Science Support

431.5 Directives Management Handbook

This Survey Manual handbook is scheduled to be reissued in full in 3rd Quarter FY2021.

Prepared by the Office of Policy and Analysis

 

FOREWORD

This Survey Manual (SM) handbook supplements SM chapter 431.5, Directives Management.  Specifically, it prescribes standards and procedures for the preparation and processing of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) directives.

A February 19, 2021 update to this SM handbook includes guidance on new templates for SM chapters, SM handbooks, and Instructional Memoranda, available to developers and reviewers of USGS policy on the internal USGS Directives System site.  This update also includes standard review groups and timelines for Survey Manual directives.  Direct any questions to the Bureau Directives Officer: gs-a_survey_manual_feedback@usgs.gov.

 

Last procedural update:

/s/ Katherine M. McCulloch                                                           February 19, 2021  

Associate Director for Administration                                            Date

 

 

Last full release:

/s/ Carol F. Aten                                                                           February 25, 2004  

Chief, Office of Administrative Policy and Services                     Date

 

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

CHAPTER 1.  STRUCTURE OF THE DIRECTIVES SYSTEM

1.  U.S. Geological Survey Directives System

2.  Structure of the Survey Manual 

3.  Approving Officials

 

CHAPTER 2.  PREPARATION, REVIEW, AND SUBMISSION OF DIRECTIVES

1.  Language Usage

2.  Margins    

3.  Font

4.  Page Numbering

5.  Chapter Size

6.  Text

7.  Splitting Units of Text

8.  Underlining

9.  Linking

10. References to Paragraphs in Survey Manual Chapters

11. Weights and Measures

12. Page Headers

13. Paragraph Headings for Survey Manual Chapters

14. Structured Divisions of Survey Manual Chapters

15. Supplemental Material

16. Formatting and Preparing Directives for Submission

17. Review of Directives

 

CHAPTER 3.  DISTRIBUTION, NOTIFICATION, MAINTENANCE AND AVAILABILITY OF DIRECTIVES

1.  Distribution

2.  Notification

3.  Maintenance

4.  Availability

 

CHAPTER 4.  REVISION AND REVALIDATION OF DIRECTIVES

1.  Revision

2.  Revalidation

 

CHAPTER 1.  STRUCTURE OF THE DIRECTIVES SYSTEM

1.    U.S. Geological Survey Directives System.  The purpose of the USGS Directives System is to document and communicate program and administrative policy, procedures, and instructions throughout the USGS.  It is comprised of the Survey Manual, Survey Manual Handbooks, and Instructional Memoranda.

A.   The Survey Manual is the means by which long-term program and administrative policies, standards, and instructions governing USGS operations are issued to USGS organizations.  The Survey Manual describes the organization and functions of USGS offices, documents delegations of the Director’s authority, and prescribes the policies and general procedures for administrative activities and specific program operations.  The Survey Manual contains essential Bureau-wide information that is applicable to all or some organizations.

B.   Survey Manual Handbooks are an integral part of the Survey Manual and are used for lengthy procedural or instructional material which implements basic policy documented in SM chapters.  SM handbooks are generally authorized in a corresponding SM chapter.   

C.   Instructional Memoranda are temporary directives used to establish policy in advance of incorporation in the Survey Manual or to announce temporary procedural changes in either an SM chapter or a particular handbookInstructional Memoranda (IM) generally have a cancellation date of no longer than 1 year from the date of issuance or until incorporation in the Survey Manual or a Handbook, whichever is sooner.   

 

2.  Structure of the Survey Manual.  The Survey Manual is organized into four broad subject matter categories called Series.  Each Series is divided into numbered sub-classifications called Parts, which organize information into specific subject areas.  Parts are further subdivided into Chapters.  Each chapter includes policy, procedures, instructions, etc., on a specific topic.  The chapter is the basic unit of text in the Survey Manual.  The Series, Part Numbers, and descriptions are described below.  

A.  Organization Series, Parts 100 - 199, contain USGS organizational policies and describe the organization of the USGS, including headquarters, regional, and field organizations.

B.  Delegation Series, Parts 200 - 299, contain USGS policies governing delegation and redelegation of authorities.

C.  Administrative Series, Parts 300 - 499, provide policies, standards, and procedures governing the administrative activities of the USGS. 

