What is the Indian Affairs (IA) Directives System?

The IA Directives System contains all policies and procedures to document and perform functions under the authority of the Assistant Secretary - Indian Affairs (AS-IA). The Directives System also provides the structure for producing and publishing clear, concise, and consistent IA program and administrative policy. There are six components of the Directives System:

For questions or comments regarding the IA Directives System components, please contact the IA Office of Regulatory Affairs and Collaborative Action (RACA) at: IAPolicy_and_Directives@bia.gov

What is "policy"?

Policy is typically viewed as principles or rules that provide a framework to guide program decisions and facilitate desired results, including compliance with regulations. Policy is required by law; the Federal Records Act and a section of the Administrative Procedures Act mandate that Federal agencies develop, and make available to the public, documentation of the organization, functions, policies, decisions, and procedures. While policies are generally the "what" and the "why," procedures provide the "how"—the methods and processes to implement policies within the day-to-day operations of the organization.

Policies are not created to address every contingency. Instead, situations may arise in the course of daily operations which require specific and timely action by IA employees and managers. In these cases, a verbal directive may be given. Written directives (in the form of policy) are preferred, however, as they provide documentation to facilitate consistent implementation and management, as well as to protect the rights of the Federal Government and of persons affected by the agency's activities.

What role does RACA have in the Directives System?

RACA provides guidance, templates, and assistance for developing the manual chapters, official memoranda, and handbooks which establish IA program policies and procedures. RACA reviews documents for format and proper delegation of authority, and coordinates recommended changes/corrections with the authoring office. Once a document is final and signed off by the appropriate officials, it is returned to RACA for final processing, including publication on the internet.

How do I develop a policy chapter, directive, or memoranda?

Only IA employees and management should be developing such documents. For detailed information on roles and responsibilities throughout this process, how to develop documents and complete the templates, the routing and clearance record process, signature requirements, and other information, IA employees should review the "Directives Management – Indian Affairs Directives Handbook" and the powerpoint presentation, "How to Develop a Policy or Directive." Both documents are available to IA employees on RACA's internal webpage via SharePoint here: https://doimspp.sharepoint.com/sites/doi-asia-raca/SitePages/IA-Directives-System.aspx.

Where can I find the latest policy documents?

To view the components of the Directives system, including recently updated policies, visit the IA Directives System page.

Where can I locate templates and examples?

The Directives System utilizes specific templates to facilitate clear and consistent documentation. IA program staff should use the templates provided on RACA's internal webpage via SharePoint.