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HHS Health and Human Services Domain IT Steering Committee Charter

Table of Contents

I.       Purpose

II.      Mission

III.     Authority

IV.     Scope and Responsibilities

V.      Membership and Reporting Structure

VI.     Administration

A.      Meetings

B.      Voting

C.      Administration

D.      Records Management

VII.    Approval

Appendix 1 – HHSD ITSC Governance Structure


I.      Purpose

The HHS Health and Human Services Domain IT Steering Committee (HHSD ITSC) provides a formal approval body for making IT policy, strategy, and investment decisions for the Health and Human Services  Domain (HHSD).  The HHSD includes IT investments that support access to care, quality health care, disease prevention, health promotion, reduction of health disparities, health administration, and federal programs that promote the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities.


This charter establishes the HHSD ITSC as the primary body responsible for approving HHSD IT strategy and governance for the HHSDIT investment (i.e., programs, projects, systems and assets) portfolio. This document outlines the mission, authority, scope and responsibilities of the HHSD ITSC, identifies membership and support structure, and defines key governance processes and administrative procedures.  The HHSD ITSC will replace the HHS Information Technology Investment Review Board (ITIRB) as the review and approval body for all IT investments that support the HHSD business areas and execute all associated functions. All non-HHSD IT investments will continue to be under the purview of the HHS ITIRB.  A HHSD IT Program Management Office (HHSD IT PMO) has been established as an agent of the HHSD ITSC to work with OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs on HHSD IT projects and ensure those projects align with HHSD ITSC mission and strategies.   


II.      Mission

The primary mission of the HHSD ITSC is to ensure realization of optimal value from HHSD IT investments by (a) addressing key HHS-wide IT policy and architecture issues, (b) maximizing smart sharing of knowledge, best practices, assets, and capabilities, and (c) working with OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs on the implementation and execution of an expedited investment management process for HHSD IT investments.  It is understood that the HHSD IT PMO acts as the agent of the HHSD ITSC and that the involvement of the HHSD ITSC in routine approvals and compliance discussions will be the exception rather than the norm. 

III.      Authority

The following laws authorize agencies to establish IT governance processes.  This charter establishes the HHSD ITSC as the authority for the HHSD:

  • Clinger-Cohen Act (CCA) of 1996 (formerly the IT Management Reform Act of 1996 (Division E of Public Law 104–106) and Federal Acquisition Reform Act of 1996 (Division D of Public Law 104–106))
  • E-Government Act of 2002 (Public Law 107-347)
  • Federal Managers Financial Integrity Act of 1982 (Public Law 97-255)
  • Federal Financial Management Improvement Act of 1996 (Public Law 104-208)
  • Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act of 1994 (Public Law 103–355)
  • Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA) of 2002 (Public Law 107-347)

IV.      Scope and Responsibilities

The HHSD ITSC shall serve as the executive steering committee responsible for establishing HHSD IT policy and strategy and overseeing the management of the HHSD IT investment portfolio.  The HHSD ITSC can designate the HHSD IT PMO to act on its behalf to meet these functions. The HHSD ITSC shall:  


  • Discuss and adjudicate key IT strategy and policy issues that affect HHSD activity across HHS
  • Approve the HHSD IT architecture and policies
  • Facilitate sharing of knowledge, best practices, assets, and capabilities across the HHSD, with the support of the HHSD IT PMO
  • Review the HHSD IT investment portfolio on an annual basis in collaboration with the Chief Financial Officer and the Chief Acquisition Officer and guide budget decisions
  • Serve as the HHS IT Investment Review Board for the HHSD
    • Delegate to the HHSD IT PMO responsibilities as defined by the Steering Committee.
    • Work with OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs to oversee a controlled process for maximizing smart sharing and evaluating IT investments.
    • Monitor performance and risks associated with HHSD IT investments.
    • Review (e.g., stage gate, tech stat) IT investments and programs in the HHSD that are of interest or have been referred by the HHSD IT PMO/ other IT governance body at any time, and make decisions to modify, suspend, or terminate IT investments when appropriate.   Note:  Decisions by the HHSD ITSC to suspend or terminate IT investments may be appealed to the HHS Secretary and Deputy Secretary for final decision.

V.     Membership and Reporting Structure

The HHS Chief Information Officer (CIO), the HHS Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and the CMS Principal Deputy Administrator will serve as co-Chairpersons for the HHSD ITSC.  OPDIV/STAFFDIV membership will be comprised of two senior executives from each of the participating OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs; one who understands the HHSD-related business/mission needs of the OPDIV/STAFFDIV and who can make key policy and management judgments on behalf of the respective OPDIV/STAFFDIV and a second who understands the effective use of IT in support of those HHSD-related business/mission needs.

The following OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs are represented in the HHSD and will designate the senior executives described above as members of the HHSD ITSC:

  • Administration for Children and Families (ACF)
  • Administration on Aging (AoA)
  • Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
  • Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)
  • Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
  • Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA)
  • Indian Health Service (IHS)
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  • Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE)
  • Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Additional voting members will include: 

  • Assistant Secretary for Administration
  • Assistant Secretary for Financial Resources
  • HHS Chief Enterprise Architect

OPDIV/STAFFDIV members shall designate a primary and a secondary representative.  Only the designated primary and secondary representative may vote on behalf of their respective organization, and must be in attendance whether physically or “virtually” to be counted for quorum and voting purposes.  A single vote will be counted as the OPDIV/STAFFDIV vote. 