D.  Program Series 500 - End, contain USGS policies, standards, and procedures governing program activities of the USGS.

 

3.  Approving Officials. 

A.  The Director, Deputy Director, and the Associate Director for Administration are the only officials authorized to sign and approve Survey Manual chapters.

B.  Senior Executive Service Managers with Bureau-wide responsibility for the activities covered are responsible for signing and approving Survey Manual handbooks issued by their respective offices.

C.  The Director, Deputy Director, and the Associate Director for Administration are the only officials authorized to sign and approve IMs that establish temporary policy in advance of incorporation in the Survey Manual. 

D.  Office Chiefs with Bureau-wide responsibility for the activity being addressed is responsible for signing and approving IMs that announce temporary procedural changes (those which require action by technical staff, but not managerial action).  The approving official must ensure that the IM includes an expiration date.

 

CHAPTER 2.  PREPARATION, REVIEW, AND SUBMISSION OF DIRECTIVES

1.  Language Usage.  

A.  Write in clear, simple, easily understandable English.  Write short sentences.  Avoid repetition and excessive detail, technical or legalistic jargon, and gender-specific language.

B.  Locate information in a logical sequence where the user expects it to be.

C.  Identify your audience early and write with the intended users foremost in mind, so that further explanation in the form of local supplements will not be necessary. 

D.  Use “you” and other pronouns to speak directly to readers.  When appropriate, use “we” when referring to the bureau.  Use of such pronouns makes the document more relevant.

E.  Use the active voice to make it clear who is supposed to do what and to eliminate ambiguity about responsibilities.

F.  Write in a visually appealing style.  Use of a clear and un-crowded style will help users to understand what you want to convey.

G.  Use brief, descriptive headings for chapters, paragraphs, appendices, and figures.

H.  Use acronyms sparingly and write the complete words for the acronym the first time it is used.

I.  Use as a guide the William Strunk Jr., and E.B. White publication, “The Elements of Style,” in the drafting of written materials.  Use the U.S. Government Printing Office Style Manual to obtain writing guidance that is not available in the “Elements of Style” publication.

 

2.  Margins. The text in each chapter should be prepared with standard 1-inch margins on all sides.

 

3.  Font.  Font used should be Times New Roman.  Font size used should be “12” point.  Exception: Font used in the identification of title, number, and month and year issued at the top of handbook pages should be “10” point, and font used on the cover page of handbooks is addressed in 16.A (3) (a) below.

 

4.  Page Numbering.  Number the pages of SM chapters, SM handbooks, and IMs.  Page numbering should be consecutive and at the bottom left of each page.  Page numbering for SM handbooks should begin with the Foreword page.  Page numbers are included on hard copies in order to keep track of the pages.  Web page numbering takes precedence over hardcopy page numbering.

 

5.  Chapter Size.  SM chapters are intended to convey policy and basic requirements and should generally be limited to a few pages.  If an SM chapter becomes too lengthy, consideration should be given to sub-dividing the topics into other chapters, if appropriate.

 

6.  Text.  Text should be in Microsoft Word.  Do not use automatic outlining or paragraphing.

 

7.  Splitting Units of Text.  At least two lines of a divided paragraph should appear on each page.  In dividing a sentence between pages, at least two words of that sentence should appear on each page.  A word should not be divided between two pages.

 

8.  Underlining.  Use to link only. 

 

9.  Linking.  Public pages must not contain links to internal pages to which the public does not have rightful access.

 

10.  References to Paragraphs in Survey Manual Chapters.

A.  References to paragraphs in other SM chapters are to begin with the capital letters SM, followed by the part number, followed by the chapter and paragraph number, e.g., SM 205.1.5A.

B.  References to other paragraphs in the same chapter are to be written using only the chapter and paragraph number, e.g., 1.5A.

 

11.  Weights and Measures.  It is the policy of the Department and of the USGS to comply with the Omnibus Trade and Competitiveness Act of 1988 (Public Law 100-418, Section 5164), which amended the Metric Conversion Act.  Bureau policy and requirements for using the metric system of measurement for weights and measures in bureau directives are set forth in SM 402.5.

