WSQA 2007 Award Winners
2008 Press Release
WSQA Award Recipients
Governor Gregoire's Office will be presenting performance excellence awards to the Washington State Quality Award recipients
at the 2008 Performance Excellence Symposium on May 14, 2008, at the Greater Tacoma Trade and Convention Center. Using
the nationally recognized Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence, the Washington State Quality Award is
recognizing seven organizations for their accomplishments in performance excellence. These recipients are: Lynden School
District Number 504, Region 4 Customer Service Center Division of Employment and Assistance Programs, ESA, DSHS,
Washington State Department of Revenue, Office of Administrative Hearings, Kent Public Works Operations, the City of
Bellevue and Highline Community Medical Center.
Commitment Level Award
Lynden School District Number 504
Lynden's planning system includes opportunities for participation from community, parents, faculty, staff, and senior leaders. The
Strategic Plan is deployed through each building's Learning Improvement Team which includes a parent, teacher, and
community representative in addition to a building administrator. The faculty utilizes formative and summative assessments to
develop action plans for individual students.
Lynden’s overall student learning results (as measured by percent meeting standard on the WASL) are better than state and
ESD average results in almost all grades and years. Sustained improvement trends are evident for many areas.
Region 4 Customer Service Center Division of Employment and Assistance Programs, ESA, DSHS
The Region 4 Customer Service Center (CSC) effectively illustrates customer-driven excellence to ensure successful
achievement of vision, mission, and values. For example, the CSC includes key community partners, advocacy groups, and
customers as part of its strategic planning process to ensure missing elements are addressed and incorporated into the process,
which directly affect customer desires and requirements. Also, the CSC has established Quality Teams with each team
representing a key area for the organization- modeling the Baldrige Criteria. Quality Teams are a foundation for the CSC's focus
for creating value for customers. Furthermore, feedback from customers and partners is constantly used to determine
requirements and implement improvements to processes.
The CSC clearly demonstrates valuing the people in its workforce through a holistic approach for workforce engagement, which
allows for self-directed employees with a commitment to high-performance work. The CSC provides positive performance levels
in several key results areas with many figures displaying significantly better performance compared to statewide averages. For
example, the Percentage of Documents Completed within 10 Days and within 30 days and improving high levels of caseload
Achievement Level Award
Washington State Department of Revenue
For nearly 20 years, The Department of Revenue (DOR) has used strategic planning to review and improve its operations. DOR
designs and revises its work processes using a number of proven approaches, including Government, Management, and
Accountability (GMAP) sessions, management performance contracts, divisional reviews, special studies, budget discussions,
and quality teams. The DOR places a heavy emphasis on increasing accuracy and efficiency while making it easier for
businesses to file and pay taxes through electronic filing, which has significantly reduced paperwork and tax return errors.
Meanwhile, DOR is making more information available to taxpayers over the Internet which has helped businesses better
understand their tax obligations. Overall, this has increased the already high voluntary compliance rate of registered businesses.
DOR uses other strategies to promote compliance such as data mining and analysis to refine audit, tax discovery, and other
enforcement efforts. These improvements have allowed DOR to maintain staff levels while the number of registered businesses
has more than doubled over the last 15 years. These trends align with DOR’s vision of a tax system that “achieves the highest
level of voluntary compliance” and its mission “to fairly and efficiently collect revenues and administer programs to fund public
services and advocate sound tax policy.” The DOR plans to continue using the WSQA process to further improve its processes
and provide better and more cost-effective services to the public.
Office of Administrative Hearings
During the strategic planning process, OAH develops action plans that are linked to objectives and overall goals. The objectives,
action plans, and key measures are aligned with OAH’s mission and stated in performance expectation (Performance
Development Plan) for staff providing direct service to client agencies. The goals, objectives, and action plans are distributed
widely to customer agencies, leadership, and front line staff and deployed to all offices and caseloads for a consistent strategy
development and deployment approach.
