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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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SMG 3220.2





Transmittal Number 88-82 -- Date: 06/03/1988

[PDF Version]

 1. Purpose
 2. Policy
 3. Responsibilities
 4. Procedures


This guide prescribes the policy and procedures governing the utilization and acquisition of telephone services and facilities by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).


It is the policy of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to provide telephone telecommunications services and facilities for Agency activities at the minimum total cost to the Government, consistent with requirements for capacity, efficiency of operation, reliability of services, security, and program objectives.


The Division of Information Resources Management (DIRM), Office of Management and Operations, has the overall responsibility for the management and coordination of telecommunications management including:

A. Development and implementation of an ADP and telecommunications plan and budget.

B. Development of standards to assist in linking data and systems across Center and program lines.

C. Design, acquisition, management, and evaluation of all Agency telecommunications systems.

D. Review and approval of all Agency Procurement Requests, contract proposals, Interagency Agreements, and requisitions involving telecommunications and automated systems.

E. Consultation and technical assistance in the selection and use of telecommunications equipment and services.


A. Telephone Services.

Plans, service requests, and orders for telephone service should be submitted as far as possible in advance of the date the service is desired to allow lead time for the planning and scheduling of workloads.

1. Parklawn Building. Requests for telephone service at headquarters must be submitted to the Division of Information Resources Management (HFA-80) using Form FDA 2500 "FDA Telephone Service Request".

2. Field Locations. Field requests for telephone service must be forwarded to the respective Administrative Officer for processing.

B. Control of Telephone Station Equipment.

The Division of Information Resources Management (DIRM) will review all planned telephone services, and will conduct periodic surveys of the use of telephone equipment to assure that only the equipment necessary to carry out assigned missions is provided.

C. Standards for Determining Telephone Station Requirements.

1. Telephone Instruments.

a. Telephones will be provided only for employees whose duties require official calls.

b. One telephone instrument will serve the needs of two or more persons at adjacent desks, unless the call volume is sufficiently high that sharing will adversely affect operations.

c. One instrument in an office occupied by only one employee will be the standard practice unless special operation needs justify an additional instrument.

d. The type of station to be installed will be selected by determining which equipment will satisfy the requirement at the least cost.

2. Six Button Sets. Six button sets are standard and will be provided where traffic volume and work methods require an instrument to have access to more than one line, and at secretarial locations to permit answering calls for several persons on more than one line.

3. Ten/Twenty Button Key Stations. Ten and twenty button key sets are designed primarily for secretarial use and may be provided only when the number of lines required exceeds the capacity of the standard six-button key set.

4. Speaker Phones. Speaker phones may be provided only where there is frequent need for group participation in telephone conversations.

5. Primary and Secondary Lines. One primary line is adequate for 30 average-length calls made or received each day by an office. Where more than one line is necessary, the use of rotary numbers will provide for a considerable increase in the incoming call-handling capability over the same number of individual non-rotary lines. One telephone line will serve the needs of two persons unless the call volume is extremely high. Telephone line assignments are based on the number of professional staff in an organization.

6. Special Service and Equipment.

a. Auto-call devices, such as pocket pagers, may be provided only for use in connection with emergency activities and in unusual operating situations.

b. Installation of listening-in circuits, transmitter cutoff switches, and other devices for recording and listening to telephone conversations is prohibited.

c. Ring transfer devices will be installed only where there is a valid operational requirement. Ring transfer to more than one location will not be permitted.

7. Exceptions or deviations from these standards must be requested in writing through administrative channels to the Division of Information Resources Management (HFA-80). Appropriate justification must accompany the request.

D. Long Distance Service.

The Federal Telecommunications System (FTS) is to be used for placing official long distance calls. The FTS is to be used instead of the commercial long distance network for official calls. Unofficial calls may not be placed over any network even if the employee's intention is to reimburse the Government for the cost of the call.

1. Long distance telephone calls shall not be placed over the commercial network unless they have prior approval of supervisory personnel. Supervisory personnel shall consider the following before authorizing long distance commercial calls:

a. Repeated attempts to use the FTS have failed.

b. Immediate official action is required as a result of an emergency, illness, or injury.

c. A monetary loss to the Government may result if a lower or less expensive method or network is used.

2. Brief personal calls may be placed over the commercial long distance network if the calls are not charged to the Government. The call must be:

a. Charged to the employee's home phone number.

b. Charged to the called party (collect call).

c. Made to an 800 toll free number.

d. Charged to a personal telephone credit card.

3. Official long distance commercial calls placed from outside the office and charged to the office telephone number are prohibited. Such calls shall be made on a reimbursable basis.

A brief personal call may be placed over the FTS under the following circumstances:

a. Calls to notify family, doctor, etc., when an employee is injured on the job.

b. An employee traveling on Government business is delayed due to official business or transportation delay, and calls to notify family of a schedule change.

c. An employee traveling for more than one night on Government business in the U.S. makes a brief call to his or her residence (but not more than an average of one call per day).

d. An employee is required to work overtime without advance notice and calls within the local commuting area (the area from which the employee regularly commutes) to advise his or her family of the change in schedule, or to make alternate transportation or child care arrangements.

e. An employee makes a brief daily call to locations within the local commuting area to speak to spouse or minor children (or those responsible for them, e.g., school or day-care center).

f. An employee makes brief calls to locations within the local commuting area that can be reached only during working hours, such as a local government agency or physician.

g. An employee makes brief calls to locations within the local commuting area to arrange for emergency repairs to his or her residence or automobile. Such calls should be made during lunch, break, or other off- duty periods if possible.

4. Since the commercial toll billing statements are provided by the vendor approximately two months after the date of a call, a monthly record or log for recording commercial long-distance calls should be used for verification and certification purposes Form FDA 1870 is to be used for this purpose.

5. In the event commercial long-distance calls are made in lieu of utilizing the FTS, a certification shall be made by the responsible supervisory official to the effect that the telephone calls listed on the commercial toll statement for calls made by personnel of his organization were official business and necessary in the interest of the Government.

6. Should the supervisory official determine that certain calls appearing on the commercial long-distance toll statement were not official, action should be taken immediately to gain reimbursement to the Government. A check or money order (only) payable to the Food and Drug Administration covering the cost of the call, plus an amount to cover administrative costs, must be forwarded to the Division of Information Resources Management (HFA-80) for the Washington Metropolitan Area, and to the Administrative Officer in the case of a particular field activity.

7. Long-distance calls that are unidentifiable must not be certified, but must be noted accordingly and returned to the Division of Information Resources Management (HFA-80) at headquarters, or the responsible Administrative Officer at a particular field activity for investigational follow-up.

E. Telephone Credit Cards.

1. Telephone credit cards may be issued to officials of the Agency who have a need to place official long-distance calls from non-Government telephones.

2. In no case will credit cards be used for making personal calls even though it is the intention to pay the charges when the call is billed.

3. The Division of Information Resources Management will control and issue telephone credit cards based upon program requirements.

F. Conference Calls.

1. Telephone conference calls to offices and installations connected to the FTS within the continental United States, except Alaska, are to be placed over the FTS. The procedures for placing a telephone conference call can be found in the FDA Locator Directory.

2. All other conference calls must be placed through the commercial conference operator.

G. Calls Between the Continental United States. Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Alaska, and Canada.

1. Official calls between the continental United Sates, Hawaii, Alaska, and Puerto Rico, are to be placed via the FTS. The procedures for placing such calls can be found in the FDA Locator Directory.

2. Calls to Canada and overseas must be placed over the commercial network.