1.55.5  Employee Suggestion Program

1.55.5.1  (05-31-2004)
Background

  1. The Employee Suggestion Program (ESP) constitutes a contractual obligation between employees and management. Employees are encouraged to submit acceptable ideas and management agrees to consider granting an appropriate award for those adopted.

  2. The terms of the ESP are outlined in the National Agreement and the Memorandum of Understanding between the National Treasury Employees Union (NTEU) and the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) regarding the Employee Suggestion Program.

  3. The ESP is based on the following fundamental concepts:

    • The individual closest to the job is in the best position to recommend improvements for the particular function, process, or operation

    • No one employee, supervisor or manager has all of the good ideas in any organization

    • The ESP has proven itself cost effective

    • Management must effectively administer the program to assure maximum benefit is derived

  4. In FY 2005, W&I employees submitted more than 2,153 suggestions for improvements. We continue to encourage all employees to utilize the program to identify barriers to providing good customer service and improve employee work environments.

  5. Additional guidelines, definition of terms, employee rights, etc. can be found at the Agency Wide Shared Services ESP electronic database located at http://esp.web.irs.gov/Default.asp?DestinationURL=Home.asp .

1.55.5.2  (05-31-2004)
What is the Employee Suggestion Program (ESP)?

  1. The ESP is an ideal means for recognizing process improvement efforts of employees. The program provides employees the opportunity to present a proposal they believe will increase productivity, save time, and/or money to better serve the IRS. In return, the IRS gives recognition, positive reinforcement, and rewards to employees who make a special contribution or effort outside the scope of their normal duties as determined by the evaluator and approving official. It is important for all W&I Division managers/coordinators to have a working knowledge of all aspects of the ESP.

  2. Individuals or groups of employees may receive awards for adopted suggestions; however, the worth of all the excellent suggestions approved cannot be measured only in dollars. Suggestions with intangible benefits also bring improvement in public services, better procedures, and enhanced customer service. Suggestions with both tangible and intangible benefits are eligible for a cash award.

  3. See Exhibit 1.55.5-1. for "Frequently Asked Questions" regarding the ESP.

1.55.5.3  (05-31-2004)
Glossary

  1. Suggestion - A voluntary, written proposal submitted by an employee identifying and describing a specific need for improvement, proposing a solution, or specific improvement to an existing situation. Two or more employees may jointly submit an idea and any award granted is shared equally. If a suggestion applies to more than one responsible office, the office in which the suggesting employee resides makes a determination of the "Office of Primary Interest (OPI)" . The OPI is responsible for coordinating the evaluation of the suggestion with all responsible offices to which the suggestion applies.

  2. Suggestion Evaluation - The process of promptly identifying and analyzing the costs, benefits, advantages, disadvantages, determining the feasibility of a suggestion, determining if the suggestion should be implemented, and recommending an award.

  3. Suggestion Evaluator- A person (or persons) who is (are) qualified and authorized to coordinate or perform the evaluation of a suggestion. The evaluator develops supporting documentation and recommendations for consideration by the approving official.

  4. Approving Official - A person with the authority to determine if a suggestion is implemented. Frequently, the determination of the person with authority to make such a decision must be on a case-by-case basis depending upon the circumstances surrounding each suggestion. It is not possible, in some cases, for a single person to decide if a change is made. A decision may require the concurrence of several individuals who may be in other functions or operations within the organization. In this case, the "approving official" , who is the person with the primary program interest in the change, is responsible for obtaining any concurrence(s) required to implement the suggestion.

  5. Feasibility - A suggestion is evaluated using two principal criteria: feasibility and cost/benefit ratio. In this context, a suggestion is feasible if it is possible to implement. A suggestion may not be feasible because of a lack of resources, a conflict with existing law or departmental policy that cannot be changed, or other appropriate reasons.

  6. Benefits - The net gain to the government that can be expected to result from instituting the change. The concept includes both tangible and intangible benefits.

    • Tangible Benefits : Improvements that can be identified entirely in terms of a dollar amount: e.g., labor, space, and equipment

    • Intangible Benefitss: Generally these benefits cannot be expressed entirely in dollar terms, so they are usually more difficult to determine; however, they must be considered. Examples are: decreased employee turnover; improved morale; internal and external customer satisfaction; etc.

  7. Suggestion Award - When the Service adopts an employee suggestion and determines the suggestion provides tangible benefits, intangible benefits, or both, the Service grants the employee a suggestion award. The award may be paid in cash, time off from work, or a combination of both. Once an award is approved for a suggestion, the suggestion becomes the exclusive property of the United States Government.

  8. Employee Suggestion Program Manager: A program manager is responsible for overseeing and administering the employee suggestion program. This person typically determines practices and policies specific to their parent organization and ensures suggestions are evaluated and processed timely.

  9. Local/Campus Coordinators: A local/Campus coordinator is appointed at the lowest level of the organization to help employees prepare and review suggestions. They ensure suggestions are completed and evaluated timely. Local/Campus coordinators are generally the closest to the employee.

  10. Organization Units within Wage & Investment (CARE, CAS, Compliance, etc.)

  11. Additional terms are defined on the Agency Wide Shared Services (AWSS) ESP electronic database located at http://esp.web.irs.gov/Default.asp?DestinationURL=Home.asp .

1.55.5.4  (05-31-2004)
Required Forms for the ESP

  1. The ESP requires the completion of several forms. These forms are:

    • Form 13380, "I Suggest... " (Cat. # 35445D)

    • Form 2665, Suggestion Evaluation (Cat. # 18756Z)

    • Form 13245, "I Suggest " Transmittal Form (Cat. # 33985Y)

    • Form 9127, Recommendation for Recognition (Cat. # 10745Q)

  2. These forms may be obtained from the Electronic Publishing web site at http://publish.no.irs.gov/catlg.html by using the catalog or form number.

    Note:

    If a suggestion is being submitted on the AWSS electronic database, Form 13245 must be included as an attachment to the suggestion.

1.55.5.5  (05-31-2004)
What's My Role?

