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LEADING THE WAY

 On July 1, 2018, DEQ embarked on a five-year mission to boldly go where no state agency had gone before – putting SERVICE at the forefront of all we do – Satisfying customers, Engaging employees, Reducing costs, adding Value, Improving operations and efficiencies, fostering Creativity and innovation, and exhibiting Excellence. With input from those we regulate and the general public, we took a hard, introspective look at where we can improve and our first strategic plan was born. We call this plan Leading the Way because it is our roadmap for the next five years to lead the way in state government to be a more efficient and customer-friendly agency while continuing our primary responsibility of protecting Oklahoma's environment.

 The input we received from the public, those we regulate, and other state agencies was vitally important in developing Leading the Way and it is important that we provide feedback on our progress. This chart will be updated about every three months so you can follow our efforts to improve. If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions, please AskDEQ.

Goal 1. Place SERVICE at the forefront of agency planning and execution, internal communications, and interactions with citizens, businesses, and our local, state and federal counterparts.

Project

Description

Planned Completion Date

Status

Progress Notes

1.1 – Complete optimization of agency programs

DEQ will undertake a thorough evaluation of most agency programs to identify areas of inefficiency so that costs can be reduced and customer service improved.

6/30/2024

In progress

DEQ programs have been identified and evaluation criteria developed. Two programs were selected as pilot projects. One is nearly complete and the other should begin early April. Anticipate beginning review of other programs 7/1/2019.

1.2 – Release new FOCUS Document

FOCUS is the agency's annual work plan outlining tasks to be undertaken to fulfill the agency's mission and meet EPA grant obligations. This Project is to align FOCUS with Leading the Way.

7/1/2019

In progress

Workgroup of FOCUS authors from each division was established. Held series of meetings to develop a new FOCUS format, which includes Leading the Way projects. Format has been approved. Divisions working with EPA counterparts to ensure all EPA requirements are included. Final FOCUS will be released on or about 7/1/2019.

1.3 – In conjunction with the Oklahoma Department of Commerce, and subject to available funding, complete economic impacts of agency programs.

In June 2016, the Oklahoma Department of Commerce released its report on the positive economic impacts resulting from 44 DEQ-led Brownfields projects across Oklahoma. This project is to expand on the Brownfield effort to look at the positive impacts of other DEQ programs.

6/30/2020

Paused

Each DEQ Division has identified two programs to undergo analysis.

AQD – Permitting and Monitoring

ECLS – Complaints and total retention lagoons

LPD – Armory cleanup and industrial radiography certification

SELS – PWS customer assistance and private water

WQD – Water loss audits and DWSRF funding

1.4 – Develop a DEQ SERVICE Standard to improve responsiveness to internal and external customers and establish a process to continually evaluate customer service.

One of the main goals of Leading the Way is to improve customer service. This project is to develop a DEQ standard of excellence in customer service.

4/30/2019

In progress

Customer Service Workgroup (CSW) of DEQ has created a set of customer service standards and is developing a year-long campaign to introduce those standards to the agency. Theme is "PEAK Performance" – Professionalism, Efficiency, Atmosphere, Knowledge. Obtain Deputy Executive Director approval.

1.5 – Implement at least two (2) projects to improve employee engagement in agency operations.

DEQ employees have a wealth of knowledge and can offer great suggestions for improving operations. The agency has never had a formal mechanism to tap into that knowledge and receive great ideas to make DEQ even better.

By June 30th of each year

In progress

Workgroup of Division representatives has been assembled to work on this project. Workgroup is developing ideas to meet the objectives of this project.

1.6 – From the customer outreach efforts requested in the LTW surveys, complete at least two per year.

In the surveys conducted during the development of Leading the Way, DEQ customers identified many types of outreach they would like to receive from DEQ. This project is to bring many of those to fruition.

6/30/2020

In progress

Using LTW survey responses as a guide, each CSW member will work with their Divisions to identify projects to fulfill outreach requests and schedule. Complete at least 2 projects for the agency each FY beginning FY 2020.

