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HHS Policy for E-Gov Forms

June 7, 2006


Table of Contents

  • 1. Purpose
  • 2. Background
  • 3. Scope
  • 4. Policy
  • 5. Roles and Responsibilities
  • 6. Applicable Policies and Guidance
  • 7. Information and Assistance
  • 8. Effective Date/Implementation
  • 9. Approved
  • Glossary

  • 1. Purpose

    This document establishes the Policy for the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) E-Gov Forms.  The purpose is to ensure that HHS maintains accurate form content for those HHS forms that are in the E-Gov Forms Catalogue (FORMS.GOV), managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) under the Business Gateway (BG) initiative.  The Business Gateway (BG) initiative is part of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).  The BG will provide the Nation’s businesses with a single, internet-based access point to government services and information to help businesses with their operations.  E-Gov Forms are public-facing electronic forms required to be included in the E-gov catalog. This policy supplements HHS IRM Circular #20, Standard and Optional Forms Management, dated February 25, 1993.  It specifically applies to HHS E-Gov forms that reside on the website: FORMS.GOV and provides references, as appropriate, that govern and influence FORMS.GOV. Requirement to establish, modify or delete E-Gov Forms and the objectives, responsibilities, standards, guidelines and instructions for forms management resides with the HHS Forms Management Officer for promulgation to the OPDIVs/STAFFDIVs. This Policy specifically addresses the roles and responsibilities throughout HHS, including procedures, to mitigate any indiscretions.

    2. Background

    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) established procedures in 2005 to ensure HHS maintains accurate form content in the Forms Catalog (FORMS.GOV), managed by the Small Business Administration (SBA) and the General Services Administration (GSA) under the Business Gateway initiative, as part of the President’s Management Agenda.  These procedures apply to all public-facing forms.  The HHS endeavor has been and will continue to be managed by the HHS Forms Management Officer, who is located within the Program Support Center (PSC) which is a part of the Office of the Secretary (OS) Staff Division (STAFFDIV), Assistant Secretary for Administration and Management (ASAM).  HHS is required to comply with the established rules and regulations addressing the implementation of the E-Gov Forms Catalog for all public-facing forms.  All data elements associated with these forms must be entered correctly into FORMS.GOV as specified by SBA and GSA. Failure to create and/or maintain accurate form content data and adequate web links is not the only concern for HHS.  We also must ensure that our forms content are properly maintained for public use. This policy serves as the foundation and where applicable, more granular Agency-specific policy may supplement but not diminish the intent of this HHS Policy. Further guidance is contained in GSA and National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) bulletins, handbooks and other publications, as well as their websites.

    3. Scope

    This document applies to all Department Operating Divisions, including the Office of the Secretary, and organizations conducting business for and on behalf of the Department, whether owned and operated by HHS, or operated on behalf of HHS.[1]  It applies to all HHS personnel, interns and visitors who have access to HHS supported facilities or HHS information. Within this Policy the term Operating Division (OPDIV) is defined as an entity of Health and Human Services (HHS) that is an independent agency; the term Office of the Secretary Operating Division (OS OPDIV) is defined as including the Inspector General, the Offices of the Regional Directors, STAFFDIVs as well as the immediate Office of the Secretary as a combined, single entity.  This Policy applies to the management of content of all HHS E-Gov Forms that are created, used, filed or retrieved (databases, file cabinets, database management systems, etc.).  It clearly establishes Form Management Officer responsibilities, which include forms creation, quality and Web link management. Agencies/OPDIVs will use this Policy or may create a more restrictive OPDIV policy, but not one that is less restrictive, comprehensive or compliant with GSA, NARA and SBA requirements and HHS Department Policy and Guidelines. Further guidance is contained in GSA and NARA Bulletins, handbooks and other publications, as well as their website(s): and .