A representative from the Office of the Inspector General designated by the Inspector General shall participate as an ex-officio member.  Representatives from other divisions, including subject matter experts (SMEs) and other advisors, may be invited to attend HHSD ITSC meetings as non-voting members with the concurrence of the HHSD ITSC co-Chairs. 

VI.      Administration

A.   Meetings

The HHSD ITSC shall meet as needed and as advised by the HHSD IT PMO.  Meetings may be in person, by conference call, or other “virtual” meeting tools. Materials shall be distributed to the members prior to the meeting in order for the members to have adequate time to review and consider the material. At times, the members will be requested to review and provide comment/feedback on materials. It will be expected that members will have adequate time to review and that feedback will be considered in revised materials. 

B.   Voting

Each OPDIV/STAFFDIV participant of the HHSD ITSC shall have one vote. Each of the co-chairs and the key voting members identified above will have one vote.  A quorum shall consist of a majority of the voting members. In case of a tie, co-Chairs will make the final decision.

C.   Administration

The HHSD IT PMO will provide administrative support to organize and facilitate HHSD ITSC meetings and assist HHSD ITSC with performing governance responsibilities.  In addition, a collaboration site will be established and maintained in order to coordinate the collection and distribution of materials for reviews and the outcomes of HHSD ITSC meetings.  

D.   Records Management

The HHSD ITSC will:

1. Create adequate and proper records needed to do the business of the council, record decisions and actions taken, and document activities.

2. Maintain official records so that information can be found when needed for Department use, and in response to authorized disclosure requests.

3. Carry out the disposition of council records in accordance with agency records retention schedules approved by the National Archives, and Federal Regulations.”

VII.      Approval



____________________/s/_______________________________       _9/30/2011___

William V. Corr

Deputy Secretary


Appendix 1 -  HHSD ITSC Governance Structure

The HHSD ITSC replaces the HHS ITIRB for IT investments in the HHSD and inherits all associated functions and authority.  HHSD ITSC IT investment decisions supersede all decisions made at lower levels of the governance structure (e.g., OPDIV ITIRB’s).  Decisions by the HHSD ITSC to suspend or terminate IT investments may be appealed to the HHS Secretary and Deputy Secretary for final decision.  The HHS ITIRB will continue to function as it does now for non-HHSD related IT investments until the Scientific and Administrative Domains are stood up in early 2012.


The HHSD IT PMO organizationally reports to the HHS CIO and will serve as the staff office for the HHSD ITSC and as a coordinating body across OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs. The HHSD IT PMO acts as the agent of the HHSD ITSC; the involvement of the HHSD ITSC in routine approvals and compliance discussions will be the exception rather than the norm.  The HHSD IT PMO’s core functions will be as follows: 

  • Identify policy issues and work with the HHSD ITSC to develop appropriate guidance
  • Share HHSD architecture and policy decisions approved by the HHSD ITSC; distribute and support the implementation of these decisions within HHS and across the federal space and partners
  • Serve as members of OPDIV ITIRBs, understanding the major projects being undertaken and engaging with OPDIVs to pursue potential opportunities for cross-OPDIV synergies and to address domain-related issues
  • Working closely with OPDIVs and STAFFDIVs, develop and iterate the architectural plan for the HHSD using a standard methodology to promote:
    • Identifying and reusing common business processes to reduce duplicative HHSD IT investments
    • Identifying and developing common technologies and service standards that support shared services and enterprise-wide solutions
  • Work with OPDIVs, STAFFDIVs, and external stakeholders (e.g., OMB) to remove internal and external barriers (e.g., budget and acquisition policy issues) to implementing shared services
  • Share best practices throughout the HHSD portfolio; function as a connector between OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs through identification of potential opportunities to collaborate (e.g., pooling purchasing power to drive down costs and improve service)
  • Assist with the development of cost sharing models for cross-OPDIV/STAFFDIV shared services as appropriate
  • Provide technical assistance to OPDIVs’ governance bodies and project teams to advance domain objectives in the context of implementing projects
  • Support HHSD ITSC  functions and decision making
  • At the direction of the HHSD ITSC, develop and maintain a proactive, flexible, highly collaborative, and rapid cycle HHSD ITSC governance process that integrates with existing OPDIV IT governance processes
  • Identify and provide additional review to selected HHSD investments based on value/risk considerations, consistent with historical HHS ITIRB function
  • Provide investment oversight, in conjunction with OPDIV governance bodies, through the required governance review processes, including serving as critical partners in gate reviews and identifying issues that require escalation to the HHSD ITSC
  • Conduct IT investment and program reviews on behalf of the HHSD ITSC when requested and make recommendations to the HHSD ITSC.

OPDIVs will continue to coordinate HHSD project governance and investment management functions within their respective organizations and OPDIV-level ITIRBs, and work directly with their IT project teams to ensure performance and overall compliance with the direction of the HHSD ITSC.  The HHSD IT PMO, as the agent of the HHSD ITSC, will be integrated into existing OPDIV governance processes, serve as critical partners in gate reviews for those projects it has identified as appropriate, and has the authority to escalate issues to the HHSD ITSC.

All IT investments/projects are subject to HHS IT policy requirements, including CPIC monthly performance reporting requirements to facilitate HHSD ITSC performance monitoring/oversight and any additional HHSD specific requirements implemented by the HHS OCIO and/or HHSD IT PMO.