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Chapter 5 - Delegations Of Authority

Part 1 - General

Title Section
Introduction 1-5.1
    Purpose 1-5.1A
    Background 1-5.1B
    Authority to Redelegate 1-5.1C
    Policy 1-5.1D
Types of Delegations of Authority 1-5.2
    Administrative Authorities 1-5.2A
    Program Authorities 1-5.2B
Filing Delegations of Authority in IHS 1-5.3
Exhibit Description
Manual Exhibit 1-5-A Index:  Administrative/Contracting/Financial Delegations of Authority
Manual Exhibit 1-5-B Index:  Commissioned Corps Delegations of Authority
Manual Exhibit 1-5-C Index:  Personnel Delegations of Authority
Manual Exhibit 1-5-D Index:  Program Delegations of Authority


  1. Purpose.  The purpose of this chapter is to establish the Indian Health Service (IHS) Delegations of Authority Indexes as exhibits in the Indian Health Manual (IHM), Part 1, Chapter 5.  This chapter also establishes the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), General Administration Manual (GAM), Chapter 8-100, "Delegations of Authority," and the IHS supplemental GAM Chapter 8-101, "Responsibilities and Procedures for Delegating Authority," as the official sources of written guidance for IHS staff when developing delegations of authority.
  2. Background.  Delegations of authority are written conveyances of legal power to a subordinate official to make specified decisions, and to take specified actions, and to expend funds, on behalf of a higher level official.  These documents provide administrative authority and/or program authority to appropriate IHS officials through the chain of command from the Director, IHS.  Without redelegations within the IHS many administrative and program decisions and actions would have to be cleared by the Director or higher echelon officials within the HHS.
  3. Authority to Redelegate.
    1. Any officer within the HHS may delegate and authorize redelegation of any authority conferred on him/her by law, unless the law prohibits such delegation.
    2. The Director, IHS, derives the authority to redelegate his/her authorities from the Reorganization Order of January 4, 1988, Public Laws, or subsequent delegations of authority from the Secretary of Health and Human Services, or any one of the Assistant Secretaries, as those delegations of authority permit.
  4. Policy.  All delegations of authority by IHS officials to subordinate IHS officials must be made via written memorandum and be from official position to official position.  Managers in the IHS who determine a need for redelegation of authority from higher echelon, or a need to further delegate authority received from higher echelon, must contact the Division of Management Policy (DMP), Office of Administration and Management, for guidance and assistance.


  1. Administrative Authorities.  These are authorities that are derived primarily from laws that apply to all of the Federal Government, i.e., the Administrative Procedures Act, the Chief Financial Officers Act, the Federal Managers' Financial Integrity Act, etc., or from regulations based on Acts that are issued by central control agencies such as the Office of Management and Budget, the General Accounting Office, or the General Services Administration.  Administrative delegations of authority allow for delegees to take actions related to purchasing equipment, approving travel, hiring employees, issuing building passes, etc., and generally flow from the Secretary to an Assistant Secretary, who would then redelegate to the Director, IHS.  Recommendations for further redelegation of the Director's authorities within the IHS are coordinated with appropriate functional area managers by the DMP staff.  Administrative delegations of authority in the IHS are indexed as follows:
    • Administrative/Financial/Contracting (Exhibit 1-5-A)
    • Commissioned Corps (Exhibit 1-5-B)
    • Personnel (Exhibit 1-5-C)
  2. Program Authorities.  These are substantive authorities contained in Public Laws or in Executive Orders of the President of the United States that authorize programs.  Program authorities generally allow actions to issue program guidelines, award grants, adjudicate eligibility for benefits, etc.  Most program authorities in the HHS are vested in the Secretary with authority to redelegate.
    1. Some laws confer specific authorities to the Secretary, and sometimes authorizes the Secretary to delegate these authorities with certain conditions.
    2. Some Executive Orders may authorize the Secretary to delegate and authorize redelegation of authorities contained in laws.  If there is no specific authorization for redelegation within the Executive Order, IHS officials must obtain legal interpretation from the HHS Office of General Counsel.

    Program authorities in the IHS are listed in Exhibit 1-5-D.


Because of the number of delegations of authority in the IHS, it would be impracticable for them to be maintained as part of this chapter.  The IHS delegations of authority must be maintained in binders established for each type of indexed authority, (e.g., Administrative/Financial/Contracting; Commissioned Corps; Personnel, and Program).  Each IHS delegation of authority is released as part of the IHM under a transmittal notice that must be filed in sequential order in the transmittal notice section of the IHM.  The IHS delegations of authority indexes are updated as delegations are issued, revised, or rescinded.  Updated indexes, or pages thereof, are transmitted for filing in the IHM, Part 1, Chapter 5.