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Number: DAO 205-10
Effective Date: 2001-05-14


.01 This Order contains approved policies and procedures for the Department of Commerce to implement a Department-wide Forms Management Program (FMP) as specified by the General Services Administration (GSA) under 41 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) 101-11. The objective is to ensure the use of the correct version of approved forms, including electronic forms, and to increase the effectiveness and availability of forms.

.02 This revision updates policies and procedures for the proper management of the Department-wide Forms Management Program.


.01 The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (the Act), as amended (44 U.S.C. 3501, et seq.), establishes procedures for implementing the provisions of the Act concerning collection of information by forms and other methods at http://www.cio.gov/files/s244_enr.txt.

.02 The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA), P.L. 105-277, Title XVII, establishes requirements for using electronic forms, filing and signatures to conduct official business at http://www.whitehouse.gov/OMB/fedreg/gpea.html.


.01 Forms: A fixed or sequential order of data elements, independent of presentation media, approved for the collection and/or exchange of information necessary to execute or report on Departmental business transactions (mission and support activities).

.02 Forms Developed by the Department.

a. Department of Commerce Forms: Commerce Department (CD) forms are prescribed by the Office of the Secretary for use Department-wide. Such forms shall be identified by the symbol "CD" as a prefix to their discrete numbers, and available at http://www.doc.gov/forms/.

b. Operating Unit Forms: Forms originated and used internally in an operating unit or any of its components, and available at http://www.doc.gov/forms/bureaus.htm.

c. Interagency Forms: Forms used to report data or information required by a department or agency from other departments or agencies. Data or information may be in narrative, statistical, graphic, or other format.

d. Information Collection Request: The method by which an operating unit communicates the specifications for a collection of information to potential respondents, including a written report form, application form, schedule, questionnaire, oral communication, reporting or record keeping requirement, or other similar method.

e. Web-based Surveys: Any form or specific questions that requires approval under the Act in accordance with Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Paperwork Reduction Act regulations (5 CFR 1320, 5/15/96).

.03 Other Forms Used by the Department.

a. Standard Forms: Standard forms are a fixed or sequential order of data elements, prescribed by a Federal agency through regulation, approved by GSA for mandatory use, and assigned a standard form number. This criteria is the same whether forms reside on paper or are electronic. Standard forms may be accessed electronically from the GSA forms website at http://www.gsa.gov/forms.htm.

b. Optional Forms: Optional forms are approved by GSA for nonmandatory Government-wide use, and are used by two or more agencies. This criteria is the same whether the forms reside on paper or are electronic. Optional forms may be accessed electronically from the GSA forms website at http://www.gsa.gov/forms.htm.

c. Stock Accounting Form (General Accounting Office Nomenclature): A fiscal accounting form approved by the Comptroller General for optional use by Federal agencies, in lieu of an individual agency form.

d. Agency Forms: Forms numbered in the internal series of a central agency which are prescribed or provided by that agency for use by other agencies (e.g., GSA, Treasury, Office of Personnel Management forms).

.04 Electronic Signature: A method of signing an electronic message that identifies, authenticates and certifies a particular person as the source of the electronic message; and indicates such person's verification and/or approval of the information contained in the electronic message (GPEA, Section 1709(1)).

.05 Forms Advisory Council (FAC): Composed of Forms Managers from the Department and its operating units, and chaired by the Departmental Forms Manager, the FAC provides an advisory forum to collectively implement policies and procedures established in the Department-wide Forms Management Program. Ongoing activities of the FAC include providing input for the Department's forms website; marketing the website throughout the respective operating units; ensuring the latest versions of approved forms are posted or linked via the Department's forms website; and providing advice, recommendations, and support to Departmental Forms Managers.


