appropriate solutions;

We are committed to providing leadership on environmental issues;

We have a responsibility to consider the long-term and cumulative effects of our policies, programs and decisions;

We encourage, educate, and provide assistance to the public to act in ways that enhance environmental quality;

We will effectively and fairly enforce against those who violate environmental laws; and

We are committed to providing equal opportunity and protection for all citizens, in the management of the agency as well as in the implementation of our programs.

Department Information Management Goal:
That data, information and knowledge are collected, managed, analyzed and disseminated effectively and efficiently to support well-informed, timely and cost-effective environmental decision-making.
IM Plan Objectives:
  1. Improve the Department's effectiveness at protecting and improving the environment and public health through better use and analysis of existing information.
  2. Improve the measurement of environmental conditions and trends in New Hampshire and environmental program performance at the Department.
  3. Provide the regulated community, the Legislature, environmental groups, local, state and federal agencies and the general public with ready access to information available on the state of the environment, environmental programs, and specific sites or facilities.
  4. Improve the management, coordination and measurement of  agency programs through more effective use of available information.
  5. Reduce the reporting burden on the regulated community.
The Strategic Information Technology Plan identifies keys to success in achieving the objectives: database integration across the Department; GIS connection with program databases; and Internet access to the databases through development and implementation of a site identification system.  It also establishes measures of success for evaluating performance over the five-year planning period.  These are presented as improvements that are expected to have been accomplished:

  • A more complete picture of environmental conditions and trends and site-specific environmental performance will be more readily available to Department staff and the public.
  • Program requirements for spatially-referenced data will be better addressed by the completion of GIS upgrades and improvements.  GIS data layers and related Department databases should also be fully linked to ensure more complete data access, consistency and accuracy.
  • The public will be able to search for facility/site-related information in a variety of ways on location at the Department and remotely through an Internet-based facility/site identification system.
  • Implementation of a well-defined document management plan will be well underway with a focus on the reduction of paper volume and flow, and information remaining on paper files will be more readily accessible to the public through a more centralized access system.
  • On-line, 'one stop' compliance reporting will be available to the regulated community to streamline reporting, improve data accuracy, reduce costs and facilitate information sharing across Department programs.
  • The Department will have made changes in the information it collects from regulated facilities and in its own information gathering efforts as a result of a critical evaluation of the information needs of each program.

 
B.  Background - In 1989, the newly-created New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services completed its first information management plan to provide direction for investments in information technology and for the application of this technology to meet program needs.  The focus of this plan was on moving away from the Department's central computer system to a more flexible, decentralized approach based on the needs of individual programs linked via a Wide Area Network. The plan also placed a greater emphasis on the use of Geographic Information System (GIS) technology for analysis of information connected to specific geographic locations, and on making our information more accessible to the public.

Throughout the 1990's the Department worked hard to implement the first information management plan, with a focus on building the infrastructure necessary to meet both current and future needs.  Today we can point to a number of significant accomplishments as a result of implementation of the plan, such as:

Conversion to Oracle Platform
Conversion to Wide Area Network
Geographic Information System (GIS) Targeting
Public Work Stations
Electronic Reporting Capability
Web Site Development

In 1997 the Department drafted a new five year strategic information management plan to take a more systematic approach to improving the way the Department manages environmental information from the source all the way through to the many end users.  This plan established five broad goals pertaining to the collection, management, analysis and dissemination of information and the use of information to measure and report on environmental conditions and agency performance.  The 1989 plan - and the Department's success in implementing that plan - helped to put the technology and the infrastructure in place to support better information management; the 1997 plan takes advantage of and builds upon the technology improvements to use information more effectively as a tool in accomplishing the Department's mission.  This 1997 plan has since evolved into the Department's Strategic Information Technology Plan described in Section A. above.

Just as with the earlier plan, the Department is working hard to implement the Strategic Information Technology Plan.  This is being accomplished in a number of ways, including:

  • The maintenance of a highly qualified Information Resources Management Unit staff through the use of a range of funding sources as part of the Department's operating budget;
  • Ongoing and significant investments in hardware and software improvements via the capital budget;
  • Individual program investments in staff and/or technology to support program-specific information management needs; and
  • Pursuit of special grants such as the One Stop Reporting Program grant, where the goals of the program are consistent with our information management plan, to provide significant additional financial and technical resources that can help to accelerate implementation.

 
C.  Role of One Stop Program - The Department is moving forward on a number of fronts with implementation of the information management plan.  The One Stop grant is one component of this overall implementation effort, and will serve as a catalyst to accelerate the development in certain areas by providing dedicated staff and additional financial resources that would not otherwise be available.  In particular, the One Stop Environmental Reporting and Information Access Program will help to achieve the Department's overall mission and the information management goal and objectives by focusing on the following areas:

Site Identification - Significant change rarely occurs without a combination of vision and elbow grease.  Site identification is the elbow grease part.  Using the Facility Identification Template for States (FITS) - developed by a team of state and EPA representatives for the national One Stop Program - as guidance, we will establish a system that uniquely identifies each site of interest to one or more Department programs and provides a link to all program databases containing information about the site.  This system, which will be available to Department staff and to the public, is the foundation for most of what we hope to accomplish with the One Stop Program and is essential to the success of one stop reporting, effective intra-departmental communication and universal access to our information;

Let's Share - With the unique identifier in place, we will be able to electronically share information across programs pertaining to facilities/sites of common interest and jurisdiction;

Let's Measure - Along with the site identification system, we will be establishing a quarterly tracking and reporting system for the Performance Measures included in our Fiscal Year 2000 - 2001 Performance Partnership Agreement (these measures incorporate the FY 2000 Core Performance Measures developed jointly by EPA and ECOS as indicators of national environmental conditions and trends).  The quarterly reporting - a combination of environmental conditions and trends, program performance and compliance information - will be coupled with the site identification system information and made available to the public in a number of ways, including via the Department's Web site;

'One Stop' Reporting - This is the genesis of the national One Stop Reporting Program.  We will consolidate the reporting requirements for regulated facilities/sites, we will provide electronic reporting, and we will make sure we are getting the information that we need - and only the information we need - from them;

Universal Access - We will provide universal access to the site identification system and the quarterly measures reporting using at least three different options - the Department's Web site, expanded capabilities at the existing public information work stations in the lobby at the Department's offices in Concord, and a statewide network of regional work stations;

'One Stop' Permiting - One of the original objectives of the reorganization of the Department in 1987 was to provide permit applicants for multiple permit projects a single point of contact and a simpler process for applying for and tracking the status of their permits.  While we have made progress in this area, the site identification system will enable us to develop consolidated permit applications and to provide coordinated permit tracking; and

The Right Information - We will (1) look critically at the information that is needed to help each program achieve its goals and objectives in the most effective and efficient manner; (2) compare the results of this analysis with the information that the programs currently collect and manage; and (3) use this comparison to stop collecting unnecessary information and to begin collecting more of the right information.
 
 

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