At the NACD meeting this month, Chief Knight unveiled TechReg, the new Technical Service Provider Registry, calling it "an outstanding example of how government can serve the public more effectively through electronic means." TechReg is an Internet application that makes it easy for technical service providers (TSPs) to register and become certified, and for USDA Customers to find certified providers.
On March 1, 2003, TechReg will go on-line and be available from http://techreg.usda.gov. The application provides a TSP locator, information about certification categories and criteria, on-line certification, and TSP progress reporting. NRCS employees can enter TechReg using their CAMS (WebTCAS) login and password.
At the request of the TechReg national sponsor, this message provides information on the implementation of TechReg, including:
This message also responds to questions and suggestions arising from the TechReg roll-out teleconferences this week and the recent national leadership meeting.
The TechReg site provides a "Roadmap for Becoming a TSP." The expected impact on NRCS employees in support of TechReg in the coming weeks is to help TSP candidates obtain a USDA account. Before prospective TSPs can initiate the certification process, they must obtain a USDA account login and password. About 3,000 USDA customers already have accounts. However, we anticipate most prospective TSPs lack a USDA account and will require assistance from NRCS employees in obtaining one.
Through agreements with certifying organizations, the TechReg database already contains over 15,000 prospective TSPs, of which almost 6,000 are in SCIMS. Using TechReg, those interested must complete the on-line certification agreement. To do so they need a USDA account.
Two sources of information are useful in helping TSP candidates obtain a USDA login and password. The first is on the Service Center Agencies On-Line Services site:
This link summarizes the process for filling out and submitting an AD-2016, USDA Registration Form to Request Electronic Access Code.
The second source of guidance is a Powerpoint presentation (a large 7 MB file) that can be downloaded from:
This presentation describes the step-by-step process using WebReg to set up USDA accounts. The WebReg URL is https://webreg.sc.egov.usda.gov/webreg/. TSP name and address information will be stored in the SCIMS, and if the TSP does not have a SCIMS customer record, they must be entered into the system before the WebReg process can be completed. The presentation covers how to use SCIMS to do this.
Some offices have received paper applications that originated from an early TechReg demo site. At this time, NRCS is only accepting electronic applications through the TechReg on-line application function. The paper applications should be returned to the prospective TSP, who should be referred to the on-line process.
The "Technical Service Provider Assistance Draft Policy" and operations manual should be distributed to regions and states by the end of this week.
There have been several questions in the TechReg teleconferences concerning NRCS field participation in the TSP initiative. Initially the primary role will be to assist TSPs in obtaining their USDA account. In the longer term, NRCS field conservationists can expect to (1) serve as the agency point of contact regarding technical services provided at the local level by TSPs, (2) maintain a case file copy of technical service documents submitted by TSPs, (3) receive the TSP's signed certification that technical services provided meet NRCS standards, and (4) provide NRCS certification for the approval of program payments. Details will be spelled out in the TSP Draft Policy and operations manual.
Questions regarding the use of TechReg should be directed to the TSP Coordinator in your state. A list of state TSP Coordinators will be available from the TechReg site. We recommend consulting the TechReg site often for new developments and answers to frequently asked questions.
Jack R. Carlson