  1. This section explains the roles of the following positions:

    • Suggester

    • Suggester's Manager

    • Local/Campus ESP Coordinator

    • Local/Campus ESP Evaluator

    • HQ ESP Manager

    • HQ ESP Functional Coordinator

    • HQ ESP Evaluator

    • Local/Campus Approving Official

    • HQ Approving Official

1.55.5.5.1  (05-31-2004)
Suggester

  1. "Suggester" is the actual employee who has the idea.

  2. In order to participate in the ESP, you must submit your suggestion on the AWSS electronic database. ( See IRM 1.55.5.6. ).

    Note:

    If the employee and/or their local coordinator do not have access to a computer, employees are still permitted to submit a signed Form 13380, adhering to the suggestion criteria, ( See IRM 1.55.5.6.) through their manager or local suggestion coordinator.

  3. The suggestion must be a constructive proposal directly contributing to the economy, efficiency or increased effectiveness of government operations. The suggestion must contain specific details identifying the " what" , the "how" , and the benefit of the change. The suggestion should be clearly stated how the desired outcome should look, the cost benefit, etc. See IRM 1.55.5.6. for criteria for the ESP.

  4. The suggestion should include the following three elements:

    • Statement of the problem or the present situation

    • Proposed solution to the problem

    • Possible benefits of the ideas to the Government

  5. The "I Suggest" check sheet ( See Exhibit 1.55.5-2.) gives some very useful pointers to use in completing the form.

1.55.5.5.2  (05-31-2004)
Suggester's Manager

  1. The Suggester Manager's Role:

    1. Managers should promote employee participation in the ESP; the ESP is a vehicle for employees to become involved in improving organizational processes that can enhance balanced measures

    2. Managers should ensure employees have access to the necessary information and forms to assist in developing and submitting improvements through the ESP using the AWSS electronic database or Form 13380 , if access to the AWSS database is not available

    3. Managers represent the primary source for allowing official time and providing advice and assistance in completing suggestions; it is important managers review suggestions ensuring there is clarity and the change is addressed adequately, including benefits and cost savings

    4. Managers receiving suggestions also are responsible for ensuring suggestions are forwarded to the appropriate local/Campus ESP Coordinator

    5. Managers should review suggestions ensuring they are not clearly within the employees job responsibilities, unless they are so superior and/or meritorious that it warrants special consideration

1.55.5.5.3  (05-31-2004)
Local/Campus ESP Coordinator

  1. Specific duties include:

    1. Reviewing the Form 13380, ensuring it is complete and meets program criteria

    2. Reviewing the Form 13245 and completing the bottom portion of the form

    3. Inputting the suggestion on the AWSS electronic database if the employee does not have access ( See IRM 1.55.5.7.)

    4. Assist employee in preparing suggestions and cost benefit data

    5. Sending the Suggester an acknowledgement letter within seven days after receipt of the suggestion by the coordinator

    6. Assigning the suggestion to Local/Campus ESP Evaluator

    7. Handling all completed suggestion evaluations from Local/Campus ESP Evaluator ( See IRM 1.55.5.5.4.)

    8. Completing actions for adopted suggestions ( See IRM 1.55.5.9.)

1.55.5.5.4  (05-31-2004)
Local/Campus ESP Evaluator

  1. W&I Site ESP Evaluators (subject matter experts) must complete their evaluation within 30 days from the date they receive the suggestion case package. Evaluators unable to meet this time frame must ensure an interim reply is made to the Suggester identifying the reason for the delay and when a full evaluation report can be expected. Suggesters must be kept informed of the status of their suggestions and provided expected completion dates throughout the evaluation process.

  2. Specific duties include:

    1. Receiving suggestion from Local/Campus ESP Coordinator

    2. Preparing Form 2665

    3. Reviewing and perfecting the cost benefit analysis

    4. Contacting the Suggester (as needed) to clarify the suggestion and perfect cost benefit analysis

    5. Preparing decision letter for approving official's signature if the suggestion is rejected or adopted at local level

    6. Recommending referral to W&I Headquarters (HQ) if national application is determined

    7. Obtaining Approving Official's signature on Form 2665 and Form 9127

    8. Returning completed case to Local/Campus ESP Coordinator

1.55.5.5.5  (05-31-2004)
Headquarters (HQ) ESP Manager

  1. Specific responsibilities include:

    1. Receiving the suggestion from the Local/Campus ESP Coordinator through the AWSS electronic database

    2. Assigning the suggestion to HQ ESP Functional (e.g. CAS, Compliance, and CARE) Coordinator or another Business Operating Division within five days of receipt (per Memorandum of Understanding or MOU)

    3. Receiving decision letters and original Form 9127 and Form 2665 from the HQ ESP Functional Coordinator

    4. Reviewing the suggestion ensuring the information is clear and concise

    5. Providing technical support for the ESP web site

    6. Providing coordinators/evaluators guidance and direction on ESP responsibilities

    7. Negotiating concerns/issues raised by the operating units with Human Capital Office and NTEU

    8. Forwarding all adopted suggestion packages to the AWSS Awards Coordinator

    9. Marketing of the program

    10. Preparing reports depicting trends, volume, aging, etc.

      Note:

      The Servicewide ESP Program Office address is:
      Internal Revenue Service
      Agency Wide Shared Services
      Servicewide Employee Suggestion Program Office
      Martinsburg Computing Center
      A:PS:CAD:W
      Mail Stop 210
      250 Murall Drive
      Kearneysville, WV 25430
      FAX No. 304-264-7046

    11. Establishing policy and procedures within the Wage and Investment Division

    12. Monitoring and tracking suggestions

1.55.5.5.6  (05-31-2004)
HQ ESP Functional Coordinator

  1. Specific responsibilities include:

    1. Receiving the suggestion from HQ ESP Manager

    2. Reviewing suggestions for appropriateness of assignment within 5 days of receipt from HQ

      Note:

      If the coordinator determines the suggestion is not correctly assigned, the coordinator negotiates a transfer to the correct Functional area and notifies HQ ESP Manager. If the transfer cannot be negotiated, the HQ ESP Manager is contacted for resolution. If the suggestion pertains to another Business Operating Division program area, the suggestion is returned to the HQ ESP Manager for proper assignment through the electronic database.