.01 The Office of Executive Budgeting and Assistance Management (OEBAM) is responsible for conducting the FMP as developed and implemented by the Departmental Forms Management Officer whose responsibilities include:

a. Developing policies and general procedures for the management of forms, including electronic forms, throughout the Department;

b. Reviewing, approving, and controlling the issuance of all CD forms, and assuring that guidelines of applicable GSA Forms Management Handbooks are implemented;

c. Serving as a central source of information on standard, optional, CD, and other agency forms, and providing advice and assistance to offices in the planning, development, and utilization of forms;

d. Chairing the FAC, which reviews and evaluates operating unit forms management programs to ensure the implementation of established policies and procedures;

e. Maintaining and making available to Forms Management Officers, Department staff and clients, and the general public an inventory of all CD forms, which resides on the Department of Commerce forms website;

f. Serving as final approval authority for all requisitions for CD forms;

g. Conducting Department-wide analytical surveys to eliminate duplication of forms among operating units, abolish unnecessary forms, and improve the effectiveness of the FMP Department-wide;

h. Maintaining a history case file on each form authorized by OEBAM containing justifications for the original request and revisions to the form, a copy of the form and all revisions, in both electronic and paper format, and other documentation relating to the value, usage, cost, and termination of the form; and

i. Maintaining a central control for the assignment of numbers to all CD forms.

.02 The Publications and Graphics Division, Office of Administrative Services, is responsible for providing the following procedures for acquiring electronic forms publishing services:

a. Converting all CD forms from paper to electronic versions;

b. Maintaining an electronic inventory of the latest versions of CD forms;

c. In coordination with the Departmental Forms Manager, maintaining version control and documenting the history of all CD forms from conversion to electronic format to posting on the CD forms website through removal and termination; and

d. Posting updated CD forms, approved by the Departmental Forms Manager, on the Department's CD forms website at http://www.doc.gov/forms/.

.03 Operating Units. Each operating unit shall establish and maintain a Forms Management Program appropriate to the objectives of this Order and shall designate a person to serve as Forms Management Officer, who shall:

a. Review and approve all requests for the issuance, revision, and publication of forms requested by program offices; and have the final approval authority for all internal forms of the operating unit;

b. Maintain a history file on each form authorized by the operating unit that contains justifications for the original request for the form and revisions to the form, a copy of the form and all revisions, in both electronic and paper format, and other documentation relating to the value, usage, cost, and termination of the form;

c. Maintain a central control to assign form numbers;

d. Maintain, as applicable, negatives and camera ready copies or electronic production files for forms issued;

e. Issue and update a catalog of all operating unit forms; and

f. Implement Department-wide policies and procedures governing forms management, including electronic forms; develop procedures needed to assure an effective program for reviewing, approving, and controlling operating unit forms; and ensure the use of only authorized forms and that all forms are assigned a unique identifier.

.04 Agency Forms Management Program.

a. The Forms Management Officers shall review all requests for new forms to ensure they are necessary, appropriate, cost effective, and do not duplicate existing standard or optional forms, CD forms, or other operating unit forms.

b. CD forms shall be approved only in conjunction with the issuance of appropriate directives, unless the appropriate Forms Management Officer determines that a directive is unnecessary.

c. The operating unit Forms Management Officer is the final authority in approving requests for proposed forms. The approved request shall be forwarded directly to the responsible publication official to be printed or electronically published.


.01 The forms website is the official source of the most current electronic version of CD forms. Waivers to use other than the official version of electronic forms must be obtained from the Departmental Forms Manager.

.02 Effective the date of this Order, the Department and its operating units shall print electronically all forms on demand in an effort to meet the Digital Department goals.

.03 Operating units may generate forms electronically without a waiver provided each form conforms to the following guidelines:

a. All electronic forms must be complete, including punctuation and line/box spacing, and must contain all instructions and questions which appear on the current official form.

b. Laser printers or near letter quality printers may be used to print electronic forms. Printers that produce draft quality documents shall not be used for form generation, but may be used to fill in a prepared form.

c. Electronically generated forms that do not conform to these guidelines must be cleared as exceptions with the appropriate Forms Management Officer.


This Order supersedes Department Administrative Order 205-10, dated September 13, 1984.

Signed by: Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration

Office of Primary Interest: Executive Budgeting and Assistance Management

Questions and Comments

Send Questions or Comments on the Commerce Directives Management program to Directives@doc.gov.

Office of Privacy and Open Government
Office of the Chief Financial Officer and Assistant Secretary for Administration
U.S. Department of Commerce


February 4, 2010