1.7 – From the general public outreach efforts requested in the LTW surveys, complete at least two per year.

In the surveys conducted during the development of Leading the Way, the general public identified many types of outreach they would like to receive from DEQ. This project is to bring many of those to fruition.

6/30/2020

In progress

Using LTW survey responses as a guide, each CSW member will work with their Divisions to identify projects to fulfill outreach requests and schedule. Complete at least 2 projects for the agency each FY beginning FY 2020.

1.8 – Continuously review LTW progress.

Reviewing Leading the Way progress with agency leadership is important to ensure projects stay on track.

Quarterly

In progress

Meetings with Directors and Assistant Directors are being held quarterly.

 

Goal 2. Establish efficient and transparent permitting processes to produce timely, cost-effective, and enforceable permits.

Project

Description

Planned Completion Date

Status

Progress Notes

2.1 – Reduce agency average time to issue permits, licenses and other authorizations by 25%.

A chief complaint received from our customers is the length of time it can take to obtain permits or other authorizations. This project is to evaluate and streamline processes to achieve an Agency-average 25% reduction in the length of time to obtain permits.

6/30/2024

In progress

Workgroup of Division Chief Engineers established. Reviewing current timelines for issuing permits. Next steps are to develop a strategy for achieving the objective, obtaining approval to implement, then monitoring to ensure progress toward the goal of 25% reduction.

 

Goal 3. Maintain a responsive, equitable and timely environmental complaints process and emergency response system.

Project

Description

Planned Completion Date

Status

Progress Notes

3.1 – Resolve 100% of complaints within 90 days of receipt by DEQ.

Maintain the DEQ goal of resolving all complaints within 90 days of receipt by DEQ.

Ongoing activity

In progress

ECLS continuously monitors the age of DEQ complaints. So far in FY 2019, all complaints have been resolved within 90 days or an approved extension period.

3.2 – Review current complaint resolution standard (100% in 90 days) to see if it should be revised.

The complaint resolution standard of 90 days has been in place since DEQ was formed. This is to review whether or not the standard should be revised.

6/30/2019

Completed

A workgroup of Division complaint coordinators was established. Workgroup recommended retaining the 90-day goal to resolve complaints. Approved by the Deputy Executive Director.

3.3 – Ensure EMS is updated by all staff assigned a complaint.

EMS is DEQ's system for inputting complaints and tracking progress toward resolution. This Project maintains DEQ's goal to update EMS every two weeks to ensure complaints are progressing toward resolution.

Every 2 weeks

In progress

Ongoing activity.

3.4 – Ensure consistency within the EMS complaint process.

ECLS will perform annual training of complaint coordinators to ensure information is entered into EMS in a timely and consistent manner and review/update DEQ’s complaint procedure as needed.

Annually

In progress

Training for FY 2019 completed in October 2018. Revisions to complaints procedure undergoing internal review. Planned completion date is 4/30/2019.

3.5 – Update DEQ Emergency Response Plan & Procedure.

DEQ maintains an Emergency Response Plan (ERP) describing how the agency will deal with natural disasters and other environmental emergencies. It should be reviewed periodically and updated as needed.

12/31/2019

In progress

ECLS established a committee to review the ERP and suggest revisions. Currently working on those revisions to then be sent for internal review.

3.6 – Ensure multi-divisional communication during Emergency Response events

DEQ maintains a standing Multi-Division Incident Response (MDIR) Team to ensure communications between Divisions during emergencies.

Bi-weekly

In progress

MDIR meets every two weeks.

 

Goal 4. Ensure agency rules and compliance monitoring/enforcement processes are transparent, easy to understand, and fairly administered.

Project

Description

Planned Completion Date

Status

Progress Notes

4.1 – Improve consistency of rule interpretations.

One of the chief concerns of the regulated community identified in the LTW surveys is lack of consistency in regulatory interpretation. This project is to address this concern.