    3. Negotiating with other functional coordinators determining if a suggestion needs to be reassigned; this should be done within 5 days after the original assignment by the HQ ESP Manager

    4. Sending the employee an acknowledgement letter within 10 days (per the MOU) of receipt of the suggestion; advise the employee what functional area will work the suggestion and the estimated completion date

      Note:

      If the suggestion is reassigned to another function, another acknowledgement letter should be sent by the receiving function. This step must be repeated any time a transfer occurs to keep the employee apprised of the status of their suggestion.

    5. Assigning/transmitting suggestions to the appropriate HQ ESP Evaluator

    6. Receiving completed suggestion packages from the HQ ESP Evaluator

  2. If the suggestion is not adopted at the HQ Level:

    1. Send a decision letter to the Suggester.

    2. Send a copy of the decision letter and Form 2665 to the HQ ESP Manager

    3. Send a copy of the decision letter and Form 2665 to the Local/Campus ESP Coordinator

    4. Send a copy of the decision letter and Form 2665 to the applicable Business Operating Division when the suggestion is not from a W&I employee

    5. Close the suggestion on the ESP electronic database.

  3. If a suggestion is adopted at the National Level:

    1. Send the decision letter to the Suggester

    2. Send the original Form 9127, Form 2665, and a copy of the decision letter to the HQ ESP Manager for routing to AWSS

    3. Send a copy of the Form 9127, Form 2665, and the decision letter to the HQ ESP Manager

    4. Send a copy of the decision letter and Form 2665 to the applicable Business Operating Division when the suggestion is not from a W&I employee

    5. Close the suggestion on the ESP electronic database

  4. See http://esp.web.irs.gov/ for a listing of coordinators.

1.55.5.5.7  (05-31-2004)
HQ ESP Evaluator

  1. Functional coordinators rely on subject-matter-experts (SME) to complete the evaluations. The evaluations must be completed as quickly as possible. If the time frame set forth in the acknowledgement letter cannot be met, an interim reply must be made to the Suggester identifying the reasons for delay and when a full evaluation report can be expected.

  2. A Suggester must be kept informed of the status of their suggestion and be provided with expected dates of completion throughout the evaluation process.

  3. Specific responsibilities include:

    1. Completing Form 2665

    2. Preparing the cost benefit analysis (tangible, intangible benefits) at the National level

    3. Preparing the decision letter and Form 9127when applicable

1.55.5.5.8  (05-31-2004)
Local/Campus Approving Official

  1. Local/Campus Approving Officials are managers with the authority to determine if a suggestion is forwarded for Servicewide consideration or declined at the site or local level. This determination is made on a case-by-case basis depending on the subject matter of the suggestion and its scope or application in the business unit. A second level manager is the lowest layer of management designated as an approving official.

  2. Servicewide Delegation Order Number. 81 (see IRM 1.2.45.6) and W&I Division Delegation Order WI-81-2 (see IRM 1.55.1.1.13), Authority to Approve Awards, are used to determine the officials authorized to approve.

  3. Specific responsibilities include signing Form 9127.

1.55.5.5.9  (05-31-2004)
HQ Approving Official

  1. HQ Approving Officials are managers with the authority to determine if a suggestion is implemented on a service wide basis. Frequently, determination of the person with authority to make such a decision must be on a case-by-case basis depending on the circumstances surrounding each suggestion. It is not possible, in some cases, for a single person to decide if a change is made.

  2. A decision may require the concurrence of several individuals who may be in other parts of the organization. In this case, the "approving official" with primary interest in the program change is responsible for obtaining concurrence(s) required to implement the suggestion.

  3. Servicewide Delegation Order Number. 81 (see IRM 1.2.45.6) and W&I Division Delegation Order WI-81-2 (see IRM 1.55.1.1.13), Authority to Approve Awards, are used to determine the officials authorized to approve.

  4. Specific responsibilities include signing Form 9127.

1.55.5.6  (05-31-2004)
Criteria for the ESP

  1. Each suggestion must be submitted on the new AWSS electronic web site. If an employee and/or coordinator does not have access to a computer, the suggestion can be submitted on Form 13380. The form must be fully completed, signed and dated. See Exhibit 1.55.5-2., "I Suggest" Check sheet.

  2. In order to be considered an acceptable suggestion, the suggestion must be constructive, such as:

    • Contributing to the economy

    • Contributing to efficiency

    • Directly increasing effectiveness of IRS operations

  3. The following are generally three elements of a suggestion:

    • Statement of the problem

    • Proposed solution to the problem

    • Possible benefits (including cost benefit) of the idea(s) to the operations

    Caution:

    Suggestions not containing these elements are returned to the Suggester and not considered for adoption.

1.55.5.6.1  (05-31-2004)
Exclusions from the Employee Suggestion Program

  1. The following types of suggestions will not be considered for the W&I ESP:

    • Suggestions currently under consideration

    • Suggestions considered within the preceding two years

    • Suggestions not the Suggester's own idea; however, the suggestion may be considered if a different solution is proposed

    • Complaints, grievances or other proposals that not including a constructive and specific means for improving operations of the Service

    • Suggestions to correct typographical errors in printing

    • Suggestions calling attention to the need for routine maintenance and repair work

    • Suggestions to improve work conditions, e.g., air conditioning, decorations or furniture

    • Suggestions of routine or normal safety practices

    • Suggestions where the potential tangible and intangible benefits do not offset the cost of implementing the suggestions

    • Suggestions for employee services and benefits, e.g., vending machines, cafeteria services, rest room facilities, parking facilities, or holidays

    • Suggestions clearly within job responsibilities, unless they are so superior and/or meritorious that it warrants special consideration

1.55.5.7  (05-31-2004)
Suggestion Identification Numbers

  1. The electronic database assigns identification numbers to suggestions. Suggestion identification numbers consist of a two-digit division code, a two-digit function code, a two-to-four digit office code, two-digit fiscal year and the sequence number.

    Example:

    01-91-0026-02-XXX

  2. Organizational office codes are available at http://152.217.41.30/orgcodes.htm.

    • Select the desired report providing the operating division, function and office codes

      Example:

      The left-most number represents the Business Operating Division (BOD) or Function code; the next level code is for an organization within that BOD/Function. "40" is the W&I (Non-Campus) organizational code and "43" is the organizational code for the non-campus W&I Compliance organization.

