Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program

The Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) allows for the temporary assignment of skilled personnel between the Federal Government and state and local governments, colleges and universities, Indian tribal governments, federally funded research and development centers, and other eligible organizations. The IPA is authorized by Title 5 U.S. Code Sections 3371 through 3375 and 5 Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Part 334. Personnel Bulletin 21-05 IPA Mobility Program and the IPA Crosswalk and Checklist provide full guidance for DOI Bureaus and Offices utilizing this program.

The assignment must be of mutual concern and benefit to the Department of the Interior (DOI) and the non-Federal organization. Assignments arranged to meet the personal interests of employees, to circumvent personnel ceilings, or to avoid unpleasant personnel decisions are contrary to the spirit and intent of the IPA mobility assignment program.

The goal of the IPA mobility program is to facilitate the movement of employees, for short periods of time, when it serves a sound public purpose – such as:

  • strengthening the management capabilities of Federal agencies, State, local and Indian tribal governments, and other eligible organizations;
  • assisting the transfer and use of new technologies and approaches to solving governmental problems;
  • facilitating an effective means of involving state and local officials in developing and implementing Federal policies and programs; and,
  • providing program and developmental experience which will enhance the assignee’s performance in their regular job.

Eligible Organizations

Organizations eligible to participate in the IPA Mobility Program include: state and local governments; domestic colleges and universities that are accredited; Indian tribal governments; federally funded research and development centers; and "other" eligible organizations.

DOI maintains and approves a list of other organizations. “Other” organization is defined as: 

  • A national, regional, Statewide, area wide, or metropolitan organization representing member State or local governments;
  • An association of State or local public officials;
  • A nonprofit organization that offers, as one of its principal functions, professional advisory, research, educational, or development services, or related services, to governments or universities concerned with public management; or
  • A federally funded research and development center.

Request for Certification of “Other” Organization

If an office wants to establish an IPA assignment with an entity that falls under the “other” organization description above and is not already on the list of approved organizations, the following steps must be taken to receive certification from the DOI Office of Human Capital prior to establishing an assignment:

  • Contact the SHRO/IPA Coordinator who will facilitate the process.
  • Request the following documents from the organization for which certification is being requested and submit to the Bureau HR Office/IPA Coordinator:
    • a copy of the organization's articles of incorporation;
    • bylaws;
    • Internal Revenue Service letter of nonprofit status; and
    • any other information describing the organization's activities as they relate to the public management concerns of governments or universities.
  • The SHRO/IPA Coordinator will prepare the request and receive the appropriate internal signatures before forwarding to the Department for certification.
  • Upon receipt of DOI certification the SHRO/IPA Coordinator will contact the requesting office to inform them that the assignment arrangements may proceed.

Establishing an IPA Agreement

Assignments under the IPA are management-initiated and must be implemented by a written agreement, Optional Form (OF) 69 Assignment Agreement. The agreement must be signed by the assignee, the approving official of the non-Federal organization involved, and the appropriate bureau approving Official. Approval of all IPA mobility assignments is delegated to Bureau Director and may be re-delegated no lower than the bureau human capital officer. Approvals must be received before an assignment may begin.

  • Step 1: The requesting office (RO) prepares an Optional Form (OF) 69, Assignment Agreement in draft form. Any questions regarding completion of the OF-69 should be referred to the IPA Coordinator.
  • Step 2: The RO submits the draft OF-69 to the appropriate point of contact in the Ethics Office and the Human Resources Office for review and comment. The draft can be sent to both offices simultaneously.
  • Step 3: Once concurrence has been received by both the Ethics Office and the Human Resources Office, the RO may proceed with finalizing the agreement and will be sent to the bureau headquarters for approval.
  • Step 4: The Ethics Office will contact the assignee directly if the employee is required to complete any necessary ethics forms.
  • Step 5: Once all parties have signed the OF-69, a copy of the agreement must be sent to the appropriate points of contact in the Ethics Office as well as the Human Resources Office.
  • Step 6: When a Federal employee goes on an IPA assignment, the RO will initiate a detail action in FPPS and forward to the servicing Human Resources Office for processing. The OF-69 Assignment Agreement serves as the supporting documentation regardless of the action taken.

Federal Employees Going on Assignment: If a Federal employee goes on detail to an outside organization and it's on a full-time basis for an extended period of time, then the RO will initiate an FPPS action. If the assignment in on a part-time or intermittent basis an FPPS action is not required. If a Federal employee goes on LWOP to accept the assignment, the RO will initiate an FPPS action.

Non-Federal Employee on Assignment to Federal Agency: If a non-federal employee is detailed to a Federal agency, no FPPS action is required because the individual is not our employee. If a non-federal employee is appointed to a Federal agency, then the RO will initiate an FPPS action and the pre-employment process will be followed.

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