    4. Policy

    4.1  Each OPDIV will establish and maintain an active, continuing program for E-Gov Forms that are on the FORMS.GOV website managed by SBA and GSA under the Business Gateway, part of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).  Each OPDIV will:

    4.1.1    Identify an OPDIV Forms Management Officer (FMO) and backup and notify the HHS FMO of the contact information;

    4.1.2    Monitor and maintain its E-Gov Form web site to ensure that there are no oversights, linkage problems, etc.;

    4.1.3    Identify any linkage problems via email to the HHS Forms Management Officer (FMO) and provide the “from” and “to” Web site locations;

    4.1.4    Review their OPDIV web site quarterly for quality and completeness, and;

    4.1.5    Keep the HHS FMO current on any changes to the OPDIVFMO contact information.

    4.2  The OPDIVs will comply with applicable sections of Title 44 of the U.S.C., the regulations published by NARA and GSA, and the supplementary policies and guidance provided by the Department.  Under the Federal Records Act and NARA regulation 36 CFR 1226, a specific retention period for completed forms will be required and the OPDIV should contact its Records Management Officer for authorized retention periods that will apply.

    4.3 The OPDIVs will consider the guidance contained in GSA and NARA handbooks and bulletins when establishing and implementing their forms management programs.  This will preserve record copies of substantive forms developed by their respective organizations.  Copies of completed forms should be retained in accordance with NARA’s General Records Schedule 16, Administrative Management Records, Item 3:  Forms Files.

    4.4  For any proposed changes of OPDIV forms (additions, revisions or deletions) added to or already residing on the OPDIV respective inventories on the Web site FORMS.GOV, send an e-mail notification to the HHS Forms Management Officer. This notification is for tracking purposes only.  The email should include the name, number, etc. of the form and the effective date for the action.   

    4.5  Each OPDIV will ensure that all employees creating forms to enter into the FORMS.GOV web site are adequately trained in the requirements to establish forms, and should be reviewed annually to ensure compliance to the established Forms Management Policies and Records Management Policies regarding the sanctions provided for the unauthorized addition, removal or destruction of Federal forms.

    4.6  OPDIVs will issue any necessary internal directives and/or regulatory supplements establishing policies and procedures for their forms management programs.

    4.7 OPDIVs will institute controls over:

    4.7.1  The creation of E-Gov Forms, to ensure agency functions is adequately and properly documented;

    4.7.2  The maintenance and use of E-Gov Forms, to ensure that integrity, availability, and confidentiality requirements are met;

    4.7.3  The disposition of E-Gov Forms, to ensure that permanent records are preserved and ultimately transferred to the Archives and that temporary records no longer of current use are promptly disposed of or retired in accordance with their disposition schedules.

    4.8  Each OPDIV will report any violations in conformance with 36 CFR Chapter XII, Subchapter G, “Damage to, Alienation, and Unauthorized Destruction of Records”, to the Department head via the HHS Forms Management Officer.

    5. Roles and Responsibilities

    5.1 The Agency Head (Department)

    The Secretary is responsible for ensuring the requirements of PMA are satisfied and the Office of the HHS/CIO establishes a continuing E-Gov Forms management program to align with the President’s Management Agenda (PMA).   

    5.2 The OPDIV Director (or designee)

    The Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) advises the Secretary and the Assistant Secretary Budget, Technology and Finance on matters pertaining to the use of information and related technologies to accomplish Departmental goals and program objectives.  This process can be designated to the OPDIV Director (or designee) for the development and implementation of OPDIV-wide policy for forms management in accordance with this Policy and other Department, SBA, NARA and GSA guidance and requirements. 

    5.3 The Department (HHS) Forms Management Officer

    The Department (HHS) Forms Management Officer (FMO) is responsible for reviewing OPDIV forms web sites for accuracy and currency of the information contained and the interoperability of the OPDIV web site to the E-Gov Forms Catalogue or FORMS.GOV. Specifically the HHS FMO will:

    5.3.1  Test OPDIV forms web sites monthly for linkage problems with and to FORMS.GOV and promptly notify the OPDIV FMO of any problems. A record of this contact shall be created and maintained by the HHS FMO for research and to identify any trends of dysfunction;  

    5.3.2  Conduct a quality review monthly of all OPDIV forms web sites;

    5.3.3  Notify the OPDIV FMO immediately of the quality or linkage problem and request the OPDIV to take corrective action within 2 business days.  Follow-up action may be needed if the problem persists;

    5.3.4   Maintain a current list of the HHS FMO and OPDIV FMOs and their back-ups;

    5.3.5   Establish HHS Forms Management Policy for E-Gov forms that are contained on the web site: FORMS.GOV.

    5.3.6   Coordinate the reporting of any and all violations of forms disposition to the Department’s Chief Information Officer in accordance with the PMA objectives.