    • The fiscal year is the last two digits of the current fiscal year

      Example:

      2003 will be "03" .

    • The sequence number is the next one you receive in your office and is typically three characters in length

1.55.5.8  (05-31-2004)
Completed Suggestion Evaluation

  1. After receipt of a completed Suggestion Evaluation, Form 2665and Form 13380from Local/Campus ESP Evaluator, the Local/Campus ESP Coordinator should complete the steps in IRM 1.55.5.9 Adopted Suggestions and refer to the following table:

    If a suggestion is
    Adopted Not adopted
    Forward the case to the W&I Headquarters Coordinator for national evaluation Send decision letter to the Suggester
    Send an interim decision letter to the Suggester Close the case. See IRM 1.55.5.13. for additional information

    Note:

    If the suggestion is submitted on the AWSS electronic database, the above steps are completed electronically.

1.55.5.9  (05-31-2004)
Adopted Suggestions

  1. After receipt of a decision letter from the HQ ESP evaluator, the HQ ESP functional coordinator attaches a copy of the letter to the suggestion in the AWSS electronic database.

  2. If the suggestion is adopted for national application:

    1. Attach a copy of the decision letter, Form 2665 , and sanitized Form 9127to the suggestion in the AWSS electronic database

    2. Close the suggestion in the AWSS electronic database

      Note:

      See IRM 1.55.5.13.1. for contents of a closed case file

    3. Coordinate with the appropriate W&I HQ Manager(s) to recognize the employee and suggestion in any local newsletter and on the W&I Employee Suggestion Program web site at http://win.web.irs.gov.

  3. If the suggestion is not adopted for national application, but adopted for local application:

    1. Prepare Form 9127

    2. Attach the site prepared Form 2665

    3. Obtain an Approving Official Signature on Form 2665and Form 9127

    4. Send decision letter to the Suggester

    5. Coordinate with the embedded Communications & Liaison representative to recognize the employee by publishing the adopted suggestions in the local newsletter and on the W&I Employee Suggestion Program web page at http://win.web.irs.gov/esp.htm

    6. Route a copy of the decision letter and original Form 2665and Form 9127to the Headquarters Coordinator for transmittal to the AWSS Awards Coordinator

    7. W&I Local ESP Coordinators retain closed suggestion cases and attach a copy of letters to the AWSS electronic database

      Note:

      See IRM 1.55.5.13.for additional information.

    Note:

    Suggestions broad in scope (impacting another BOD/Function), exceeding Local/Campus ESP evaluation parameters, are forwarded to the HQ ESP Manager through the AWSS electronic database. The HQ ESP Manager forwards the suggestion to the appropriate Operating Division/Function for evaluation.

1.55.5.10  (05-31-2004)
Suggestions to Change Forms and Publications

  1. Public-use forms are the principal contact between the IRS (aka the "Service" ) and taxpayers; internal use forms are the most commonly used tools by Service employees. Program officials are required to periodically review their forms to determine if technical accuracy is maintained and to initiate forms revision.

  2. Employees frequently submit ideas for consideration in the review process. Suggestions are also obtained from the general public on publicly used forms.

  3. Costs associated with frequent revision of forms are substantial. Many forms must be coordinated with the tax-filing period or work processing schedules. Changes to some forms are considered on an annual basis. Other forms are considered for revision on schedules related to such factors as their usage, procurement method, and distribution pattern. For these and other reasons, suggestions for form change cannot always be processed immediately or on an individualized basis. As a result, the Forms Idea Bank concept was devised, allowing program officials to pool ideas for consideration when a particular form is reviewed. Thus, all suggestions are considered in the revision of a form at one time resulting in a more efficient and cost effective forms management program.

  4. Annual forms are reviewed every year for possible revision. Annual forms are forms having the four-digit year identified at the top, i.e., 1999, 2000, etc. Although a form is scheduled for revision every year, this does not mean changes will be made. Some annual forms do not require changes every year.

  5. Continuous-Use forms are reviewed every three years for possible revision. Continuous-use forms are not marked with the year at the top and in the lower right corner, you will see in parentheses "Rev. month/year" .

    Example:

    If a form was last revised in December, 2002, the form displays, in the lower left corner, a revision date of "12-2002" .

    Because these forms are designed for long-term use, sometimes they are only revised to change the revision date.

  6. On both types of forms, however, there may be a time when a change is made before the scheduled revision date. This usually happens when new legislation is enacted affecting the IRS.

  7. Before a form is placed in the Forms Idea Bank, an initial review is done to determine if the change proposal was previously made and its merits/feasibility.

1.55.5.10.1  (04-01-2007)
W&I Policy on Suggestions Concerning Forms

  1. Any suggestions associated with the Customer Assistance, Relationships and Education (CARE), Media and Publication (M&P) Division, such as suggested changes to publications, form, worksheets or letters/notices in part or full are covered by this policy.

  2. A policy was enacted because suggestions are not always clearly divided into precise categories concerning one organization/BOD; M&P does not have the technical expertise to evaluate all aspects of every suggestion.

  3. CARE uses the same criteria concerning changes to publications, forms, worksheets or letters/notices that the Modernization and Information Technology Services (MITS) Operating Division uses in accepting a suggestion entailing a programming change. In most cases, the organization/BOD affected by the suggestion is in the best position to evaluate the acceptability of a suggestion. Once the organization/BOD recommends the suggestion for adoption, CARE/M&P will apply its own criteria for judging if a change can or should be made. While the final judgment is M&P's, the expertise to evaluate the operational portion of the suggestion usually lies only within affected (or " owner" organization/BOD.

  4. Suggestions dealing exclusively with:

    Taxpayer understanding of:
    • Publications

    • Forms

    • Worksheets

    • Letters/Notices

    Some issues concerning mailing  
    Some issues concerning electronic posting of:
    • Publications

    • Forms

    • Worksheets

    • Letters/Notices

  5. The above may be acceptable for evaluation by M&P, but only if the document in question is "owned" by them. M&P does not "own" all documents within the IRS, M&P product catalog, or M&P repository.

