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FHWA Order 1300.5

Order
Subject
FHWA Coordination Guidelines
Classification Code Date Office of Primary Interest
1300.5 October 4, 1991  

Par.

  1. Purpose

  2. Scope

  3. Background

  4. Action

  1. PURPOSE. To provide to all Washington Headquarters offices guidance for streamlining the coordination and clearance of proposed Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issuances.

  2. SCOPE. These FHWA coordination guidelines are applicable to formal issuances prepared by Washington Headquarters offices, including directives, regulations, inter- and intra-agency correspondence, reports, publications, and similar documents.

  3. BACKGROUND. A recommendation in the Report of the Task Force on Internal Communications called for the program offices to review the agency's burdensome coordination process. A primary objective of the review is to determine whether a more flexible process can be established based on the relative need to coordinate various categories of issuances. The report also recommended that the degree of risk involved in reducing the level of coordination be examined.

  4. ACTION

    1. Determining Level of Coordination

        (1) The primary purposes of the coordination process are to: (a) identify and resolve differences among offices, (b) identify and correct factual errors, (c) identify and correct inconsistencies and duplication within the issuance and with other issuances, and (d) assure that consideration is given to relevant issues. Each of these factors must be taken into account in determining the planned level of coordination.

        (2) In an effort to enhance the agency's overall coordination process, all program managers in the Washington Headquarters Office should review their current practices for coordinating various program issuances. Planning for the coordination of proposed issuances should be an integral part of the development process. In determining which offices to coordinate with and how much time to allow for coordination, a conscious effort should be made to weigh the need to coordinate a given issuance in light of the need for timely action. As a general rule, the number of coordination point should be kept to a minimum consistent with the risk and potential impact of any inter-office differences, inconsistencies, errors or omissions on the agency's programs and the extent of involvement or interest in the subject by others.

        (3) Issuances that reflect policies representing new directions and initiatives, whether or not in the form of rulemaking actions and/or significantly affecting the States, industry, or other Federal agencies, for example, may require more thorough coordination. On the other hand, purely informational documents, based on clearly established knowledge or ways of doing things and of limited interest outside the originating office may call for more streamlined coordination.

        (4) The originating office or program manager should consider the impact of each proposed issuance and establish an appropriate coordination level, rather than automatically using a predetermined coordination pattern to "play it safe."

    2. Advance Notice of Planned Coordination. Initiating offices should consider providing advance notice to affected offices of the release and due dates and other relevant information concerning a planned coordination. Where risks and potential impacts are significant, every effort should be made to coordinate as early in the development process as possible, including for draft directives, the Directives Control Point in the Office of Management Systems (HMS-12), to avoid unforeseen delays that may force postponement of the planned issuance date.

    3. Methods of Expediting Coordination Requests and Responses

        (1) Consideration should be given to (a) the use of electronic communications (e.g., ONTYME, FEBBS, or LAN messages) and (b) handcarrying coordination requests and responses within the DOT Headquarters(Nassif) building in order to speed delivery of the requests and to facilitate simultaneous review and concurrences/comments.

        (2) Where possible, concurrences in final products, such as a memorandum or report to products, such as a memorandum or report to the Federal Highway Administrator or a letter to be signed by the Administrator, may be requested and given electronically. Concurring offices should follow established electronic correspondence procedures, and the receiving office must include (a) a hard copy printout of the concurrence grid and (b) a note on the grid referring to the printout.

        (3) If electronic requests for concurrence are not practicable, copies of the yellow concurrence grid and subject materials may be distributed simultaneously to the appropriate offices. Each signed grid that is returned to the initiating office must be included under the yellow concurrence tab of the correspondence package.

    4. Delegating Concurrence/Comment Authority. An additional means of expediting coordination is to delegate the authority to concur in proposed issuances based on the nature of the issuance and/or comments thereon and the expertise of the concurring office. To the extent practicable, a long series of concurrences representing a single hierarchy should be avoided where the reviews are essentially duplicative and/or provide little additional assurance that a significant defect or improvement will be found.

    5. Timely Responses to Coordination Requests. Offices that are requested to review and comment on proposed issuances should give high priority to providing meaningful comments in a timely manner.

    6. Followup and Resolution of Comments

        (1) Offices that initiate a coordination involving a critical due date should follow up before the due date to assure that the request was received and to ascertain the status of the response.

        (2) After completion of the coordination process, initiating offices should document resolution actions either by neatly annotation the comments or by preparing a separate resolution summary; the annotated comments or summary should be included in the left side of the correspondence folder used to assemble the final version of the issuance for concurrence and approval.

        (3) Initiating offices should obtain concurrences from all offices that provided substantive comments to assure agreement in the resolution action and/or should provide to commenting offices information concerning the disposition of substantive issues raised in the comments.

/s/
T. D. Larson
Federal Highway Administrator

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