12/31/2020

In progress

Legal has established working groups to review rules.

 

AQD & ECLS have met about the open burning rules and found where revisions are necessary. They are working together to develop revisions and anticipate they will go to EQB September 2019.

 

WQD & LPD have identified several areas where the Chapter 690 rules need revisions. They are beginning work on those revisions.

4.2 – Complete a targeted review of DEQ statutes and rules

DEQ recognizes that some of our statutory & regulatory requirements put in place years ago may not be adequate for today's environmental issues. This project is to review current regulatory and statutory requirements, with the input of those we regulate, and identify where improvements can be made.

 

Additionally, this project is to review agency rules that incorporate rules from other programs to ensure the cross-referenced rules are still applicable.

6/30/2024

In progress

Evaluation criteria for Program Optimization Project (LTW Project 1.1) includes a review of statutory/regulatory changes needed to improve programs. As these are identified, they will be listed here. Additionally, WQD has formed a group of stakeholders to review and make recommendations to Chapter 710 and Operator Certification program.

4.3 – Complete statutory/rule changes identified

Once statutory and rule changes are identified, they will need to go through their respective processes to become final. We hope to have all suggested changes in effect by the end of this strategic plan.

6/30/2024

Removed

Removed as a separate objective as it is implied in 4.2 that once rule/statutory changes are identified, we would work toward putting those in place.

4.4 – Develop plan to enhance compliance with regulatory requirements through means other than enforcement.

Many times, lack of compliance is a result of a business owner not knowing the regulatory requirements or understanding them. This project is for each Division with regulatory responsibilities to develop plans for improving compliance rates without resorting to enforcement as a first response.

6/30/2024

In progress

Each Division with regulatory responsibilities established a workgroup for this Project. Workgroups identified areas where compliance can be improved and ways to provide outreach to affected industries. Deputy Executive Director has approved all Division plans. Divisions will now implement their plans over the course of LTW.

 

Focus areas by Division:

AQD – chromium electroplaters

LPD – new hazardous waste generator rules and common violations for both hazardous waste generators and at landfills

SELS – new laboratory accreditation rules with additional incentives for compliance

WQD – disinfection byproducts rule

4.5 – Complete a cross-divisional rule integrity evaluation

Many agency rules incorporate rules from other DEQ programs. This project will evaluate these areas to make sure the incorporated rules are still applicable.

 

Removed

This project has been incorporated into 4.2

 

Goal 5. Use technology to improve agency transparency, customer compliance with environmental laws, and information dissemination.

Project

Description

Planned Completion Date

Status

Progress Notes

5.1 – Complete deployment of new DEQ web site.

One of the chief concerns expressed in the LTW surveys is the poor quality of DEQ's website. DEQ has been working with a vendor to modernize and improve our website.

8/1/2019

In progress

Divisions are migrating content from the old website to the new. Anticipated go-live date is 8/1/2019.

5.2 – Implement new or improved online services.

Respondents for the Leading the Way surveys identified a number of online services they would like to see DEQ improve or develop. This project is to address those suggestions

Ongoing

In progress

A list of all current online services DEQ offers has been developed, as well as a list of services requested from the surveys. Requested services undergoing needs assessment.

5.3 – Implement ePermitting for all DEQ licenses and permits.

Many respondents to the Leading the Way surveys requested DEQ have more permit application processes online. This project is to address those requests.

6/30/2024

Planned

Work on this project will begin once the permit timeline Project 2.1 is further along.

5.4 – Make DEQ records available online.

Many respondents to the Leading the Way surveys requested more online access to DEQ records. This project is to develop online access for DEQ records that are not confidential or should be excluded from online access for other valid reasons.

6/30/2024

In progress

DEQ is modernizing records management by working with a vendor to deploy an enterprise level solution called OnBase. This solution will maintain existing functionality and support future enhancements that better provide document access to our customers. Completion of the initial migration is estimated to be 12/31/2019 with enhancements to follow.