  6. Suggestions dealing in part with changes within an operational process (e.g., Submission Processing, Compliance, W&I or SB/SE) must first be adopted by the Operating Unit.

    Example:

    Adding boxes for Social Security Number (SSN) to filing status "4"

    Example:

    Moving the direct deposit boxes to a different location on Form 1040

    Example:

    Adding new codes to forms for internal use

  7. While it is acceptable for evaluators outside of CARE to talk to Tax Law Specialists (TLS) within M&P about issues raised in a suggestion, acceptance of a suggestion by M&P does not depend on TLS feedback. Acceptance of a suggestion for M&P is at the discretion of the ESP Program Manager; other interested parties within CARE determine if a suggestion is appropriate for M&P.

  8. Additionally, while a suggestion may be accepted for evaluation by CARE/M&P, further study might find a preliminary evaluation is required by other divisions; in such cases the suggestion is returned to the HQ ESP Program Manager for reassignment.

1.55.5.11  (05-31-2004)
How Much is My Suggestion Worth?

  1. Individuals or groups of employees may receive awards for adopted suggestions; however, the worth of an excellent suggestion approved cannot be measured only in dollars. See IRM 1.55.5.3.(6) for types of benefits. Suggestions may also bring improvements in public services, better procedures, and enhanced customer service. To calculate suggestion awards, see paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection.

  2. Tangible Suggestion Award Calculations - Employees whose suggestions have tangible benefits to the IRS receive an award in the amount of 25 percent of the Service's estimate of the suggestion's first-year net tangible benefits.

    1. An employee granted an award with tangible benefits may, within two years from the date of award, request in writing the Service recompute actual net tangible first-year benefits realized from implementing the suggestion

    2. If the actual net benefits exceed estimated benefits by at least 20 percent, or $2,500, whichever is less, the Service grants the employee an additional award based on the actual net tangible first-year benefits realized from implementing the suggestion

      Note:

      The amount of the additional award is calculated on the basis of the actual benefits (as recomputed by the Service), minus the amount of the award previously granted for the suggestion.

  3. Intangible Suggestion Award Calculations - Employees whose suggestions have Intangible Benefits to the IRS receive an award based on the value of the benefit and the extent of application. See Form 9127– Recommendation for Recognition

  4. Employees whose suggestions have both tangible and intangible benefits to the IRS receive an award based on the two calculations referenced in paragraphs (2) and (3) of this subsection.

  5. In accordance with 5 USC 4502, the total amount payable to an employee for an adopted suggestion, including any benefits associated with the suggestion's implementation, shall not exceed $50,000.

  6. Form 9127 will be updated to reflect new award amounts as established by the Memorandum of Understanding between NTEU and the IRS regarding the Employee Suggestion Program dated March 14, 2001. See IRM 3.30.10(Cost Estimate Reference) for additional information

1.55.5.12  (05-31-2004)
Reconsideration of Suggestion

  1. Suggesters with questions regarding their suggestions should contact their manager, site ESP Coordinator, HQ ESP Functional Coordinator or the HQ ESP Manager.

  2. A request for reconsideration must be submitted within two years after the final determination letter is completed and forwarded to your ESP Local/Campus ESP Coordinator. The ESP Local/Campus ESP Coordinator forwards the request to the HQ ESP Manager for reconsideration.

  3. Management officials may also initiate the request for reconsideration of a suggestion.

  4. Either the Suggester or the manager may submit a request for reconsideration if:

    1. They have information showing the suggestion was not properly evaluated

    2. They can provide new data or facts materially affecting the evaluator decision

    3. They can show the award amount was not properly derived

  5. If the supplemental information provided by the Suggester and a review of the suggestion file indicates reconsideration is warranted, the suggestion is reevaluated. If not warranted, the Suggester is advised why the suggestion will not be reevaluated. Simply disagreeing with the initial evaluation is not adequate grounds for reevaluation.

  6. Once the final determination is made, the Suggester is informed in writing.

1.55.5.13  (05-31-2004)
Retaining Employee Suggestion Documentation

  1. In accordance with IRM 1.15.3(Disposing of Records) each responsible office retains a record of all closed employee suggestions for a period of three (3) years after the final determination date for the following reasons:

    1. Prevent duplication by another Operating Division

    2. Prevent grievances by former Suggesters

    3. Ensuring a request for reconsideration is submitted within two years after the final determination letter

1.55.5.13.1  (05-31-2004)
Closed Suggestion Case Files

  1. Contents of a closed case file includes:

    • Headquarters Transmittal Letter/ "I Suggest" Transmittal, Form 13245,. completed and signed by appropriate officials

    • "I Suggest" Form ( Form 13380 ) with all attachments

    • Suggestion Evaluation ( Form 2665)

    • Recommendation for Recognition, ( Form 9127, when applicable)

    • Acknowledgement Letter(s)

    • Decision Letter(s)

1.55.5.14  (04-01-2007)
Suggestions Awards $10,000 or Greater

  1. Use the following procedures when an award is granted for an amount of $10,000 or more:

    1. Give a brief description of the change made by adopting the suggestion in plain language; what was the procedure/process before and how was the process changed by adopting the suggestion

    2. Outline the basis for estimating the tangible benefits associated with approving the suggestion

    3. Supplement the information regarding the computation of tangible benefits with an analysis supporting determination the adopted suggestion was "highly exceptional and unusually outstanding"

    4. Obtain approval for the suggestion and the amount of award up to $10,000 from the Commissioner, Internal Revenue Service. The Office of Personnel Management (OPM) will not approve amounts for award exceeding $10,000 unless it is clear the agency approved the award to the limit of its authority ($10,000)

    5. Include a copy of the employee position description and analysis outlining whether the contribution was within or outside the employee's job responsibilities

    6. If the employee left the Service, provide a "clear and unequivocal endorsement" certifying the employee has not been involved in any action or activity causing the President embarrassment for awards required to be signed by the President; this will be done by Human Capital Office (HCO)

    7. The suggestion file should follow normal signature package procedures to obtain the required signatures outlined in Delegation Order Number. 81 and W&I Division Delegation Order WI-81-2 , Authority to Approve Awards, for awards up to $10,000

      Note:

      See IRM 1.2.45.6 and IRM 1.55.1.1.13, Authority to Approve Awards. Delegation Order 193 governs amounts over $10,000. See IRM 1.2.40.19 for additional information.