    5.4 The OPDIV Forms Management Officers

    The OPDIVs are responsible for establishing the objectives, responsibilities, standards, guidelines and instructions for their OPDIV forms management programs, in accordance with this Policy and other Department, SBA, NARA and GSA E-Gov and FORMS.GOV guidelines and requirements. This includes reporting to the Department Forms Management Officer any and all unauthorized additions, destruction, or modifications of any kind.  The OPDIV Forms Management Officer is responsible for:

    5.4.1  Monitoring its E-Gov Form web site to ensure that there are no oversights, linkage problems, etc., and that the OPDIV has taken into account its needs for the current business as well as the likelihood for potential future forms usage for legal, fiscal and administrative purposes; and adequate documentation via e-mail (including the “from” and the “to” web site locations) to the HHS FMO of any linkage problems supporting the proposed disposition and schedule of the correction/maintained,

    5.4.2  Reviewing their OPDIV E-Gov forms web site weekly to ensure quality and completeness;

    5.4.3   Ensuring that the HHS FMO has the latest list of OPDIV FMO and backup contact information;

    5.4.4   Ensuring that the HHS FMO receives an immediate email to request that additions, revisions or deletions for their respective OPDIV inventory be made.  This request includes the name, number, etc. of the form and the effective date for the action.

    6. Applicable Policies and Guidance

    6.1 Laws

    6.1.1  Federal Property and Administrative Services Act of 1949, as amended (40 U.S.C. 759 § 111).

    6.1.2  Section 207 (f) (2) E-Government Act of 2002 (P.L. 107-347)

    6.1.3  Section 508 Rehabilitation Act (29 U.S.C. 794d)

    6.1.4  Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980, as amended (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35).

    6.1.5  Information Quality Act, Pub. L. No. 106-554, section 515

    6.1.6  5 U.S.C. 552a(e)(1)

    6.1.7  44 U.S.C. 3508

    6.1.8  Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002

    6.2 Regulations

    6.2.1  NARA-"36" CFR Parts 1220-1238

    6.2.2  5 CFR Part 1320

    6.3 OMB Guidance

    6.3.1 OMB Circular No. A-130                      

    7. Information and Assistance

    Direct questions, comments, suggestions or requests for further information to the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information Technology, who serves as the HHS CIO, (202) 690-6162.

    8. Effective Date/Implementation

    The effective date of this policy is the date the policy is approved. These policies and procedures will not be implemented in any recognized bargaining unit until the union has been provided notice of the proposed changes and given an opportunity to fully exercise its representational rights. The HHS policies contained in this issuance shall be exercised in accordance with Public Law 93-638, the Indian Self-Determination and Education Assistance Act, as amended, and the Secretary's policy statement dated August 7, 1997, as amended, titled "Department Policy on Consultation with American Indian/Alaska Native Tribes and Indian Organizations."  It is HHS' policy to consult with Indian people to the greatest practicable extent and to the extent permitted by law before taking actions that affect these governments and people; to assess the impact of the Department's plans, projects, programs and activities on tribal and other available resources; and to remove any procedural impediments to working directly with tribal governments or Indian people.