OAH creates and sustains positive customer relationships through an interactive communication process which includes
frequent meetings between the client representatives and the OAH’s senior leadership. The customer relationship is further
WSQA 2007 Award Winners
strengthened by deploying other communication channel methods, by delivering high quality hearing services, and through
continuing to provide differentiation through a “human face” to help those in need, instead of an automated telephone approach
deployed by many other client agencies. This human interface approach also facilitates the organization’s “first in touch” process
to help end-users navigate the myriad of services provided by government and reach a solution. OAH demonstrates overall
positive trends in product and service outcomes for quality and timeliness. Identified as paramount to OAH’s service provision to
customers, all show favorable results over the last three years and align with the OAH’s vision to become the premier central
Kent Public Works Operations
Kent Public Works Operation (PWO) has evaluated and improved its approach by learning from the business sector and
implementing best practices, including PBWPB adopted in 1999, the Baldrige-based Washington State Quality Award
application and feedback starting in 2003, and incorporating the Balanced Scorecard and strategy mapping approach in 2007.
This organization uses a seven step process of Performance Based Work Plan Budgeting process, Performance Reviews and
Employee Communication Meetings, and quarterly meetings to review performance against plan, identify Opportunities for
Improvement (OFIs), and modify action plans.
PWO also uses a personnel management approach called the Performance and Goal Evaluation system (Page) and employees
are empowered to create pilot projects to test innovative ways to accomplish more work efficiently. PWO’s overall budget
performance has been consistent for the past six years.
City of Bellevue
The City of Bellevue’s strong strategic planning process is evident. The Community Vision process is conducted every seven
years and serves as a forum for developing the vision, mission, and core values, which feed into the strategic planning process.
This process is integrated into the budget development process. Additionally, performance data is tied to the biennial budget
and strategic planning process and departments regularly monitor comparative data from benchmark organizations.
The city has a newly formed environmental stewardship strategic initiative including emissions monitoring. Additionally, voluntary
accreditation is being achieved by certain city functions. Bellevue uses both monitoring and accreditation processes to help
identify and address adverse impacts on society. Both approaches are linked to the vision of being a “collaborative and
innovative organization that is future-focused”. The city's consolidation of permitting functions into Development Services may
be a potential best practice, supporting its “exceptional public service” core value. The city has outstanding customer satisfaction
results, above 95%, and nearly meets or exceeds comparative cities for street cleanliness. The City of Bellevue's One City
initiative is leading the performance excellence effort. The organization contracts for waste management and recognizes that the
community's core values include commitment to the environment and support of recycling efforts. In 2006, 66% of all waste,
including yard debris, was recycled, and the recycling rate shows a favorable trend, increasing from 55% in 2002 to 66% in 2006
(Figure 7.1-9, Single Family Residential Recycling Rate).
Highline Medical Center
Highline builds customer relationships primarily through adherence to the Planetree philosophy of patient-centered care. In order
to build relationships with medical staff, vendors, staff, and other customer groups and celebrate its 14 year commitment to
Planetree, Highline implemented “Every Patient is My Patient” (in the fall of 2007). This philosophical outlook is a primary
listening method and extends to staff interaction with all customers, customer groups, and stakeholders. Highline uses the input
at the department-level for work system and work process improvements. Leadership, through the Strategic Planning process,
identifies opportunities for improving patient and other customer satisfaction, as well as developing new programs and services.
Highline's commitment to building relationships is integral to its mission of working together to promote excellence and achieving
the level of a Planetree-designated mentor hospital. Highline uses well-defined systems and processes for voice of the customer
information—such as patient satisfaction and community preference—as a part of the organization's strategic, business, and
action planning. Patient preference is considered at the strategic planning level and key processes are periodically reviewed to
ensure they are current and continue to reflect those preferences. Mechanisms for analysis and communication of patient
preferences include surveys, rounding, service recovery, key phrases, discharge phone calls, daily line-ups, communication
boards, and forums. Results of all analyses concerning patient preferences are overseen by the Environment of Care
Committee, Patient Safety Committee, and the Process Improvement Committee. As developing an effective listening system is
vital to a patient-centric approach to services; Highline continues to use the voice of the customer to focus on results, create
value, and achieve its Strategic Pathways.