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119 FW 1
Approving and Completing Surveys

Supersedes Director’s memorandum entitled “Surveys,” 01/31/2005

February 3, 2012

Series: Information and Expression

Part 119: Surveys

Originating Office: Division of Policy and Directives Management

 

 

PDF Version


1.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter:

 

A. Establishes requirements that must be met before U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Service) employees may use official Government time and equipment to complete surveys, and

 

B. Describes the process for getting approval to send a survey to employees to complete.

 

1.2 What is the policy? Our policy is to ensure that:

 

A. Employees only use their official duty time and Government equipment to complete surveys when the appropriate individuals have approved them,

 

B. The surveys they complete are of high quality, and

 

C. We continue to encourage employees to share information with others when it is appropriate to do so.

 

1.3 What are the authorities for this chapter?

 

A. 478 Departmental Manual (DM) 1, Nonofficial Expression, General Policies and Procedures.

 

B. Standards for Ethical Conduct for Employees of the Executive Branch, Use of Government Property and Use of Official Time (5 CFR 2635.704 and 705).

 

1.4 Who is responsible for managing incoming surveys and use of employee time to complete them? See Table 1-1.

 

Table 1-1: Responsibilities for managing incoming surveys

These employees…

Are responsible for…

A. The Director

Approving or declining to approve employee use of duty time and Government equipment to complete certain types of surveys (see sections 1.5F and G).

B. The Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital

Approving or declining to approve employee use of duty time and Government equipment to complete certain types of surveys (see sections 1.5D and E).

C. The Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management

(1) Coordinating with the authors/initiators of surveys, and

 

(2) Coordinating with Service officials to review and seek concurrence on incoming surveys to make sure they warrant employees using duty time to complete them before allowing them to do so (see section 1.7A).

D. Regional Directors, Assistant Regional Directors, and Project Leaders

Approving or declining to approve employee use of duty time and Government equipment to complete surveys that are specific to their Regions/duty stations (see sections 1.5F and G).

E. Supervisors

Helping employees to determine whether or not to complete surveys using duty time.

F. Employees

Notifying supervisors when they receive a survey to complete to ensure it is appropriate to do so on duty time.

 

1.5 What types of surveys need approval before employees can use official duty time to complete them? Table 1-2 describes the types of incoming surveys and who needs to approve them.

 

Table 1-2: Types of Surveys and Approvals

Type of survey

Description

Level of approval

A. Governmentwide Surveys

These surveys generally come from the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and other governing agencies.

None. Employees may take these surveys.

B. Surveys from the Department of the Interior (Department)

These surveys may be mandatory or optional.

None, but employees must coordinate taking this type of survey with their supervisor so the supervisor is aware of it.

C. Customer service surveys programs/divisions  develop to get feedback on personnel performance

Programs who provide service to our employees may develop customer service surveys and request employees complete them when they receive a service (e.g., from a Human Capital employee or an Information Resources and Technology Management contractor).

None. Employees may take these surveys to provide feedback if time allows.

D. Surveys from another Bureau in the Department

These surveys may come from the U.S. Geological Survey, Bureau of Land Management, etc.

The Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital must approve the surveys before employees may use duty time to complete them (see section 1.7A for the coordination process).

E. Surveys from another Government agency

These surveys may come from such agencies as the Department of Labor, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, etc.

The Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital must approve them.

F. Surveys from outside of the Service (e.g., from an individual, a nonprofit organization, an association, etc.)

Such surveys may come from graduate students doing research for a thesis, associations who work with the Service (e.g., the National Wildlife Refuge Association), a consulting company doing research, etc.

 

Servicewide/cross-program/cross-Regional: The Director must approve them after they’ve been reviewed (see section 1.7A), and before employees may use duty time to complete them.

Within one Region/within one duty station: The Regional Director or Project Leader must approve them.

G. Surveys from within the Service (other than customer service surveys)

Such surveys may be Servicewide, Servicewide for one program, Regionwide in one Region, or within a program in a Region.

Servicewide/programwide surveys: The Director must approve them.

Regionwide in one Region: The Regional Director must approve them.

Within one program in one Region: The program’s Assistant Regional Director must approve them.

Within one duty station: The Project Leader must approve them.

 

1.6 How can an employee tell if the appropriate official has approved using official duty time to take the survey? Employees can tell if the Director, the Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital, or for Regional/duty station surveys, the Regional Director/Assistant Regional Director/Project Leader approved a survey because they will have either received a prior email about the survey or there will be an accompanying memorandum or email from the approving official. Without documentation showing approval, employees must not use duty time or Government equipment to take the survey unless they fall under one of the categories not requiring approval (see sections 1.5A, B, and C).

 

1.7 What is the process for getting approval for a survey?

 

A. Surveys requiring Director or Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital approval:

 

(1) When the Service receives a request for employees to complete a survey that requires approval from either the Director or the Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital, the employee contacted should notify the Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management.

 

(2) The Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management must coordinate with the appropriate program(s) and experts to ensure the survey is of adequate quality to warrant employees using duty time to complete it. The Chief may also coordinate with the author/initiator of the survey. Following are examples of the types of officials/programs from whom the Chief may seek input or concurrence, or both:

 

(a) The Service Ethics Officer,

 

(b) The Division of Human Capital,

 

(c) A Service survey expert,

 

(d) The Assistant Director(s) of the programs affected (e.g., the Chief – National Wildlife Refuge System for a survey about refuges), and

 

(e) The Office of the Science Advisor for surveys related to scientific information or integrity.

 

(3) After receiving concurrence from the appropriate officials, the Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management:

 

(a) Writes a decision memorandum that recommends whether or not to approve the survey (see Exhibit 1 for example memorandums). The memorandum should briefly (one page or less) describe:

 

  • Whether the Chief is recommending approval or disapproval,
  • What the survey is about and where it originated,
  • How the survey will be implemented and approximately how many employees will take it,
  • Approximately how long it will take to complete the survey, and
  • Any potential benefit to the Service.

 

(b) Memorandums requesting the Director’s approval should be transmitted through the Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital before going to the Director.

 

B. Regional or Duty Station Surveys: Regional offices and duty stations should develop and follow local approval procedures for employees to use duty time and Government equipment to respond to local surveys.

 


For information on the content of this chapter, contact the Division of Policy and Directives Management.


 

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