State and Local Governments' Views on Technical Assistance

GGD-78-58: Published: Jul 12, 1978. Publicly Released: Jul 12, 1978.

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Federal agencies use technical assistance to help State and local governments properly manage the vast sums of money they receive through Federal aid programs. Technical assistance includes introducing new materials and techniques, offering innovative approaches to management, and demonstrating ways to improve services to citizens.

Responses to a questionnaire sent to State and randomly selected local officials indicated that those who received relatively large amounts of Federal technical assistance saw a need for more assistance, although an overwhelming majority neither received nor felt they needed much technical assistance from the Federal level. The Federal Government must overcome several impediments if it is to become a more effective partner in helping to meet the technical assistance needs of the State and local sectors. One of the key concerns of State and local officials is a reluctance to become involved with the Federal level because of complexities and regulatory problems associated with Federal assistance. The questionnaire responses indicated that few States and localities actively seek technical assistance or take advantage of the many available sources of technical assistance, relying instead on their own staffs. Despite numerous complaints about the difficulties encountered in applying for and receiving Federal assistance, a slight majority of the respondents believed that the assistance they received from the Federal level adequately met their needs. Better information on available Federal assistance surfaced as one of the major needs of State and local governments. (Author/SC)

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