Office of Policy, Program Development and Evaluation
Meat and Poultry Advisory Committee Staff
National Advisory Committee on Meat and Poultry Inspection
November 14 - 15, 2001
Briefing Paper: Evaluation of Directives by Program Evaluation and Improvement Staff
The purpose of this briefing is to provide the Committee with information on a major initiative of the Program Evaluation and Improvement Staff (PEIS) to assess the clarity and usefulness of FSIS directives and the timeliness of their distribution.
Directives are the Agency’s instructions to field inspection staff explaining policy and procedures.
Along with efforts to write Directives in a simple, direct format, came a request to evaluate these efforts in fiscal year 2000.
PEIS developed a process for seeking feedback about directives on a recurring basis. Staff members collect information on a new directive by telephone or an e-mail survey from small samples of randomly selected field personnel whose work relates to a particular directive.
To obtain an agreement to survey bargaining unit members, PEIS discussed the proposed recurring collection of feedback with the inspectors’ union. This agreement with the union included a standard survey process and format eliminating the need to seek union agreement for each review of a new directive.
PEIS recommendations addressed the clarity and format of the content of directives, along with any distribution issues.
The recommendations in the PEIS reports have been used to revise directives, issue questions and answers on this initiative, hold meetings to clarify the content of directives, and alter distribution methods. These recommendations were shared with the OPPDE staff, OFO staff, FSIS district offices, and state programs.
Among the directives evaluated so far include those about the following topics: exports, Listeria reassessment, sanitation, and microbial sampling of ready-to-eat products.
Field employees have been pleased to provide feedback and appreciate management’s interest in their comments about the directives.
A brief discussion of the findings and follow-up activities related to the evaluations on exports and on ready-to-eat products completes this briefing.
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