Improve the communication between the field offices and the federal HUD office.
Historically, there has been poor communication between the field offices and the federal HUD office. HUD grantees generally know more than the field office staff which sets up a poor working dynamic between all those involved. More time needs to be spent training filed office staff and changing the field office culture to help them to become more effective and efficient. HUD is working on making some really great changes. However these changes will be difficult to implement if the field offices do not make some fundamental changes themselves.
Wendi Fawber commented
I have recently experienced issues with our HOC center.
with the new Respa Requirements, no one can blame a lender for wanting to get clarification on certain areas of the new directives that need some clarification. HUD national office says yes to something but puts the ultimate decision in regards to specifics on the HOC office. We try and contact the HOC office and they say HUD national needs to make a determination. As lenders we are stuck to once again to make our own determination in a grey area and all we are trying to do is play by the new rules if we could figure out what they were. It says in the HUD directive that ultimately the field offices can give you determinations on different items but they could mislead you with information, which is not the common practice, but comments from the local Home Ownership Centers may be incorrect. So let me recant this just for the sake of clarification. RESPA issues new guidelines of which lenders have questions to ensure that they are properly closing the loan and upon review of say something commenting on fees and placement on the HUD there is a clarification question that the lender has.
They contact their HOC center who sends back a link that directs them to Respa. THe question they asked was from Respa publication so one is not sure why the HOC directed them back to the same root area of their question. Again they ask the question and the second answer is HUD national needs to make the determination. You email HUD national the question and HUD national puts the decision back on the field offices, of which it is denoted in HUDs own guidelines that the field offices typically are accurate but they could be wrong and you could still be help responsible for whatever determination make from something you were trying to get clarification on and there are no guarantees HUH???? Please help, who rules the roost when the HOC will not commit to an answer?
They communicate just fine. It's like the 2 rules of management.
1. The boss is always right.
2. If you have questions, or the boss is wrong, refer to rule 1.
OK, HQ is not very open to any suggestions from the field. The Charge of the Light Brigade, at Balaclava, where British cavalry charged into cannonfire, and took over 80% casualties, was ordered by someone who was not looking at the terrain, someone who was way behind the lines, who had no idea what local conditions were. But of course the failure was the fault of the poor sods who faced the cannonfire. Nobody ever blames the doofus who set up a rotten system, and refused to fix it.
Tom T commented
Which TQM principles relate to this?
1. Create constancy of purpose and continual improvement – long term planning must replace short term reaction Of course, government agencies cannot see beyond the end of the FY, so this is out.
5. Improve constantly – to reduce variation in all aspects e.g. planning, production, and service. Of course that's not allowed. Instead of that, we have handbooks written in stone 20 years ago.
6. Training on the job – for workers and management, to reduce variation in how job is done. Training? We don't do much of that, and then only when a law requires it.
7. Leadership not supervision – to get people to do a better job, not just meet targets. Now this would be a major transformation.
8. Eliminate fear – encourage two-way communication, encourage employees to work in the organisation’s interest. This would be beyond revolutionary, in this organization.
9. Break down internal barriers – department’s in an organisation are “internal customers” to each other and must work together. They talk a lot about this.
10. Eliminate slogans (exhortations) – processes make mistakes not people. Management harassment of workers will create bad relations if no effort made to improve processes. This would be beyond revolutionary.
11. Eliminate numerical targets – management by objectives (targets) encourages low quality. It does, but the numbers worshippers in HQ cannot be convinced of this. We have to meet the goal, just like the Soviet factories had to meet the GOSPLAN goals, and the devil take the hindmost. Quality? Never heard of it.
12. Remover barriers to worker satisfaction – including annual appraisals What? Let workers produce quality work? End the quotas of outstandings, actually give bonuses and time off awards to someone other than management? I don't see it happening.
14. Everyone is responsible for continual improvement in quality and productivity – particularly top management Of course they've never acknowledged that before.
Headquarters tells clients things long before they tell field employees. Assuming they bother to tell field employees anything.
I'm often impressed with the knowledge and customer service effort of my state's field office staff. But I like this post and ask: What roles does HUD need the field offices to perform? Grant recipients appreciate having access to state-based staff who are knowledgeable about programs and can provide bullet proof answers quickly. But HUD's portfolio of programs is overwhelming for field staff to keep up with in-depth. Use the 80-20 rule to recruit, train, and policy-empower field staff to provide in-dept support on the biggest dollar programs. Make it easier for grantees to work with regional or headquarters offices charged with carrying out smaller or temporary program initiatives. End users have a very hard time figuring out who in HUD "owns" a program and who to call for those bullet-proof answers. Make it easier for end users to get that information on their own and make it easier for field staff to find it too.
There is a dysfunctional relationship between the Headquarters Office and the Field Offices due to years of poor communication, political changes and upheavals, and poor management. Field Office staff feels they are not supported or rewarded; Headquarters feels that Field Offices have staff persons with limited talent and skills. There is some truth to both statements. However, the outside world sees only one agency; poor service and dysfunction reflects on everyone.