 

12.  Page Headers.  A standard page header is required for the first page of each directive.  Templates are available to developers and reviewers of USGS policy by directive type on the internal USGS Directives System site.  Contact the Bureau Directives Officer with any questions.

 

13.  Paragraph Headings for Survey Manual Chapters.  Templates are available to developers and reviewers of USGS policy by directive type on the internal USGS Directives System site.  Contact the Bureau Directives Officer with any questions.

 

14.  Structured Divisions of Survey Manual Chapters.  Templates are available to developers and reviewers of USGS policy by directive type on the internal USGS Directives System site.  Contact the Bureau Directives Officer with any questions.

 

15.  Supplemental Material.

When figures are used, they will be placed at the end of the SM chapter or at the end of the last chapter of the SM handbook.  Use figures to include forms or formats, illustrations, charts, tables, and other short supplemental materials.  If a directive prescribes use of a form, include as a figure a copy of a completed form.  Figures are identified in bold italics with the chapter number and figure number, separated by a hyphen, and the title of the figure in the top right corner of the page.  

 

16.  Formatting and Preparing Directives for Submission.  Templates for SM chapters, SM handbooks, and Instructional Memoranda are available to developers and reviewers of USGS policy on the internal USGS Directives System site.  Contact the Bureau Directives Officer with any questions.

 

17.  Review of Directives.  Input should be obtained from appropriate officials prior to approval and issuance of the directive.  Standard review groups and timelines are as follows:

Mandatory Review Groups (each tier review period is separate and non-concurrent): 

·       Tier 1 – Office of Policy and Analysis, 5-10 business days  

·       Tier 2 – Business Leaders Team (BLT), Field Managers Team (FMT), Human Resources, Cost Center Managers, 10 business days 

·       Tier 3 – Executive Leadership Team (ELT), Associate and Regional Deputy Groups, 10 business days 

·       Tier 4 – Office of Administration, 3-10 business days 

Special Review Groups (the following reviews may run concurrently): 

·       Budget Office, Diversity and Equal Employment Office, other special USGS offices, 10 business days 

·       Ethics Office, 20 business days 

·       Office of the Solicitor, at least 20 business days

·       Fundamental Science Practices Advisory Committee, at least 20 business days 

·       Departmental Reviewers, at least 20 business days 

·       Office of the Director, 3-20 business days (or as specified by other guidance from the Office of the Director) 

 

CHAPTER 3.  DISTRIBUTION, NOTIFICATION, MAINTENANCE, AND AVAILABILITY OF DIRECTIVES

1. Distribution.  Upon approval, a hard copy and an electronic copy of the signed directive and accompanying documents will be provided to the originator.  The originator should then have the electronic copy of the directive converted to html (or PDF upon request) and return it to the Bureau Directives Officer or designee for posting on the Survey Manual Web site.

 

2.  Notification.   The Bureau Directives Officer will notify employees of the new directive via the All Employees Weekly Bulletin Board on Lotus Notes.  The What’s New section of the Survey Manual Web site will provide additional notification.

 

3.  Maintenance.   The Bureau Directives Officer will retain the original copies of signed directives and maintain them as the official file copies.  The Survey Manual Checklist, which is on the Survey Manual Web site, is a listing of the most recent directives.

 

4.  Availability.  Copies of current Survey Manual policies are available on the Survey Manual Web site.

 

CHAPTER 4.  REVISION AND REVALIDATION OF DIRECTIVES

 

1.  Revision.

A.   Survey Manual Chapters.  Revised SM chapters will be reissued in their entirety.

B.   Handbooks.  When an SM handbook is revised, the foreword, table of contents, and index should also be revised to reflect changes.

C.   Instructional Memoranda.  Generally do not revise an IM.  If an IM requires revision, cancel it, and issue a new one.

 

2.    Revalidation.  The Offices of Primary Responsibility are responsible for reviewing directives biennially to validate that they are current, revising when necessary or canceling when no longer needed.  A special review will be requested at other times if circumstances dictate; for example, organizational or functional realignments, etc.  The Offices of Primary Responsibility should issue revised directives whenever changes in policy and (or) procedures occur.