Effective and Efficient Government

Community Outcome Area: Effective and Efficient Government

Fairfax County is a place where all people trust that their government responsibly manages resources, provides exceptional services, is responsive to their needs and equitably represents them.

 

Fairfax County is widely recognized as a very well-managed county, which is routinely confirmed by multiple external oversight agencies. However, sustaining a record of excellence requires the county to constantly seek new ways to improve, becoming increasingly more proactive, adaptable to change and responsive to all residents. The county has a responsibility to ensure that resources are managed in a way that is transparent, and that taxes are affordable for residents and stakeholders who choose to live and do business in Fairfax County.

To be truly effective and efficient, the county needs well-functioning facilities, secure technology that works, reliable infrastructure and an outstanding workforce that is focused on moving beyond department silos to focus on what is best for the county as whole. To succeed well into the future, Fairfax County must constantly reinforce a culture that supports employees to become more data-driven, service oriented, collaborative and adaptable to change. Leadership and staff at all levels must effectively communicate, continuously build on lessons learned, benchmark for best practices and seek new and better ways to serve the community.

The proposed strategies in this section focus on the elements of local government that will be the most impactful as Fairfax County looks ahead to the future, driving improved collaboration among employees, residents, community groups and other stakeholders.

Challenge Questions

  1. How do we keep the county on the sustainable fiscal path necessary to meet the needs of a population with increasingly diverse demographic and socio-economic characteristics?
  2. How do we transform government culture, policies and business practices to align with community goals and priorities and pivot to respond to constantly shifting circumstances and changing demands?
  3. How do we attract, retain and develop a highly skilled, talented and diverse county government workforce that advances a culture of engagement and excellence?
  4. How might we improve engagement with residents so that we include voices of marginalized communities and capitalize upon the assets of our diverse residents and businesses?
  5. How do we maximize the use of evolving technologies and the increasing amount of available countywide data to exceed the expectations of our residents and other stakeholders, while appropriately managing the related risks?
  6. How do we manage county infrastructure — including our buildings, land, technology and tools — to better meet the current and future needs of county residents and workers in an environmentally and fiscally sustainable manner?
  7. How do we equitably and comprehensively gather and analyze internal and external feedback in a timely and transparent manner to drive process and service improvements?

Indicators

  • Customer Satisfaction with County Services
  • Inclusive Community Engagement
  • Effective and Representative County and School Workforce
  • Effective Technology and Quality Facilities
  • Financial Sustainability and Trustworthiness

Proposed Strategies

These proposed strategies were developed based on the extensive background work completed by the Countywide Strategic Planning Teams. The Board will determine which strategies will be pursued, as well as when they might be undertaken. This process will be highly flexible and will adapt to respond to community conditions as they evolve over time.

Customer Satisfaction with County Services

  • EEG 1. Implement a human-centered, highly responsive design approach across county and school programs and services to improve the customer experience.
  • EEG 2. Implement a comprehensive approach to consistently solicit customer feedback on their service experience and share results regarding the quality of the county’s programs and services.

Inclusive Community Engagement

  • EEG 3. Enhance communication and outreach to the community by using all available communication methods and tailoring messaging to individual needs.
  • EEG 4. Improve public participation and engagement opportunities to ensure all facets of the community are represented and have the physical and technological access necessary to engage and participate in community discussions and decisions.
  • EEG 5. Increase volunteerism to enhance county, school and community service delivery and coordinate efforts to enable one-stop identification of volunteer opportunities.

Effective and Representative County and School Workforce

  • EEG 6. Review and improve the structure, operations and impact of county boards, authorities and commissions to better reflect current needs and demographics of the community.
  • EEG 7. Improve the county’s competitiveness as an employer to recruit, hire and retain a diverse, highly qualified workforce.
  • EEG 8. Make the onboarding process for all new employees streamlined, consistent and compelling, so that staff have the information, tools and technology they need to begin their county careers effectively.
  • EEG 9. Enhance countywide succession planning and ensure continuity of operations by focusing on key positions and critical functions where effective knowledge transfer and smooth workforce transitions are required.
  • EEG 10. Expand employee learning opportunities to increase staff competencies and experience in the areas of leadership, equity, cultural proficiency, use of technology and innovation to meet the needs of a changing environment.
  • EEG 11. Initiate a regular, countywide process for conducting organizational assessments and employee surveys and then implementing identified changes that will lead to improved employee engagement.
  • EEG 12. Implement a workplace culture change effort to actively promote equity and inclusion, collaboration, excellence, innovation, customer service, transparency, accountability and trustworthiness.
  • EEG 13. Provide more flexibility in the areas of workplace environment, benefits, career progression and nontraditional employment arrangements to compete more effectively with surrounding private and public sector employers for the next generation of employees.

