The United States Government Printing Office (“GPO”) was established in 1861. The primary duty of the GPO is to keep United States citizens informed about the activities of the three branches of Government. The three branches of the federal Government are: the Legislature, Executive and Judiciary. The GPO publishes, circulates, sells, and preserves the federal Government’s information.
The GPO is headed by an official designated as the “the Public Printer.” The Public Printer is appointed by the President of the United States with the advice and consent of the Senate. The Public Printer must be versed in the art of bookkeeping and binding and is responsible for managing the business and activities of the GPO. The Public Printer is assisted by a team of four officers, namely a Chief of Staff, Acting Superintendent of Officers, Deputy Public Printer, and Chief Management Officer.
The GPO mission is “to keep Americans informed.” The three main objectives of the GPO are:
- To provide the three branches of the Government with accurate and expert printing and publishing services.
- To provide in conjunction with the Federal Depository libraries, free access to the publications relating to the federal Government to the general public.
- To sell the copies of publications relating to the federal Government to the general public.
GPO work process is as follows: Collecting, Cataloging, Producing, Disseminating and Preserving information. All federal Government information is collected directly by the GPO. Once the information is collected, it is categorized and indexed and all nonconfidential information is published to the general public. These documents are made accessible to the public, though public libraries, internet portals and information sales programs. Apart from printing and publishing, the GPO also preserves and archives the publications.
The GPO is constantly working to improve their working process so that it can deliver information to the public in the most efficient and environmentally sustainable method. Some of the GPO key initiatives are: GPO’s Federal Digital System (FDsys), GPO ExpressSM Program, Sustainable Environmental Stewardship, Process Improvement Methodology, and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 Certification.
The GPO’s Federal Digital System aims at developing a single digital system for managing and publishing the federal Government information. The FDsys is intended to be the very base of the GPO’s operation and will contain all the available documents relating to the federal Government.
GPO ExpressSM Program aims to provide services to federal customers with printing and related services. The federal customers can order services from any FedEx Office throughout America, and any where in the world where the print center is present.
The Sustainable Environmental Stewardship initiative is propagated by the GPO with the plan to preserve the environment. Under this initiative, there are several sub initiatives such as paper consumption, petroleum products utilization, energy expenditures, and emissions. An Officer is appointed to constantly work on developing new ideas under this initiative. Recycling, reducing energy consumption, reducing GPO’s carbon footprint, and providing Federal customers with environmental printing alternative are some of the programs developed by the Officer.
Process Improving Methodology is an initiative designed to improve the GPO’s efficiency and effectiveness. To make its work process more effective the GPO adopts new methods, and redesigns its process to become cost effective, and quicker in running its day to day activities and in achieving its goals.
Through the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 9001 Certification initiative the GPO strives to get ISO 9001 certification. This certification will help in standardizing the GPO’s work process, improving the work process efficiency, reducing wastage of energy and developing higher quality products.