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JM DOE O 442.1A, Notice of Intent to Revise DOE O 442.1A, Department of Energy Employee Concerns Program

The DNFSB previously recommended that DOE ECP Order 442.1A be revised in order to ensure consistency with DOE O 226.1B, related to the Department's Oversight Policy.

JM-0442.1a.pdf -- PDF Document, 525 KB

Writer: Pat Zarate
    ID: JM DOE O 442.1A
    Type: Justification Memorandum
    OPI: ED - Office of Economic Impact and Diversity
    Status: Archive
    Approved Date: Oct 02, 2014
    CRD: Yes
    Invoking Directive: No

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    Julie Reddick says:
    Jan 08, 2015 05:23 PM

    Feedback on Draft DOE Order 442.1B, DOE Employee Concerns Program

    Section 4a(2) – Reporting Structure - Suggest the reporting structure should be that the ECP manager reports to HQ and not to the site manager. Independence is needed, and the site manager is line management.
    Section 4e, Agency-Wide Database and ECP Data – Suggest the Agency-Wide database should be activated and ready to be used at the same time as this order is issued. Issuing this order with a “promise” of a future action means it may never happen. To do this with a promise is counter to a quality program. Ata minimum, a date-certain date by which the system will be available should be stated so that there is a measurable commitment.
    Section 4f(1) – ECP documentation and Records – This section needs to state that the ECP records are also subject to FOIA requests. I have seen a number of reports made available from DOE and other agencies as a result of FOIA requests – not just Privacy Act Requests.
    Section 4f(3)(a) – Intake of Concerns – Suggest that a definition of “expeditious” is needed. If there is a reporting requirement – it may have its own time requirement. If not – hours or days is probably what is meant. It would help to say so.
    Section 4f(4)(c) – Triage of Concerns – Suggest that there should be some guidelines for conflict of interest. For example, the Field Office Manager often has an automatic conflict in that a response to a concern can take time away from the effort spent on the mission. We have seen a number of cases where a problem was not addressed because management thought (and in some cases even stated) that the concerned person was “not as important” as the management official, and concerns were dismissed.
    Section 4f(5) – Timeframes for Processing Concerns – Please add some discussion to show what is measured and what is reported if the 90 day goal for closing a concern is not met. Suggest items longer than 90 days should be reported monthly to the Secretary. Basis is an EC from 2012 that is still languishing after more than two years. Apparently, no one cares when the “goal” to be prompt is not net.
    Section 4f(6)(a)3 - Investigations – Suggest that the written investigation report (by the EC Manager) and any investigation report by independent investigators should automatically be provided to the concerned individual. This is because the basis for any corrective actions should be stated. Please note that the response to the concerned individual should also include:
    • A description of the disposition/resolution, including any corrective action(s) taken or anticipated; and
    • Documentation of how the items referred to other offices or programs are being tracked by the ECP through to resolution.

    Section 4f(6)(d) Referral to Another Organization- Please include a time commitment for responses for concerns referred to other organizations. It should be at least the same as the EC 90-day goal. Recommend the ECP needs to report back to the CI on the results, in the same level of detail as items that were not referred. This is a lesson learned. See response to FOIA request HQ-2015-00325-F, which shows that HC never responded to DOE-EC’s 30 day request for a written reply.
    Section 4f(6)(e)Transfer to Another Organization - Please include a time commitment for concerns transferred to other organizations, to be the same as the EC 90-day goal. Recommend the receiving organization needs to report back to the CI on the results, in the same level of detail as items that were not referred. Please specify that the report to the CI must be in writing. A phone call is not sufficient. This is a lesson learned. See response to FOIA request HQ-2015-00325-F, which shows that HC never responded to the DOE-EC’s 30 day request for a written reply.
    Section 4f(7) Conclusions and Briefing Cognizant Management – Suggest this briefing should be provided to the CI for transparency to show which issues will receive management attention, and how they are described.
    Section 4f(8) Corrective Actions – Suggest a link to the corrective actions tracking system be provided to the CI for transparency. Please specify that any formal ECP corrective action shall not be administratively canceled or closed by action of the affected manager, and that the corrective action closure must be independently verified by the ECP. Please also specify that changes may not be made, after the fact, to the tracked item once it is closed. (If additions have to be made - it should be re-opened.) Please specify that closure must be to an action that is completed and verifiable – and not based on a promise of a future action. This is based on lessons learned and NQA-1. The definition of corrective action is that it is an action, not a plan for an action. And the actions must be tracked to closure in order to be of value.
    Section 4f(9)(b)2 – Closure of Concerns – Entry into a formal corrective actions tracking system is not sufficient to close a concern. The actions in the tracking system must be completed and verified to be effective before a concern is actually addressed. Suggest a follow-up verification that the actions were completed is needed. This also is based on lessons learned and NQA-1.
    Section 4f(14)(a) – ECP Quarterly and Annual Reports – Can you specify? This says the ECP manager reports to the Office of Employee Concerns. Are these the field office ECP managers? To whom does the Office of Employee concerns provide reports? Suggest this should be stated.
    Section 5(d)(1) – Office of Enterprise Assessments – Suggest adding clarification from OEA’s web page to include: OEA has responsibilities in the areas of nuclear and industrial safety, cyber and physical security, and other critical functions as designated by the Secretary and the Secretary’s Leadership team.
    Attachment 1 – Contractor Requirements Document – Suggest the CRD should include verification of completed corrective actions and reporting of delinquent actions. Basis: “That which is not measured, is not corrected,” Mark Van der Puy, 2013.
    Also – suggest the CI should be informed of any corrective actions, how they are being tracked, and when they are complete, in order support genuine closure of the issues.

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