The Office of Regulation Policy and Management (02REG) at the Department of Veterans Affairs provides centralized management and control for the formulation and coordination of all regulations at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). To help program offices produce veteran friendly regulations to implement changing laws and policies that are easy to find, read, understand, and apply, 02REG developed a Procedure Guide for Writing VA Regulations as a Best Practice.
The guide describes VA’s collaborative rulemaking process and has been well-received by VA program offices responsible for drafting and coordinating regulations. It was developed in collaboration with the subject matter experts leading the rulemaking process, professional staff group attorneys, economic impact analysts, and office management program officials. The guide was developed to familiarize program officials with VA’s rulemaking process and help ensure that they draft regulations that are in accordance with Executive Order 12866, Regulatory Planning and Review, and all other federal laws and guidance.
Chapter 1 of the guide provides regulation writers and coordinators with specific key elements and questions pertaining to VA rulemaking. It also contains a flowchart that identifies each step of the rulemaking approval process. Chapter 2, Section A, provides brief written descriptions of each step in the rulemaking approval process. Section B contains detailed step-by-step tasks and procedures for developing, writing, and publishing regulations. Each chapter and section of the guide contains specific references, policies, forms, and samples that will help regulation writers and coordinators publish quality regulations and reduce unnecessary delays. The guide lists all the tasks that are essential for effective rulemaking–how to do the tasks, and who is responsible for the tasks listed.
The guide is innovative in the sense that it contains hyperlinks throughout the guide that enhance understanding and make navigation through the guide very easy. Every hyperlink in the guide explains the specific tasks, functions, activities, or procedures required in VA’s rulemaking process. The hyperlinks allow the reader to navigate selectively through the guide based on his or her familiarity with the rulemaking process. The guide was developed in a manner that suits and guides both a novice and journeyman level reader. It is a fluid guide that adopts new procedures and updates to the rulemaking process on a quarterly basis. Another innovative element is that the guide contains a flowchart with hyperlinks in each activity box of the rulemaking process, so readers can simply click on a particular activity in a flowchart box to determine what action, work, or task is required. The reader can then further select a hyperlink for each task to determine what specific actions are required, what the documents look like, and who is responsible for performing each task involved.