Congressional and Other Global Requests for Documents and Records

282 FW 3
FWM Number
282 FW 3, 02/27/06
Originating Office
Office of Communications

3.1 What is the purpose of this chapter? This chapter describes the Fish and Wildlife Service policy and procedures for responding to congressional and other agency requests that involve a Servicewide or Departmentwide (global) search for documents and records.

3.2 What is the scope of this chapter? This chapter applies to requests from Congress and other agencies involving global searches for documents and records. It does not apply to routine inquiries, such as requests for general information, a Service report, other publicly distributed material, or congressional inquiries sent directly to the Service (see 282 FW 2 for information on how to handle these inquiries).

3.3 What is the authority for this chapter? The authority for this chapter is Article 1, the Constitution of the United States of America.

3.4 Who is responsible for responses to congressional and other global requests for documents and records?

A. The Document Management Unit (DMU), Executive Secretariat:

(1) Coordinates congressional or other requests requiring a global search for documents and records with Department of the Interior (Department) bureaus and the Office of the Solicitor (SOL).   

(2) For each search, prepares and sends a transmittal memorandum with specific instructions on how to submit documents, records, and certification forms to the affected bureau(s).

B. The Assistant Director – Budget, Planning and Human Capital (AD–BPHC) is our Senior Contact for all matters related to congressional or other global requests. The AD–BPHC:

(1) Ensures that all employees who may have potentially responsive documents receive a copy of the transmittal memorandum with attachments and get instructions about how to respond.

(2) Certifies that the offices and Regions with employees who may have potentially responsive documents and records completed the search (see section 3.6C for more information).

C. Assistant Directors (AD); the Chief, Office of Law Enforcement (OLE); and Regional Directors (RD) ensure that employees search all applicable files and offices for relevant documents and records.

D. The Chief, Division of Policy and Directives Management (PDM) designates a PDM technical contact to:

(1) Disseminate the request with instructions and certification forms to employees who may have potentially responsive documents and records.

(2) Set internal due dates to allow time for adequate review and certification.

(3) Coordinate collection of documents, records, and certification forms to ensure we meet response due dates.

3.5 What is the general procedure for a congressional or other global search request?

A. DMU sends requests to the AD–BPHC, who sends them to the Chief, PDM.

B. The Chief, PDM, gives the request to the PDM technical contact, who distributes it to the offices and Regions that may have relevant documents and records. PDM sends the requests via the Document Tracking System (DTS) or facsimile. The request package includes the following information:

(1) Specific instructions for submission of documents.

(2) Blank office supervisor and staff certification forms (see section 3.6).

C. Staff members:

(1) Perform searches.

(2) Copy relevant documents and records, organize them according to the instructions, and send them to the contact identified in the instructions by the established due date. (Each search may have different requirements for where to send the documents and records and how to organize them.)

(3) Complete and sign the staff certification form and give it to their supervisors.

D. Supervisors:

(1) Review the instructions their staff members receive to ensure they understand the requirements and to set internal milestones to meet response dates.

(2) Assign personnel, if necessary, to assist with search tasks.

(3) Collect and review the staff certification forms to ensure they are complete.

(4) Complete the supervisor certification form and send it and the staff certification forms to the contact identified in the instructions.

3.6 What is a certification form? Certification forms confirm that the employees identified performed a complete search and included all documents and records found in their responses. There are three types of certification forms:

A. Staff Certification Form (see Exhibit 1). This form certifies that the employee performed a good faith search and included all the documents and records he/she/they found. The employee also records information about the number of hours spent on the task and their labor rate.

B. Supervisor Certification Form (see Exhibit 2). By signing this form, the supervisor certifies that he/she/they reviewed the instructions and completed the necessary steps to ensure that the search was comprehensive, including searching his/her/their own documents and records. The form also includes a table for the supervisor to record hours spent, and the hourly rate for all the employees who worked on the search.

C. Senior Contact Certification Form. The AD–BPHC certifies to DMU that the Service performed a good faith search and that we have provided all responsive documents and records found.

3.7 Why is it important for Service employees to meet the due dates assigned for response?

A. Employees must meet the established due date to allow time to consolidate and index the documents and records. DMU needs adequate time to coordinate review of the documents and records with the SOL for Freedom of Information Act and Privacy Act considerations.

B. If you cannot meet a due date, contact the Chief, PDM as soon as possible and explain why. PDM may ask the Executive Secretariat for an extension.

3.8 How does the Service account for the costs of preparing responses? All employees responding record their time on their staff certification forms. The supervisor totals all the amounts from employees and records them on the supervisor certification form. For each staff member involved in processing a request, include the grade level, number of hours, and total cost (hours worked × estimated hourly rate). Include this information for each staff member involved in searching for, indexing, and copying documents.

Attachments (Exhibits, Amendments, etc)

Amended by Decision Memorandum, “Approval of Revisions to ~350 Directives to Remove Gender-Specific Pronouns,” 6/22/2022