Financial Sustainability and Trustworthiness

  • EEG 14. Using lessons learned during COVID-19, re-engineer county practices and procedures to improve performance, reduce cost and eliminate redundancies.
  • EEG 15. Pursue professional and industry accreditations for all applicable county and school programs; implement recommendations and promote accreditation, once achieved.
  • EEG 16. Create "communities of practice" around areas of functional expertise (such as human resources, financial management, data analytics or performance measurement) to foster innovation, increase collaboration and share best practices across the county workforce.
  • EEG 17. Strengthen the use of data-informed decision making through regular data collection, evaluation and distribution.
  • EEG 18. Evolve the budgeting process to align resource allocation to those programs and activities that will most effectively advance the outcomes outlined in the strategic plan.
  • EEG 19. Provide greater access to information, engage with our community in an inclusive way and receive wide and diversified community input regarding spending priorities.
  • EEG 20. Pursue policy, fiscal and legislative options to provide county leaders with the flexibility and tools needed to respond to the challenges associated with becoming an increasingly urban county.

Effective Technology and Quality Facilities

  • EEG 21. Implement a data governance policy that standardizes and strengthens how the county collects, analyzes, warehouses and shares data across departments and with the community.
  • EEG 22. Implement a consolidated county and school technology plan to enable innovative solutions, reduce operational costs and deliver exceptional outcomes.
  • EEG 23. Increase utilization and shared use of county facilities so that residents are better able to access needed services within their neighborhoods and facilities can support community use and satellite service delivery.
  • EEG 24. When building new county facilities and infrastructure, incorporate design that results in multi-use spaces, promotes efficient use of sites and maximizes return on investment.
  • EEG 25. Increase resiliency and energy efficiency of existing and new county facilities and infrastructure to improve performance, reduce building maintenance costs and increase the ability for facilities to self-sustain during emergencies.
  • EEG 26. Equitably assess and perform ongoing maintenance, upgrades and replacement of county facilities, infrastructure and equipment so that they can meet future demands and provide a safe and healthy environment for residents and staff.

Sample Metrics

Indicator: Customer Satisfaction with County Services
Metrics:

  • % of residents who rate the overall quality and accessibility of Fairfax County Government services as excellent or good
  • % of customers of individual Fairfax County Government services (internal and external) who report they were satisfied with the service they received
  • % of transactions that meet a specified service or performance standard (for those that have a standard)

Indicator: Inclusive Community Engagement
Metrics:

  • % of residents who feel they have authentic opportunities to participate in Fairfax County Government decision-making
  • Difference between the demographics of appointed officials and the demographics of the population
  • % of registered voters in Fairfax County who voted in the most recent local election

Indicator: Effective and Representative County and School Workforce
Metrics:

  • Difference between the demographics of the county government workforce and the demographics of the community
  • % of Fairfax County Government positions filled within a defined period of time
  • % of hiring managers who are satisfied with the applicant pool they were provided when filling a position
  • # of positions that are reposted within x weeks of the original posting due to not being filled initially
  • % of new hires who feel they were onboarded effectively and prepared for their positions
  • % of employees who report high levels of engagement at work
  • Rate of voluntary and involuntary turnover (excludes retirements)
  • % of county government and school district employees who live in Fairfax County

Indicator: Effective Technology and Quality Facilities
Metrics:

  • % of county facilities, technology, infrastructure and assets with a rating of “good” or better
  • % of county space available for community use that was used during the times it was available/open
  • % of users of county facilities who rate them as accessible, safe and well maintained
  • Energy consumption at county facilities per square footage
  • % of IT projects that are rated by project sponsors and end users as successfully meeting the project requirements

NOTE: In this section of metrics, "county" refers to all taxpayer-funded facilities - government buildings, board offices, community centers, parks, libraries, schools, etc.

Indicator: Financial Sustainability and Trustworthiness
Metrics:

  • % of residents who rate Fairfax County Government as trustworthy
  • % of residents who report they understand the budget process and how the county spends money
  • Amount of local taxes collected, as a % of household income
  • % of audit findings in which auditors have verified the desired corrective action was fully implemented
  • # of settlements and # of dollars paid out by Fairfax County Government and Fairfax County Public Schools in settlements, fines and legal judgments
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