      Awards to an individual in excess of $10,000 must be approved by OPM through the Department of Treasury. Awards in excess of $25,000 require Presidential approval

    8. A memorandum must be prepared on behalf of the Commissioner, Wage and Investment, to the Deputy Commissioner, Services and Enforcement, for approval of $10,000 awards

    9. A memorandum must be prepared on behalf of the Deputy Commissioner, Services and Enforcement, to the Treasury Department for award amounts over $10,000

1.55.5.15  (04-01-2007)
Suggestions That Impacts More Than One Office

  1. Apply the following procedures when a suggestion impacts more than one organization within W&I and/or another BOD:

    1. The HQ ESP Manager identifies a lead organization and/or BOD to take the lead in evaluating the suggestion

    2. The lead organization is determined based on the office that has program responsibility for the process and/or procedure being suggested; this normally is the office that benefits from the suggested change

    3. The HQ ESP Manager contacts the lead organization and/or Business Operating Division prior to assignment of the suggestion

    4. The lead organization and/or BOD assigns the suggestion to an analyst who is the subject matter expert to evaluate the suggestion

1.55.5.16  (04-01-2007)
Suggestions Sent To MITS For Feasibility Determination

  1. The following are guidelines For processing Suggestions requiring a feasibility determination from MITS:

    1. Program/Process Owners will make the initial determination/decision regarding benefit derived from the suggestion; feasibility of adopting the program change; ensuring availability of funding; analysis of program impact; etc.

    2. After the Program/Process Owner makes their preliminary determination that they want the suggestion adopted, the suggestion is routed to MITS (when further evaluation is required by MITS) via the automated ESP system for a feasibility determination addressing the automation or computer systems issues associated with the suggestion

    3. Once MITS completes review regarding automation/systems feasibility, MITS completes the Evaluation Form 2665documenting their evaluation and feasibility determination

    4. Upon completion of the Evaluation Form 2665, MITS returns the suggestion via the automated ESP system to the Program/Process Owner. The owner reviews MITS input and make a final determination about adoption

      Note:

      The Program/Process Owner is responsible for notifying the employee, preparing the closing letter and award form (when applicable) and processing the suggestion to closure.

    5. Prior to adopting the suggestion for implementation, the Program/Process Owner determines if funding is available

    6. If funding is not available and the suggestion cannot be implemented without funding, the suggestion is denied

    7. Program/Process Owners implement any suggestion approved for adoption; therefore, prior to approving a suggestion, the Program/Process Owner ensures they can implement the suggestion

    8. The Program/Process Owner is responsible for preparing and submitting a Unified Work Request (UWR), formerly a Request for Information Services (RIS); once MITS evaluates for feasibility, and all parties can support the suggestion, the Program/Process Owner develops and submits the UWR

      Note:

      The UWR should clearly state it is submitted as the result of an approved suggestion; ensure funding for the project is approved. If working the issue through management and/or responsible executives prior to submitting the UWR, ensure such steps are completed.

Exhibit 1.55.5-1  (05-31-2004)
Frequently Asked Questions

  1. Q. Why was the suggestion program changed?
    A. Employee suggestions for improvement are among any organization's best opportunities to enhance operations. IRS and the National Treasury Employee's Union (NTEU) agreed the suggestion program was not being operated efficiently and created barriers to prompt consideration of ideas for improvement; this may have discouraged employees from making suggestions.
    To remedy this, IRS and NTEU agreed to improve program operations and suggestion awards. Additionally, IRS management made several other operational changes designed to improve the effectiveness of the program.

  2. Q. How is the suggestion program being changed?
    A. Several changes, improving program operations and administration, include:

    • Increased suggestion award amounts

    • New suggestion processing standards

    • New employee grievance provisions

    • Management improvements resulting in faster and more efficient consideration of employee suggestions

    • A web-based Employee Suggestion database to transmit suggestions electronically

  3. Q. When will changes become effective?
    A. The changes to awards, processing times, and grievances are effective for suggestions submitted on or after April 14, 2001; the operating divisions and functions will announce other changes as they are implemented.

  4. Q. Are there any governmental limitations on the amount of a suggestion award?
    A. Yes, the following limitations apply:
    • The statutory limitation for an individual award is $50,000
    • Suggestion awards are also subject to the Federal Individual Annual Compensation Limitation, which is $161, 200
    • Amounts awarded to individuals in excess of $10,000 require approval by the Department of Treasury and the U. S. Office of Personnel Management
    • Awards greater than $25,000 require Presidential approval

  5. Q. What may employees grieve under the new program?
    A. Employees may grieve the amount of a suggestion award, whether the Service implemented a valid suggestion without granting an award, and the administration of the Service's suggestion agreement with NTEU. Grievances are adjudicated under the normal grievance procedures.

Exhibit 1.55.5-2  (05-31-2004)
"Suggester's, I Suggest" Check Sheet

This check sheet assists in ensuring all necessary information is included in your Employee Suggestion package. You will submit your suggestion when you can answer "yes" to all the following questions:

____Did you check the exclusion list ensuring your suggestion meets criteria for the program?

____Does block 1 through 7 include your complete contact information?

Note:

Providing this information enables the ESP Evaluator to contact you for any questions that may arise.

____Does block 10 contain the subject (title) of your suggestion?

____Does block 13 describe the present procedures, conditions or how the work is being done?

Note:

The description should be legible and easy to understand.

____Does block 13 explain your full suggestion for improvement including:
- How will your suggestion work?
- What will your suggestion do?
- Where can your suggestion be used?

____Have you included all necessary information to complete the cost benefit analysis?

Example:


- Time currently being used versus time saved.
- The grades and number of employees affected
- Volumes involved and frequency

____Have you listed the benefits of the suggestion?

Example:


- Save time, money, and/or materials
- Improve Quality, Teamwork, and/or Morale
- Reduce Fatigue
- Improve Public Relations

____If of a technical nature, have you indicated the office that should evaluate your suggestion?

____Have you attached backup information and examples that support your suggestion and/or projected benefits?

____Did you have someone else review your suggestion?

Note:

Sometimes a review of your suggestion by"another pair of eyes" may improve the clarity of your written narrative. Consider asking your manager for assistance in completing and reviewing your suggestion package.

