1.7.1 Servicewide Research Council

Background on the Servicewide Research Council

  1. The Servicewide Research Council (SRC) was established in early 2001, shortly after the new IRS organization, with research units embedded in the Operating Divisions and Functional Units, "stood up." In part, the Servicewide Research Council was designed to identify " gaps and overlaps" and to ensure that important cross-functional research efforts did not suffer unintentional neglect due to the new organizational structure.

Purpose and Scope of the Servicewide Research Council

  1. The Servicewide Research Council serves as a forum for sharing information, coordinating crosscutting activities and resolving procedural issues that affect the execution of research and analysis across operating units. Additionally, the SRC serves as a vehicle to reach mutual agreement on the use of any common assets (portfolio) intended to serve the entire IRS Research " enterprise," and also as the forum for resolving other issues related to research and analysis affecting high impact cross-divisional projects and initiatives.

  2. The scope of the SRC is broad and flexible but limited. The SRC recognizes that set procedures on research issues affecting a single operating division or function will be the responsibility of the business units. In addition, the SRC encourages the resolution of cross-business-unit research related issues at the lowest appropriate level. Finally, the SRC supports the authority and accountability which resides in the operating divisions and the functions.

What the SRC Does

  1. As stated in its Charter, located at http://otac.no.irs.gov/Framework/Councils/SRC/SRCCharter.doc, the Servicewide Research Council is intended to provide a forum for sharing information (including best practices), for coordinating cross-cutting activities, and for resolving procedural issues that affect research efforts across the entire IRS. All these efforts further the goal of improving the efficiency of the IRS Research enterprise.

  2. One way the Servicewide Research Council encourages improved efficiency in research across the IRS is by overseeing the provision of several forms of research infrastructure. For example, training is an important element of research infrastructure. The Servicewide Research Council has established a Training Subgroup (see http://otac.no.irs.gov/Framework/Councils/SRC/Subgroups/srcsubgroups.htm) to oversee a common training fund for the IRS Research Community. This Subgroup is charged with developing procedures to ensure access to appropriate training for research staff across the IRS.

  3. A second example of research infrastructure is ensuring that IRS research products are of uniformly high quality. In this regard, the Servicewide Research Council sponsors the Quality Assurance Council (http://qac.web.irs.gov/), which provides feedback to researchers on the form and substance of research proposals and reports. The SRC also has taken a leading role in raising the visibility of research done at the IRS, by sponsoring an annual IRS Research Conference.

  4. Finally, access to data is a key element of research infrastructure. NHQ Research (http://research.irs.gov/) maintains and provides access to several data systems for research staff throughout the IRS. The Servicewide Research Council has established a Data Subgroup to help develop procedures for determining what research data is desired and how best to provide access to that data. The Data Subgroup developed and promulgated Research Data Standards for the IRS research community (see IRM 1.7.2).

  5. Information sharing at the Servicewide Research Council promotes the adoption of "best practices" across the various research units by providing a forum where these practices can be discussed and shared. To the extent that one unit develops processes or procedures that enable it to function more effectively, these advances can be readily shared across the IRS research enterprise. Moreover, this information sharing provides an opportunity for the research units to determine whether efforts in one unit are being duplicated somewhere else in the IRS, potentially improving resource allocation across the research community.

  6. The Servicewide Research Council also promotes research endeavors across the IRS through the Strategic Planning process. Each of the Research Units is encouraged to undertake research that can develop or support new initiatives to better target IRS initiatives or to lessen taxpayer burden. Moreover, participation in the strategic planning process by the SRC serves to uncover areas where operating units can and should collaborate on research initiatives.

Relationship to the Strategy & Resources Committee and Sources for SRC Issues

  1. The SRC is a subgroup of the Commissioner’s Strategy & Resources Committee (S&RC). The S&RC was established in August 2003. The S&RC will assist the SRC in deciding what research matters fall under its strategic planning, budget coordination, and performance measurement responsibilities.


  1. Permanent Membership -The permanent SRC membership includes the leaders of the research function from each of the four operating divisions, from Criminal Investigation, from the National Taxpayer Advocate, and from National Headquarters. The permanent members are:

    • Director, Research, Analysis and Statistics (as chair of the SRC)

    • Research Director, Wage and Investment

    • Research Director, Small Business/Self Employed

    • Research Director, Large and Mid Size Business

    • Research Director, Tax Exempt and Government Entities

    • Research Director, Criminal Investigation

    • Research Director, National Headquarters Office of Research

    • Director, Statistics of Income

    • Director, Office of Program Evaluation and Risk Analysis

    • Director, National Research Program

    • Director, Servicewide Policy, Directives and Electronic Research

    • Senior Research Advisor to the National Taxpayer Advocate

  2. Alternate Members - Each permanent member may appoint an alternate to serve on the SRC when the permanent member is unavailable. The alternate will have full participatory rights.

  3. Quorum Requirement -With 12 permanent SRC members identified, a quorum will be deemed as eight or more SRC members or an identical number of permanent members and alternates.

Roles and Responsibilities

  1. The SRC’s roles and responsibilities include fostering a collaborative framework for producing research results by:

    1. Providing a forum for sharing information on research activities and resource utilization.

    2. Ensuring cross-unit coordination where necessary.

    3. Articulating the needs of various organizations for research data and infrastructure.

    4. Sharing best practices in research methodology and measurement where necessary.

    5. Providing strategic management of the research portfolio consistent with the Servicewide strategic plan and budget.

  2. Responsibilities also include supporting the Strategy & Resources Committee and maintaining a strategic focus by:

    1. Staying abreast of the Service’s strategic plans, goals, and performance measures.

    2. Providing authoritative and timely information in support of tax administration decisions.

    3. Gaining the understanding and commitment of key stakeholders in the support of the vision for Research in the IRS.

  3. A discussion paper on the role of the SRC written by the SRC Chair in July 2003 can be found on the SRC Website: http://otac.no.irs.gov/Framework/SRCmain.htm.

Logistical Support for the SRC

  1. The chair of the SRC has overall responsibility for providing support to the SRC and for coordinating related ad hoc efforts. Under the direction of the SRC Chair, program staff:

    1. Drafts agendas for SRC and other coordinating efforts.

    2. Assembles or prepares advance briefing materials.

    3. Records and tracks agreements and action items of the SRC.

    4. Facilitates on-going two-way communication within the research organizations at all levels, and also with outside stakeholders.

    5. Works with divisional and functional staff on those issues that can be resolved without SRC intervention.

    6. Coordinates with the Strategy & Resources Committee.

Revisions to SRC Charter

  1. The permanent members of the Servicewide Research Council can modify their charter with the concurrence of its permanent members.