Survey Manual

431.4 - Forms Management

This chapter establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for accomplishing the objectives of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Forms Management Program.


OPR: Admin/Facilities and Management Services

1. Purpose. This chapter establishes policy, assigns responsibilities, and prescribes procedures for accomplishing the objectives of the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Forms Management Program.

2. Authorities.

A. Federal Information Management Regulation (FIRMR) 201-9.1 requires that each Federal agency establish and implement an effective Forms Management Program to promote efficient information processing and procurement by increasing the usefulness of forms through proper design; reducing costs incident to filling in, reading, transmitting, processing, and retrieving forms; and achieving savings in their printing, storing, and distribution.

B. The Department's guidelines and standards for forms management operations are contained in 381 DM 21 and 22.

3. Definitions.

A. Form. A form is any document, including letters, postal cards, and memorandums, printed or otherwise reproduced in advance of its use, with space for filling in information, descriptive material, or addresses.

(1) Paper Form. Preprinted copy with fixed information and blank spaces for entering variable information.

(2) Electronic Form. A form which is produced, completed, stored and printed using computer equipment. (Electronic forms are analyzed, designed, and managed through the USGS Forms Management Program.)

B. Form Letter. A form letter is a preprinted or otherwise reproduced stocked form designed to appear as a letter, which provides standardized blank spaces for insertion of variable information.

C. Format. A format is a prescribed and illustrated layout or arrangement of information designated for the preparation of a letter, report, or other information. A format is not reproduced, stocked, or furnished to users in advance of preparation, has no preprinted blank spaces for filling in information and is not subject to forms control.

D. Survey (9-) Form. A form designed by a USGS entity for use by one or more divisions/ offices within the USGS and approved by the Administrative Division, Office of Facilities and Management Services (OFMS). (See 7. below.)

E. Department of the Interior Forms. When a form is prescribed for Departmentwide use, or for use by two or more bureaus, it is designated and numbered as a Department of the Interior (DI) form.

F. Standard Form. A form prescribed by a Federal agency and approved by the General Services Administration (GSA) for mandatory Governmentwide use. Forms which duplicate the functions of Standard Forms will not be created or continued.

G. Optional Form. A form developed for use in two or more agencies and approved by GSA for optional use Governmentwide.

H. Other Agency Forms. Where such forms exist and can be procured for less cost than the total cost of establishing like forms, the forms of other agencies may be authorized for use in functions to which they can be applied.

I. Nonform Items. Printed products with out spaces for entering information. Such items (stationery, envelopes, pamphlets, notices, placards, and certain tags and labels, etc.) may be identified and controlled through the Forms Management Program for the purposes of referencing, printing, stocking, and distribution. (These items will be numbered for control purposes and carried on the USGS Forms Listing; e.g., No. 354.)

4. Policy. It is USGS policy to control the creation and use of its forms in full compliance with FIRMR 201-9.1 and Departmental guidelines and standards as outlined in 381 DM 21 and 22.

5. Objectives. The objectives of the USGS Forms Management Program are to:

A. Promote efficient information processing and procurement through the development of forms that are easy to fill out, read, transmit, process and retrieve.

B. Eliminate unnecessary forms and reduce costs by assuring there is a need for each existing and proposed form.

C. Achieve savings through application of appropriate forms design, construction, reproduction, and purchasing standards according to the use of and need for each form.

D. Reduce costs of using forms through periodic analysis of forms to determine continued need, design and content, and opportunities for improvement.

6. Standards.

A. Forms Design. USGS forms will be designed according to the guidelines provided in the GSA Records and Information Management Handbook, "Forms Analysis and Design" (NSN 7610-00-753-4771), and "Specialty Forms" (NSN 7610-00-133-5844). Copies of these handbooks are available through GSA Regional Offices or the U.S. Government Printing Office.

B. Identification Elements.

(1) Heading. All USGS forms will include "U.S. Department of the Interior, U.S. Geological Survey" in the heading.

