Survey Manual

500.2 - Policy on Work for Non-Federal Agencies

This chapter describes USGS policy for performing work for non-Federal agencies or others in accordance with requirements of 31 U.S.C. 9701 and OMB Circular A-25.


OPR: Office of Management Services

1. Purpose. This chapter describes USGS policy for performing work for non-Federal agencies or others in accordance with requirements of 31 U.S.C. 9701 and OMB Circular A-25.

2. Authority. Annual OMB Apportionment Reimbursable Authority

3. Policy. The USGS has established the following standards for conducting "work-for-others".

A. The service being offered is not readily available outside the USGS.

B. There is no conflict of interest or apparent conflict of interest for the USGS or its employees performing the service.

C. The service rendered promotes the objectives of the USGS.

D. Even though the benefit is to the private party requesting the service, there is a secondary benefit to the USGS in providing the service. The USGS has an interest in ensuring that data, technologies, appraisals, and/or evaluations, made by the private sector in disciplines related to the USGS mission, are accurate (for example: properly calibrated aerial cameras and current meters).

E. All data and information produced as a product of work-for-others shall be available to the public except in cases prohibited by security considerations.

F. In general, costs associated with conducting work-for-others shall be fully recovered as required by 31 USC 9701 and the USGS Pricing Policy. As discussed in 31 USC 9701, the charges must be:

(1) fair, and

(2) based upon:

(a) costs to the government,

(b) value of service or things to the recipient,

(c) public policy or interest served, and

(d) other relevant facts.

4. Advance Funding. Except where specifically excepted, work for non-Federal agencies or others will be financed by advance funding. Funds will be transferred, in total, from a non-Federal customer when the work performed significantly benefits USGS programs and:

A. Has no adverse impact on the continuing USGS program(s), including the availability of personnel; or

B. Requires the professional and technical expertise of the USGS to perform or manage on behalf of the non-Federal customer.

Funds will also be transferred from non-Federal customers when the USGS has specialized equipment, such as computers, that are not being fully utilized by the USGS.

5. Exceptions to Advance Requirement. The Department of the Interior has determined that two types of reimbursable programs are appropriately categorized as non-Federal reimbursements and do not require funding in advance of the creation of obligations. These two items include the State Cooperative Program and the Map Sales and Receipts Programs.

6. Criteria for Consideration of Entering into Agreements. In addition to the standards that must be met when considering work-for-others, the following criteria must be considered prior to entering into any agreement where the USGS is the contractor.

A. An agreement to do work should be accepted only if the work to be done is compatible with the USGS mission, and expected to aid USGS programs.

B. The agreement will in no way adversely affect the scientific integrity of the USGS.

C. The work performed under the agreement will not be in conflict with the USGS Organic Act or other applicable laws.

D. The agreement shall be not written to significantly advantage or disadvantage any private or public group.

E. All information obtained under the agreement will be available in the public domain except in cases prohibited by security considerations.

F. The USGS will retain the freedom to decide how the work specified by the agreement will be done and where the results from the work will be published.

G. Each agreement will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

H. The money from an agreement will benefit the USGS, not any individual.

A more comprehensive discussion of these criteria and a model agreement is contained in the Technology Transfer Handbook.

7. Review and Approval Process. Unless otherwise delegated, proposed agreements, in which the USGS agrees to do work-for-others, must be recommended by the Division Chief(s) assigned the responsibility for the proposed activity. Their recommendation is submitted to the Associate Director for Operations through the Business Enterprise Council (BEC). The recommendation should contain a summary description of the proposed work, its estimated cost and duration, and an explanation of how the agreement complies with the aforementioned Standards (500.2.3) and Criteria (500.2.6). The BEC will review the proposal in accordance with SM 308.42.

8. Legal Review. Before any agreement for work-for others is consummated, the proposal should be submitted to the Department of the Interior's Solicitor for a determination that it is in compliance with the law. Submittal of the proposal for legal review will be made by the BEC, through the Technology Transfer Office, as part of its review and recommendation process.

9. Assessment of Funds. All funds transferred from non-Federal sources will be subject to an assessment to support indirect costs. The assessment will be at the current rate for all funds, appropriated and reimbursable. See SM 501.1 for more information on USGS assessment policy.