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Outline: Digital Governance Policy


  • Purpose of the document
  • Scope (e.g., these policies apply to internet, intranet, other web management activities)


  • Describes key members, by title, of the agency’s web governance structure and their roles.

  • Highest ranking official (function owner)

    • Top organization officials (both Headquarters and Field)
    • Public Affairs
    • Chief Information Officer
    • Chief Procurement Officer
    • Web Manager(s)
    • Web Team
    • Web Coordinators or staff level people who routinely create and maintain content for the Website
    • Web Council (if you have one)
    • New Media Director
  • Key Relationships

    • How the Web Manager relates to the other members of the governance structure
    • How the players relate to each other (the pecking order!)


  • Purpose: Describe the purpose of your website(s)
    • What the website is intended to do
    • Who the website is intended to serve
    • Overarching philosophy used to guide content mgmt
  • Content Parameters: For example:
    • Only official agency content will appear on the websites
    • Agency will not host web pages for private organizations, including employee organizations.
    • OMB policy requires all official government content must use .gov, .mil, or domain;
    • therefore, the agency will use the .XXX domain for all website(s).
    • The agency will have only one official website
    • Content will be hosted by the agency and official agency contractors
  • Content Jurisdictions: For example:
    • Content should not be duplicated within the agency’s websites.
    • Headquarters offices, exclusively, should create content that is generic in nature – that is, content that applies across the Department.
    • Field offices should create content that is “inherently local” in nature – that is, content that is known, collected, and/or maintained only at the local level.
  • Compliance with Laws, Regulations, and Governmentwide Policies
    • Privacy
    • Accessibility
    • Web Records Management
    • Copyright and property rights laws and regulations
    • Information Quality
    • Public Access - provide information and data in an industry standard format that ensures that the public will have maximum access.
    • Security
    • Information Collection
    • Paperwork Elimination
    • Lobbying (prohibits lobbying)
    • Providing Content in Other Languages
    • Search Capability: The search capability must comply with OMB requirements to permit searching of all files intended for public use, display search results in order of relevancy, and respond in times commensurate with industry best practices.
    • Linking Policy
    • Other Legal and Regulatory Requirements for federal websites:
      • Privacy Policy;
      • A link to information about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), including the procedure for submitting a FOIA request;
      • A copy of the Department’s annual performance plans (required by the Government Performance and Results Act);
      • A copy of the Department’s strategic plan (required by the E-Government Act of 2002);
      • The Department’s mission and statutory authority;
      • Information about equal opportunity in employment (required by the No Fear Act, Public Law 107-174);
      • A point of contact for small businesses (required by the Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002);
      • A link to, the official web portal for the U.S. Government; and
      • Other information or links required by the Office of Management and Budget in compliance with the E-Government Act of 2002.
    • Inventory of Web Content to be Published: To comply with Section 207 (f)(2) of the EGovernment Act of 2002 and subsequent policy guidance from OMB
    • Open Government Directive
  • Web-generated email policy
  • Advertising on the website
  • Policy on use of the agency’s official seal on the website(s) or on partner sites
  • Policy on the agency’s participation in interagency websites
  • Policy on developing “generic” web technologies (so that sub-organizations aren’t duplicating efforts
  • Policy on online discussions (“real-time” chats, open discussion rooms, etc.) – who can authorize them; how they can be used
  • Policy on webcasts – who can authorize them; how they can be used
  • Policy on mailing Lists – who can authorize them; how they can be used
  • Policy on calendars – who can authorize them; how they can be used
  • Policy on blogs, wikis, and other new technologies and capabilities
  • Policy on social media (who can set up accounts, parameters, review, etc.)


  • Describes policies/procedures to prevent fraud, waste, abuse, and mismanagement of government websites, for example:
    • Content review requirements
      • For example, content must be reviewed at least once a quarter
    • Control of posting rights
    • Controls over file ownership – particularly if contractors are used to create or manage official agency information
    • Emergency procedures – how content should be handled in emergencies
    • Requirements for content coordination and approval
    • Controls over domains
    • Controls over applications development, coordination, and testing

Laws, Regulations, and Government-wide Policies and Guidance That Affect Digital Management

It’s a good idea to append a list of all the specific laws and requirements that apply to web content management. These should include (but are not limited to) the following. Check for the most current list.


  • E-Government Act of 2002
  • Privacy Act of 1974
  • Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA):
  • Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Freedom of Information Act
  • Section 515 of the Treasury and General Government Appropriations Act for Fiscal Year 2001: Public
  • Law 106-554, “Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of
  • Information Disseminated by Federal Organizations”:
  • Paperwork Reduction Act: Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA)
  • Digital Millennium Copyright Act
  • Copyright Law
  • U.S. Trademark Law
  • U.S. Patent Law, U.S. Code 35, Chapter 26
  • Government Performance Results Act of 1993
  • No Fear Act Notification and Federal Employee Anti-discrimination and Retaliation of 2002 (No Fear Act)
  • Public Law No. 107-174
  • Small Business Paperwork Relief Act of 2002
  • “Prohibition of Lobbying,” Title 18, Section 1913 of the U.S. Code

OMB Requirements

  • OMB Memorandum M-05-04, “Policies for Federal Agency Public Websites”
  • OMB Circular A-130, “Management of Federal Information Resources”
  • OMB Memorandum 03-22, OMB Guidance for Implementing the Privacy Provisions of the E-Government
  • Act of 2002
  • Guidance from OMB: “Paperwork Requirements”
  • OMB memorandum M-04-25, “Reporting Instructions for the Federal Information Security Management
  • Act and Updated Guidance on Quarterly IT Security Reporting”
  • OMB Circular A-123: Management Accountability and Control
  • Open Government Directive, issued December 8, 2009

Other Governmentwide Requirements and Guidance

  • Guidance for Implementing Section 508 (Accessibility)
  • Implementation guidance from the Department of Justice on implementing FOIA
  • Executive Order 13166, “Improving Access to Services for People with Limited English Proficiency”
  • Department of Justice guidance for implementing the Executive Order on access for people with limited
  • English proficiency. This includes guidance on federal public websites.
  • Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), Parts 1220—1238 (records management)
  • National Institute of Standards and Technology Special Publication 800-44, “Guidelines on Securing Public Web Servers”
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