____Have you completed the Employee Suggestion Transmittal Form?

____Have you made a copy of your suggestion and attachments for your records?

If you answered "yes" to all questions, you are ready to submit your suggestion package to your Local/Campus ESP Coordinator. For questions regarding the status of your suggestion, contact your manager, your Local/Campus ESP Coordinator, or the HQ ESP Functional Coordinator.

Exhibit 1.55.5-3  (05-31-2004)
W&I Local/Campus ESP Evaluator Check Sheet

To help you prepare your evaluation, consider the following points::
First, review the file promptly upon receipt ensuring you are the appropriate person to evaluate the proposal; if not, return the file immediately to the suggestion coordinator for rerouting.
Read the suggestion carefully. Is the intent clear? If you have questions, contact the suggestion originator directly, or if unknown, the suggestion coordinator of the originating office.
Has the suggestion originator identified a problem? If no problem exists, return the file to the suggestion coordinator explaining the relevant facts.
Will implementation necessitate IRM changes?
What are the current procedures/practices? Does the suggestion offer any improvement? If so, how? If not, why?

Once you have analyzed the suggestion and reviewed the existing practices/procedures, you must decide if the suggestion offers a better, more economic, efficient, or effective way to accomplish the work. The following are some helpful guidelines for developing and preparing your evaluation:

If you are recommending adoption, the evaluator should:
- Summarize the idea on Form 2665
- State the reason(s) for referral to W&I Headquarters (national application). Include the benefits for the IRS (either first year estimated dollar savings or intangible benefits)
- Forward the package to the local Local/Campus ESP Coordinator for transmittal to the HQ ESP Manager

If you are not recommending adoption, the evaluation should:
- Summarize the idea on Form 2665 and state the reason(s) why the suggestion cannot be used
- Avoid negative words such as "reject" or "impractical" Use positive phrases such as "we are unable to adopt your suggestion"
- Coordinate with the Local/Campus ESP Coordinator to prepare a decision letter to the employee informing them the suggestion will not be adopted. Thank the employee making the suggestion for taking the time to submit an idea and encourage their future participation in the program

Exhibit 1.55.5-4  (05-31-2004)
W&I Headquarters Functional ESP Evaluator Check Sheet

Consider the following when preparing your evaluation:

Review the file promptly upon receipt. Make sure you are the appropriate person to evaluate the proposal; if not, immediately return the file to the suggestion coordinator for rerouting
Read the suggestion carefully. Is the intent clear? If you have questions, contact the suggestion originator directly, or if unknown, the suggestion coordinator of the originating office
Determine if the employee submitting the suggestion identified a problem and if the following questions can be answered:

- Will implementation necessitate IRM changes?
- What are the current procedures/practices?
- Does the suggestion offer any improvement? If so, how? If not, why?

Note:

If a problem is not clearly identified, return the file to the suggestion coordinator with a detailed explanation.

Once the suggestion is analyzed and existing practices/procedures reviewed, decide if the suggestion offers a better, more economic, efficient, or effective way to accomplish the work

The following are some helpful guidelines to develop and prepare your evaluation:

If recommending adoption:
- Prepare a decision letter
- Summarize the idea on Form 2665
- State the reason for adoption at the national level; remember to include the benefits for the IRS, either first year estimated dollar savings or intangible benefits
- Provide an estimated time for implementation

If not recommending adoption:
- Summarize the idea on Form 2665
- State the reason(s) why the suggestion cannot be used; avoid negative words such as " reject" or "impractical" . Use positive phrases such as "we are unable to accept your request"
- Coordinate with the functional coordinator to prepare a decision letter for the employee advising them why the suggestion will not be adopted; be sure to thank the suggestion originator for taking the time to submit an idea and encourage future participation in the ESP

For adopted or non-adopted suggestions, other useful references and forms include:
IRM 3.30.10, Work Planning and Control - Cost Estimate Reference
Form 2665 , Suggestion Evaluation
Form 9127, Recommendation for Recognition

Exhibit 1.55.5-5  (05-31-2004)
Sample Acknowledgement Letter

Note:

The letter should be left-justified, on W&I letterhead, and written in accordance with IRM 1.10.1, Office of the Commissioner Internal Revenue - The IRS Correspondence Manual.

Date:

MEMORANDUM FOR: Linda B. Suggester
Internal Revenue Service
ACS – Group XXXX
40 West Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL 32202


FROM: W & I, CAS, 401 W. Peachtree Street, STOP 66-WI, Atlanta, GA 30308-3539

SUBJECT: Employee Suggestion – (description of suggestion)

We are in receipt of suggestion number XX-XXXX-XX-XXX submitted XX-XX-XX. It was forwarded to (organization forwarded to) XX-XX-XX, for control and assignment to an office for evaluation. You should receive a response within sixty days.

If you have questions or need additional information about your suggestion, please contact (name of functional suggestion coordinator) at (telephone number of Suggestion Coordinator).

cc: Headquarters ESP Manager

Exhibit 1.55.5-6  (05-31-2004)
Sample Interim Letter

Note:

The letter should be left-justified, on W&I letterhead, and written in accordance with IRM 1.10.1, Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue - The IRS Correspondence Manual.

Date:

MEMORANDUM FOR: Linda B. Suggester
Internal Revenue Service
ACS – Group XXXX
40 West Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL XXXXX

Suggestion: Employee Suggestion Number XX-XXX-XX-XXX, (description or title of suggestion)

Dear:

Thank you for your interest in improving the IRS and for participating in the Employee Suggestion Program.

Your suggestion is still being evaluated. You will be informed once the evaluation process is complete, and should receive a response within 60 days from the date of this letter.

For questions regarding the status of your suggestion, please contact (Suggestion Coordinator's name) at (telephone number).

