July 6, 1995
TO: Designated Agency Ethics Officials
FROM: Stephen D. Potts Director
SUBJECT: Ethics Training Regulation Update
The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) is currently engaged in a complete evaluation of its regulations governing Executive Agency Ethics Training Programs (Training Regulation), located at subpart G of 5 C.F.R. part 2638. One aspect of the Training Regulation that is likely to be changed is the requirement, found at 5 C.F.R. § 2638.702(a)(3), that each agency submit a written plan for annual ethics training to OGE by August 31 of each year providing information concerning the agency's annual training for the following calendar year. OGE believes that this requirement, while appropriate during the period when agencies were first establishing their annual ethics training programs, is no longer necessary in its current form. Accordingly, OGE will NOT require agencies to submit a written plan for annual ethics training to OGE for CY 1996.
Agencies will still be required to develop annual agency ethics training plans and to maintain them at the agency. This will comply with the requirement found at § 301(c) of Executive Order 12674, as modified by Executive Order 12731. When OGE's Program Review Division conducts a review of an agency's ethics program, it will verify that an agency has completed the required training plan for the calendar year in which the review occurs. Thus the annual agency ethics training plans will be treated in the same fashion as other agency materials, such as an agency's procedures for reviewing financial disclosure statements, during a program review. Pending the completion of OGE's evaluation of the Training Regulation, each agency's annual agency ethics training plan should include the items set forth in 5 C.F.R. § 2638.702(a)(3), as amended by 59 Federal Register 12145 (March 16, 1994). An agency should therefore have their plan completed by January 1 of the calendar year covered by the plan.
Section 301(c) of Executive Order 12674 also requires agencies to coordinate with OGE in developing these plans. Such coordination can include: consulting with OGE concerning upcoming OGE training materials, including videotapes, that may be useful in administering an agency's training program; contacting OGE's Ethics Information Center to obtain training materials from other executive branch agencies that may be adapted to an agency's needs; or consulting with OGE concerning other issues or problems an agency is facing in providing ethics training.
As noted earlier, OGE's evaluation of the Training Regulation is continuing. Agencies that wish to submit ideas concerning the Training Regulation should send their ideas in writing to OGE, attention John C. Condray, Attorney-Advisor. OGE has already received a number of useful suggestions from the Ethics Trainers' Partnership, and encourages others to submit their ideas as well.