    9. Approved

      ___________________/s/_______________                                     __June 7, 2006_____
    Charles Havekost HHS Chief Information Officer                                          DATE    


    A set of data, consisting of at least one data file, that is sufficient for a given purpose.
    The action taken regarding temporary forms consisting usually of destruction. 
    electronic Government’ means the use by the Government of web-based Internet applications and other information technologies, combined with processes that implement these technologies, to-- (A) enhance the access to and delivery of Government information and services to the public, other agencies, and other Government entities; or (B) bring about improvements in Government operations that may include effectiveness, efficiency, service quality, or transformation.
    Electronic Mail (Email)
    A way to send messages between computer users, either over a network or the Internet.  E-mail is usually just text, but can be pictures, diagrams, sounds or programs embedded in the text or as attachments.
    Electronic Records
    Any information that is recorded in a form that only a computer can process and that satisfies the definition of a Federal record in 44 U.S.C. 3301.[2] Electronic records include numeric, graphic and text information, which may be recorded on any medium capable of being read by a computer and which satisfies the definition of a record. This includes, but is not limited to, magnetic media, such as tapes and disks, and optical disks.  Unless otherwise noted, these requirements apply to all electronic records systems, whether on microcomputers, minicomputers, or mainframe computers, regardless of storage media, in network or stand-alone configurations. (FIRMR Bulletin B-1).
    Electronic Records System
    Any system that produces, manipulates, or stores Federal records by using a computer.
    Information System
    Is defined by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) in Circular No. A-130   “….the organized collection, processing, transmission and dissemination of information in accordance with defined procedures, whether automated or manual.”
    Office of the Secretary (OS)
    includes the Offices of the Regional Directors.
    Includes the immediate Office of the Secretary, the Regional Directors, the Inspector General and several STAFFDIVS.
    Operating Division (OPDIV)
    An entity of Health and Human Services (HHS) that is an independent agency.
    OS Staff Division(OS)
    Includes the Inspector General, as well as the immediate Office of the Secretary as a combined, single entity. 
    includes all books, papers, maps, photographs, machine readable materials, or other documentary materials, regardless of physical form or characteristics, made or received by an agency of the United States Government under Federal law or in connection with the transaction of public business, and preserved or appropriate for preservation by that agency or its legitimate successor as evidence of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, procedures, operations or other activities of the Government, or because of the information value of the data in them. (44 U.S.C. 3301)
    Records Disposition
    is any activity with respect to: - disposal of temporary records no longer needed for the conduct of business by destruction or donation to an eligible person or organization outside of Federal custody; - transfer of records to Federal agency storage facilities or records centers; - transfer to the national Archives of the United States of records determined to have sufficient historical or other value to warrant continued preservation; or - transfer of records from one Federal agency to any other Federal agency. (44 U.S.C. 2901 [5]).
    Records Management
    the planning, controlling, directing, organizing, training, promoting, and other managerial activities involved with respect to records creation, records maintenance and use, and records disposition in order to achieve adequate and proper documentation of the policies and transactions of the Federal Government and effective and economical management of agency operations. (44 U.S.C. 2901 [2].
    Records Schedule
    means: - an SF 115, “Request for Records Disposition Authority,” that has been approved by NARA to authorize the disposition of Federal records; - a General Records Schedule (GRS) issued by NARA; or - a printed agency manual or directive containing the records descriptions and disposition instructions approved by NARA on one or more SF 115 or issued by NARA in the GRS. (36 CFR 1220.14).
    Records series
    file units or documents arranged according to a filing system or kept together because they relate to a particular subject or function, result from the same activity, document a specific kind of transaction, take a particular physical form, or have some other relationship arising out of their creation, receipt, or use, such as restrictions on access and use. (NARA, “A Federal Records Management Glossary”).
    Web Sites
    E-Gov Strategy                  
    E-Gov Initiatives                 
    OMB Communications         
    Interagency Committee on Government Information
    Management of Federal Information Resources    
    Privacy Protection              
    Maintain Accessibility         
    Records Management         
    NARA: PKI Digital Signature Authenticated & Secured Transaction Records

    [1] Since aspects of this E-Gov forms policy may pertain to HHS contractors, the Office of Acquisition Management & Policy (ASAM/OAMP) plans to work with the Office of the CIO (ASBTF/OCIO) to develop appropriate acquisition guidance under HHS' Acquisition Regulation.

    [2] This includes E-mail, sent or received, by all devices.