(2) Number. Each form used within the USGS will be assigned a number (beginning with 9-) which will identify it as an official USGS form. Numbers are controlled and assigned by the USGS Forms Officer, Paperwork Management Section, Office of Facilities and Management Services (OFMS). Obsolete numbers are not reused.

(3) Edition Date. Each USGS form will have an edition date. Edition dates are assigned and recorded by the USGS Forms Officer.

C. Privacy Act Statements. The Privacy Act of 1974 requires that all forms which collect personal information from individuals contain the following information somewhere on the form, or as an attachment to the form (see USGS Handbook 319-1-H, Guide for Handling Privacy Act Records, Chapter 2):

(1) The authority (statute or Executive Order) authorizing the solicitation of the information and whether disclosure of such information is mandatory, voluntary, or required to obtain a benefit.

(2) The principal purpose or purposes for which the information is intended to be used.

(3) The routine uses that may be made of the information.

(4) The effects on the individual, if any, of not providing all or any part of the requested information.

D. Prescribing Directive. All USGS forms must be prescribed by Survey Manual directives (to include a facsimile and completion instructions) when agency policy is effected by the condition or use of a form, or when the form is used by all divisions.

7. Responsibilities.

A. The Office of Facilities and Management Services is responsible for the establishment and implementation of the USGS Forms Management Program. This responsibility includes the following:

(1) Develop Bureauwide policies and procedures to meet the objectives of the USGS Forms Management Program.

(2) Review all requests for new forms to determine if:

(a) An existing USGS form, Departmental, or Standard or Optional form can meet the need.

(b) Each new or revised form has an appropriate heading and title, and is assigned a USGS (9-) number and edition date.

(c) All data items are necessary and are collected and used in an efficient manner.

(d) All forms meeting the criteria in 6D above are prescribed by Survey Manual directives.

(e) All requirements of applicable laws, standards, and regulations have been met.

(3) Review all requests for new forms to ensure that:

(a) Design and construction are economical for printing, stocking, and distributing.

(b) Procurement quantities are compatible with construction features, procedural and use needs, and inventory requirements.

(4) Review all proposed electronic forms to ensure that they are identical to the current approved edition of the form.

(5) Review all USGS forms for continued need, design, content, and opportunities for improvement, at least triennially.

(6) Establish and maintain a historical case file for each controlled form to include:

(a) Information on purpose, use, and disposition of each form.

(b) Information on each form's development, clearance, and publication.

(7) Establish and maintain a functional case file of controlled forms by use, subject, or topic designed to bring forms having similar purposes together for comparison purposes in order to identify and eliminate duplication or to avoid the creation of new forms where existing forms may be used.

(8) Encourage testing of forms and procedures to refine information collection for cutting costs and lessening the burden on the public.

(9) Maintain an up-to-date listing of current forms used by the USGS. A revised listing of forms and page changes to the USGS Forms Facsimile Handbook will be issued periodically when a sufficient number of changes warrant reissuance.

(10) Provide for the printing, stocking, distribution, and reordering of USGS forms.

B. The USGS Forms Officer, is responsible for establishing policy and procedures for the USGS Forms Management Program and providing technical advice and assistance to USGS Records Liaison Officers (RLOs).

C. USGS Records Liaison Officers.

(1) USGS RLOs are responsible for cooperating with the USGS Forms Officer in carrying out the objectives of the USGS Forms Management Program.

(2) RLOs are also responsible for applying the objectives and standards of the USGS Forms Management Program within their respective areas.

D. Records Liaison Coordinators in the regions provide advice and guidance to USGS personnel within their respective areas on problems relating to forms management.

8. Procedures.

A. New or Revised USGS Forms. A proposed new or revised form will be reviewed and processed by the responsible office/official as follows:

(1) Form Originator. Prepares draft of requested form and submits to appropriate Division RLO.

(2) Records Liaison Officer.

(a) Determines that the information collected in the proposed form does not duplicate information already collected by another form or other source. Compares the proposed form with any similar ones pertaining to the Division's activities. If it is apparent that duplication exists, the RLO will return the draft form to the originator with a reference to the current form with which it conflicts.

