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HHS IRM Policy for Comments from and Responses to Operating Divisions on Newly Developed Policies and CIO Council and ITIRB Clearance Documents

February 14, 2003

HHS-IRM-2003-0001

Table of Contents

  1. Purpose
  2. Background
  3. Scope
  4. Policy
    1. 4.1  HHS Policies
    2. 4.2  CIO Council and ITIRB Clearance Documents
  5. Roles and Responsibilities
    1. 5.1  The HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO)
    2. 5.2  The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Resources Management (DASIRM)
  6. Information and Assistance
  7. Effective Date/Implementation
  8. Approved

1.  Purpose

This document establishes a fifteen calendar-day comment period for Operating Divisions (OPDIVs) and StaffDivs when new policies are developed or revised, and a ten calendar-day comment period for OPDIVs and StaffDivs when CIO Council or Information Technology Investment Review Board (ITIRB) Documents are developed or revised. The comment period begins from the date of e-mail distribution for Policies and from the date of assignment for CIO Council or ITIRB materials.

2.  Background

The June 7, 1990 IRM Circular # 1, entitled "Announcement of the IRM Circular Series," was developed to set forth the objectives of the HHS IRM circular series, and responsibilities of the development, issuance, and maintenance of policy circulars. Because the set of policy circulars is clearly out of date, new procedures must be established.

3.  Scope

This policy applies to all OPDIVs and StaffDivs.

4.  Policy

4.1. HHS Policies

HHS policies will normally be limited to one subject. New policies supersede any previously published policy on the same subject and each new policy will state the date and title of the policy that it supersedes.

The OPDIVs and/or StaffDivs shall be invited to provide comments on draft policies after Office of Information Resources Management (OIRM) Desk Officers, managers and Deputy Assistant Secretaries (DAS) reviews are completed.

The OPDIVs and/or StaffDivs shall also be asked to comment on revised HHS policies. The need for revisions may occur due to the passage of new legislation, a change in internal policy, for updating of policies, or for any other necessary revisions to policy.

The HHS CIO or the Director of IT Policy will issue all HHS draft policies for comment.

The OPDIVs and/or StaffDivs will have fifteen calendar-days to provide comments from the date of distribution. Extensions of time to respond will be considered and should be requested in writing by the fifteen calendar-day due date. If there are no comments received and no extension requests, then it will be presumed that the OPDIV and/or StaffDiv has no comments.

OIRM will respond to the OPDIV and/or StaffDiv comments within thirty-calendar days from the receipt of the last OPDIV or StaffDiv comment. A spreadsheet matrix of each OPDIV's and/or StaffDiv's comments and OIRM's determination (accepted as presented, accepted but modified, or not accepted and why) will be provided to each OPDIV and/or StaffDiv.

If policy matters cannot be resolved with the OPDIVs and/or StaffDivs, the proposed draft policy or policies will be sent first to the HHS Director of IT Policy and then to the CIO for resolution, as needed. The CIO may convene the CIO Council to expedite the resolution of policy issues.

There may be instances where the HHS CIO deems it necessary to use sole discretion in determining portions of the policy or the need for the policy. The OPDIVs and/or StaffDiv's will always be informed and involved in the development of the policies, but may not always have their comments totally incorporated. The Department will commit to discussing and documenting which comments are incorporated and which are not, and to the extent possible, why, if not. Example: an Agency comment may be: "reorder the paragraphs" or "use italics instead of bolding." The Department may not incorporate such changes.

4.2. CIO Council and ITIRB Clearance Documents

A ten calendar-day comment period will apply to CIO Council and ITIRB Clearance Documents such as Statements of Work (SOWs), Memoranda, Program Charters, etc. This comment period is shorter than the one established for Policies since the urgency for decision of the council or the board may be driven by more time-sensitive materials (contract termination or award, project schedule, project funding or correction, etc.). The same type of OPDIV and/or StaffDiv comment matrix will be used to capture comments and OIRM's determination (accepted as presented, accepted but modified, or not accepted and why) will be provided to each OPDIV and/or StaffDiv.

5.  Roles and Responsibilities

5.1. The HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO)

The CIO is responsible for providing advice and assistance to the Secretary and other senior management personnel. The HHS CIO is responsible for policy content approval and final issuance of policies. As the chair of both the CIO Council and the ITIRB, the CIO is responsible for issuance of the CIO Council and ITIRB documentation, such as SOWs, memoranda and/or Program Charters, etc. If OIRM is unable to resolve a non-concurrence on a policy, SOW, memorandum or Program Charter, etc., issue or issues, through the Director of IT Policy then, the HHS CIO will make a final determination. The CIO may also convene the CIO Council to facilitate resolution.

In rare cases, such as the need for an emergency policy, the HHS CIO may immediately issue a policy, without prior OPDIV/StaffDiv comment. The HHS CIO will use this method on an exception basis when:

    • The HHS CIO deems it necessary to use sole discretion in determining the policy.
    • An urgent need exists for immediate notification of a new policy.

Even in these rare situations, OPDIVs always have the opportunity and responsibility to suggest and request changes. An emergency policy is not an interim policy for it must carry the full weight of the CIO and is enforceable and is not to be confused with a procedure.

5.2. The Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Resources Management (DASIRM)

The DASIRM shall be responsible for overseeing policy, SOW and/or Program Charter, etc. development and for making recommendations to the Secretary, the Assistant Secretaries for Budget, Technology and Finance as well as Administration and Management, the CIO Council and the ITIRB regarding policy issues.

6.  Information and Assistance

Finalized, signed IT Policies will be put under version control by the Director of IT Policy and sent to each OPDIV and StaffDiv via email for distribution within their organizations. The IT Policies will also be published on the Internet at: www.hhs.gov/read/irmpolicy. Please direct questions, comments, suggestions or requests for further information to the HHS Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Resources Management, (202) 690-6162.

7.  Effective Date/Implementation

The effective date of this policy is the date the policy is approved.

8.  Approved

____/s/____________________               __Feb 14, 2003________


Kerry Weems, Acting                                     DATE

Assistant Secretary for Budget, Technology and Finance