OEI and OPA Issue a Joint Memorandum of Understanding (2002 Memo)
Kimberly T. Nelson, Chief Information Officer, Assistant Administrator, Office of Environmental Information
Joseph J. Martyak, Associate Administrator, Office of Public Affairs
Subject: Management and oversight responsibilities for EPA's Web site by the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) and the Office of Environmental Information (OEI).
This Memorandum of Understanding delineates certain interdependent functions, oversight responsibilities, and joint initiatives of the Office of Public Affairs (OPA) and the Office of Environmental Information (OEI) for the Agency's public Web site.
Interdependent Responsibilities of the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Environmental Information
The responsibility of both OPA and OEI is to create an EPA Web site that accurately conveys the mission and work of the Agency. Both Offices work to ensure that the Agency's data and information are up-to-date, easily and fully accessible, and presented in a context that is meaningful to the public. Both offices recognize the interdependence of their Web-related responsibilities and the need to work closely to support and enhance complementary functions. Each office is responsible for developing and implementing policies related to its functional areas.
Specific Responsibilities of Each Office
In general, OPA is responsible for editorial content and context. OEI is responsible for funding, operating, and maintaining the Web site.
Office of Public Affairs Responsibilities
OPA is responsible for overseeing the development and management of Web content (including organization and presentation) so as to best communicate the Agency's mission and the Administrator's priorities. To implement this responsibility and authority, OPA:
- Develops and implements EPA's "Communications Product Development and Approval" policy;
- Develops and implements guidelines for the effective use of graphics on EPA's Web site;
- Makes final decisions about removing content from the EPA Web site (OEI may remove content in an emergency and then request concurrence from OPA); and
- Oversees and provides strategic direction to the rest of the Agency on using the Web as a communication tool;
Office of Environmental Information Responsibilities
OEI is responsible for funding, operating, and maintaining the Web site and data systems and for providing guidelines for information quality. To implement this responsibility and authority, OEI:
- Develops and implements site management tools to support the content and data quality goals of the Agency including site security;
- Develops and implements other information technology relating to EPA's Web site (e.g., search, content management, automated classification, metadata, and dynamic content delivery);
- Reports regularly to OPA and the rest of the Agency on implementation of policies;
- Responds to external authorities (e.g., Congress, the White House and OMB);
- Develops model for pre-dissemination review (based on Information Quality Guidelines); and
- Provides technical support for OPA Web initiatives.
Joint Initiatives of the Office of Public Affairs and the Office of Environmental Information
The two offices jointly share these efforts:
- Manage Web site design, 'look and feel' template, specification, and exemptions;
- Develop plans for restructuring the EPA Web site to incorporate feedback from changing usage and emerging technologies (e.g., topics-based approach);
- Establish a framework for EPA policies for Web governance relating to OPA and OEI responsibilities;
- Monitor and oversee implementation of policies governing Web content (including organization and presentation) and infrastructure management; and
- Develop policies for assigning responsibility for areas of the Web site.
- Work together to communicate new directions and policies to regional and program contacts, e.g. IRM Branch Chiefs, OPA directors, phone calls, and annual meetings.