(b) Determines compliance with the Division's regulatory and procedural requirements and with the objectives and standards of the USGS Forms Management Program. Determines, to the extent possible, if the form requires approval of the Office of Management and Budget (see SM 431.10). If inconsistencies are found, returns form to originator for verification and/or corrections.

(c) If approved, forwards a copy of the form, together with two copies of Form 9-1216, Request for USGS Forms Action (Figure 1) to the Office of Facilities and Management Services, USGS Forms Officer, MS 208, National Center, Reston, VA 22092.

(3) USGS Forms Officer. Reviews proposed form and the Request for USGS Forms Action (Form 9-1216) for accuracy, completeness, and compliance with regulations and standards. If not approved, returns form to appropriate RLO detailing reasons.

If approved, assigns USGS form number and edition date, and arranges for printing, stocking, and distribution of the form.

B. Replenishment of USGS Forms. When forms reach the reorder point, the USGS Forms Officer will forward a GSA Form 50-B, Request for Stock Replenishment, (Figure 2), together with one copy of the appropriate form to the cognizant Division RLO. Procedures to be followed by the RLO in completing the 50-B are contained on the reverse of Figure 2.

C. Cancellation of USGS Forms. A USGS form may be canceled at any time if it is no longer necessary. The appropriate RLO must notify the USGS Forms Officer of the cancellation. USGS Form 9-2044, Request for Form Verification or Cancellation, should be used for this purpose.

D. Electronic Forms. Offices intending to use electronic forms (Survey (9-), DI, Standard or Optional forms) must first consult with the USGS Forms Officer.

(1) Forms Standards.

(a) Only forms that do not have specialized features such as waterproof paper, oversize graphs, special color or inks may be converted to electronic forms.

(b) The electronic form must be a complete reproduction of the current approved edition of the form. Information on the current edition of each USGS form may be obtained by consulting the USGS Forms Facsimile Handbook.

(c) The wording and punctuation of all items, instructions, and identifying information must match exactly.

(d) The electronic form must adhere closely to the line, block, and page dimensions of the form in order to ensure consistency with the sequence and format of each item. Each item must print on the same page in approximately the same location.

(e) Forms printed face and back on the original may be printed on single sheets, provided each page is identified with the form number, page number, and edition date. Likewise, multipart sets may be printed as single sheets.

(2) Forms Approval. One copy of each electronic form must be forwarded to the USGS Forms Officer, 807 National Center, Reston, VA 20192, for approval prior to use. Provide the following additional information on a separate sheet:

Form Number and Title.

Estimated annual usage.

Division, Office, and Mail Stop.

Name and telephone number of contact.

(3) Currency of Electronic Forms. Offices sponsoring the use of an electronic form are responsible for establishing computer system or other mechanisms that preclude the use of superseded electronic forms (see (1)(b) above).

E. Obtaining USGS Forms, Stationery, and Envelopes.

(1) USGS (9-) forms, stationery and envelopes will be ordered from the GSA National Forms and Publications Center, Ft. Worth, TX, using a GSA Form 49, Requisition/Procurement Request for Equipment, Supplies or Services (Figure 4). The form must be completed as indicated in the instructions on the back of Figure 4.

(2) A maximum of 100 copies of a one sheet form (single- or double-sided), may be reproduced by office copier if this amount does not exceed a one year supply for an office.

F. Ordering Other Forms. To order Departmental (DI) forms, submit a DI-1, Requisition, to:

Bureau of Land Management

Printed Materials Distribution Section (SC-657B)

Building 41, Denver Federal Center

P. O. Box 25047

Denver, CO 80225-0047

Payroll (7-) forms are ordered on a DI-1 from:

Bureau of Reclamation

P.O. Box 25007, D-822D

Denver, CO 80225

Standard and Optional Forms ordering instructions are contained in SM 402.1.5D, SMs 403.3 - 403.6, and in the GSA Supply Catalog (which contains the form title, corresponding National Stock Number (NSN), unit of issue, and other pertinent information).

Forms such as General Services Administration (GSA), Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Department of Labor (DOL) or other Federal agency forms, must be obtained directly through the specific agency's forms management office.