Sincerely,

Suggestion Coordinator

Wage & Investment Division

Exhibit 1.55.5-7  (05-31-2004)
Sample Adoption Letter

Note:

The letter should be left-justified, on W&I letterhead, and written in accordance with IRM 1.10.1, Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue - The IRS Correspondence Manual.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Linda B. Suggester
Internal Revenue Service
ACS – Group XXXX 40
West Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL XXXXX

Dear Ms. Suggester:

Thank you for submitting Employee Suggestion Number XX-XXX-XX-XXX, which suggests (description of suggestion). We are pleased to inform you that your suggestion has been recommended for adoption.

Thank you for your interest in the Employee Suggestion Program. We encourage your continued participation in the program and welcome any additional suggestions you may have to improve the efficiency of the Service.

If you have any questions concerning this suggestion, please contact (evaluator name) at (evaluator telephone number) .

Sincerely,

Name of Evaluator’s Manager

Title

Note:

This letter is included on the AWSS electronic database. We recommend, in this case, completing this letter on the AWSS electronic database after the evaluation is complete.

Exhibit 1.55.5-8  (05-31-2004)
Sample Non-Adoption Letter

Note:

The letter should be left-justified, on W&I letterhead, and written in accordance with IRM 1.10.1, Office of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue - The IRS Correspondence Manual.

MEMORANDUM FOR: Linda B. Suggester
Internal Revenue Service
ACS – Group XXXX 40
West Bay Street
Jacksonville, FL XXXXX

Dear Ms. Suggester:

Thank you for submitting Employee Suggestion Number XX-XXX-XX-XXX, which suggests (description of suggestion). We are sorry, but after careful consideration we are unable to adopt your suggestion based on the following reason(s): (state detailed reason for non-adoption) .

Thank you for your interest in the Employee Suggestion Program. Please consider future participation as we encourage employees to continue to look for ways to improve the efficiency of the Internal Revenue Service.
Contact (evaluator name) at (evaluator telephone number ), if you have questions concerning this decision.

Sincerely,

Name of Evaluator’s Manager

Title

Note:

This letter is included on the AWSS electronic database. We recommend, in this case, you complete this letter on the database after the evaluation is complete.

Exhibit 1.55.5-9  (04-01-2007)
Sample Memorandum For Awards up to $10,000

Date:


MEMORANDUM FOR DEPUTY COMMISSIONER FOR SERVICES AND ENFORCEMENT


THRU: XXXXXXXXXXXXX,
_Commissioner, Wage and Investment


FROM: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX,
_Director, Compliance, Wage and Investment


SUBJECT: Employee Suggestion Number
_XXXXXXXXXX



This memorandum is submitted to transmit the approval package for an IRS employee suggestion. Due to the substantial award amount given to the initiator of the suggestion, it must be forwarded to your office for approval.


The initiator suggested use of their locally developed Automated Payroll Deduction Installment Agreement (AutoPDIA) Tool for quicker processing of payroll deduction installment agreements. The AutoPDIA Tool is an Excel database that allows Collection Representatives (CRs) and Tax Examiners (TEs) to fax pre-populated payroll deduction letters (Letter 3676) to employers in-lieu of a Form 2159, Payroll Deduction Agreement. The input of the taxpayer account data into the database generates a populated Letter 3676. The Letter 3676 is a Payroll Deduction Installment Agreement and Release of Levy combination letter. This letter is faxed directly to the taxpayer’s employer. This expedites the processing of payroll deduction agreements by the employer and the Service. It greatly improves the payroll deduction installment agreement process.


The Tool has been approved for use in the five W&I Compliance Campus Operations of Automated Collection Systems (ACS), Automated Collection Systems Support (ACSS), and Compliance Services Collection Operation (CSCO). The AutoPDIA Tool is not mandatory; however, it is strongly encouraged. One campus has completed training and approximately 160 employees are currently using the AutoPDIA Tool. This campus generates an average of 85 Letter 3676’s per day. Use of the AutoPDIA Tool saves the Service approximately seven minutes for each Letter 3676 generated. The Tool is posted on SERP’s IRM Supplements page and documented procedures are in the Internal Revenue Manual 5.19.1.


We are submitting this suggestion package to be approved for $XXXXXX. This award amount was based on the AutoPDIA Tool having intangible benefits with an exceptional value because it provides a superior improvement to a critical product. Although the recommended award has exceptional value, use of the AutoPDIA Tool is not mandatory and actual savings can not be determined; therefore, we have limited the award amount to $XXXXX.


Included in the approval package are the Form 13380 , I Suggest..., with background information, Form 9127, Recommendation for Recognition, for your approval, and the intangible benefits worksheet.


If you have any questions, please contact XXXXXXXXXXX at XXXXXXXXXXX


Attachments (3)

Exhibit 1.55.5-10  (04-01-2007)
Sample Memorandum For Awards Exceeding $10,000

Date:


MEMORANDUM FOR REBECCA CONTRERAS, DEPUTY ASSISTANT SECRETARY/CHIEF HUMAN CAPITAL OFFICER


FROM: XXXXXXXXXXXXXX,
_Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement


SUBJECT: Suggestion Award Approval
_Employee Suggestion Number XXXXXXXXXXX


Attached is an employee suggestion that has been approved and adopted by the Internal Revenue Service. I certify that this suggestion is highly exceptional and unusually outstanding and therefore worthy of a $XXXXX award; this amount is based on the actual savings to the government and the award computation defined in the IRS/NTEU Suggestion Award Agreement (detailed justification attached). The Internal Revenue Service has approved this award at the $10,000 level and is requesting authority, as required, to pay the balance of the recommended amount. We are submitting this package through Treasury for your approval and the approval of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the President of the United States prior to payment of the award. This recommendation has been reviewed by our General Legal Services staff and, based on this review, the IRS Associate Chief Counsel, General Legal Services, has determined that this award proposal conforms to the requirements for such awards under Title 5 of the U.S. Code, OPM regulations, the IRS agreement with NTEU, and IRS delegated authority, programs, and procedures (actual opinion attached).


Upon your approval, please forward your recommendation to OPM and the Office of the President of the United States.


If you need additional information, you may contact XXXXXXXXXXXX, Assistant Deputy Commissioner for Services and Enforcement, at XXXXXXXXXXXX.


Attachments


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