System of Record Notices

Department Of Health and Human Services
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Privacy Act of 1974: Privacy Act System of Records Notices

July 2012

Below are the active SAMHSA Privacy Act System of Records Notices (SORNs), as published in the Federal Register.  Click on a bulleted link to view details of specific SORNs.

The Privacy Act of 1974, defines the term "system of records" as a group of any records under the control of any agency from which information is retrieved by the name of the individual or by some identifying number, symbol, or other identifying particular assigned. The Privacy Act requires Federal agencies to notify the public of systems of records by publishing SORNs to the Federal Register.

There are three types of System Notices that can be cited to cover record systems: Internal, Government and Central. 

Internal Notices: 

    1. Owned by each federal agency to cover their internal records (e.g., HHS, NIH and other OPDIVs);
    2. Often referred to as “umbrella” system notices;
    3. National Institutes of Health SORNs begin with 09-25-xxxx; and
    4. Department of Health & Human Services SORNs begin 09-90-xxxx.

Government Notices:

    1. All federal agencies may use these notices to cover government-wide record systems (e.g., OPM, OGE, EEOC, FEMA, GSA, etc.);
    2. The physical records contained within the record system belong to the respective federal agency;  
    3. OPM still retains some authority over the records,  e.g., during an appeal process; and
    4. Notices begin with GOVT-1, 2, etc.

Central Notices:  

    1. Owned by OPM who maintains full responsibility for the central record systems (e.g., Personnel Investigations Records);
    2. Federal agencies are permitted to maintain copies; and
    3. Notices begin with CENTRAL-1, 2, etc.

SAMHSA's Sytem of Record Notices:

Last updated: 07/02/2012

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