BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Home  |  BJS Intergovernmental Personnel Act Mobility Program
BJS Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program

About IPAs | Eligibility | Priorities | Selection process | Support level | Period of Performance | Project location

About IPAs

The Bureau of Justice Statistics offers opportunities for temporary assignments to BJS through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act (IPA) Mobility Program. Through an IPA, BJS aims to retain qualified persons to perform work on our statistical programs to improve its methodological, reporting, and dissemination activities. Employees of eligible organizations may enter into an IPA agreement. Assignments may vary in duration (up to 2 years). They may also be intermittent, part-time or full-time, and on-site or off-site.  The BJS director, or a designee, may extend an assignment for an additional 2 years when the extension will benefit both organizations.

BJS seeks candidates from eligible institutions to work on improving its statistical programs. Organizations eligible to participate in the IPA Mobility Program include—

  • state and local governments
  • accredited domestic colleges and universities
  • Indian tribal governments
  • federally funded research and development centers
  • other eligible organizations (see “Other eligible organizations” below).

A wide range of issues may be the subject of an IPA. These issues cover all aspects of statistical programs, including survey design, sampling, estimation, reporting, and dissemination.  IPA agreements are made for purposes that the BJS director determines are of mutual concern and benefit to BJS and to the nonfederal organization that employs a candidate for an IPA.  Assignments that are 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 program.

General background on IPAs:
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-information/intergovernment-personnel-act

Provisions of IPAs:
https://www.opm.gov/policy-data-oversight/hiring-information/intergovernment-personnel-act#url=Provisions

Examples of nonprofit organizations participating in IPAs with the National Institutes of Health:
http://hr.od.nih.gov/hrguidance/employment/ipa/ipa-orgs.htm

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What organizations are eligible for the IPA Program?

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
  • other eligible organizations

Under the revised IPA Mobility Program regulations (5 CFR part 334), OJP is responsible for certifying the eligibility of “other organizations” for participation in the IPA Mobility Program.

Other eligible organizations include national, regional, state-wide, area-wide, or metropolitan organizations, with a representing member from—

  • state or local governments
  • associations of state or local public officials
  • nonprofit organizations that, as one of their principal functions, provide services, such as professional advisory, research, educational, and developmental to governments or universities concerned with public management
  • federally funded research and development centers.

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What are the requirements for individuals to participate in the IPA program?

An employee of a nonfederal organization must be employed by that organization in a career position for at least 90 days before entering into an IPA agreement. The Department of Justice requires that participants be U.S. citizens. Individuals excluded from participating include—

  • federal, state, or local government employees serving under noncareer, excepted service, noncompetitive, time-limited, temporary, or term appointments
  • elected federal, state, or local government officials
  • members of the uniformed military services and the Commissioned Corps of the Public Health Service and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
  • students employed in research, graduate or teaching assistant positions, or similar temporary positions.

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What are BJS’s priorities for IPAs?

IPA participants are selected by the BJS director or a designee and are based on the employee’s qualifications and interests, BJS needs, and the mutual benefits to BJS and the organization employing the candidate.  IPA projects should focus on improving one or more of BJS’s statistical programs.  BJS’s statistical programs and data collections are described on the BJS website at http://www.bjs.gov/index.cfm?ty=dca.

Recent BJS efforts to improve its statistical infrastructure have focused on survey design, the use of administrative records for statistical purposes, data quality assessments, and record linkage.  There is a wide range of opportunities for an IPA within these general areas.  For example, the survey design area includes sampling for continuous administration of establishment surveys and alternative sample designs for the National Crime Victimization Survey that address within-place explicit stratification to increase the number of victims who respond to the survey.

BJS is interested in developing survey instruments for new topical areas and aligning BJS’s surveys with other national survey instruments to facilitate comparisons. Within the area of using administrative records, BJS and the federal statistical system have interests in developing an administrative records analogue to the total survey error model for sample surveys. 

Examples of other areas of interest include—

  • National Crime Victimization Survey—
    • -Small area estimation, using both sample data collected directly within states and model-based approaches
      -Interviewing juveniles and persons younger than age 12 on sensitive topics related to criminal victimization.
  • Law enforcement statistics—
      -Demonstrating the utility of incident-based crime statistics (such as the National Incident-Based Reporting System) for statistical, research, and evaluation purposes.
  • Recidivism statistics—
    • -Assessing the quality of criminal history records (also known as records of arrest and prosecution, or RAP sheets) for completeness and operational and statistical uses
      -Imputation for item nonresponse
      -Research designs for comparing the recidivism outcomes for groups of offenders.
  • Federal justice statistics—
      -Assessing the quality of imputation and using the “dyad link” file in the Federal Justice Statistics Program.
  • Indian country statistics—
      -Designing and conducting surveys of criminal justice systems in Indian country with assistance from experts on Indian country issues.
  • Juvenile justice statistics—
      -Using existing BJS statistical program data to develop statistics on juvenile victims and offenders, and on contact of juveniles with adult criminal justice agencies.

Because the range of topics is potentially wide, individuals interested in considering an IPA arrangement should talk with BJS about their ideas. 

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How are applicants and projects chosen?

Interested applicants should discuss their ideas with BJS staff, in particular the Unit Chief responsible for a statistical program area.  Discussions can be facilitated by sending an email to AskBJS@usdoj.gov with the subject line “IPA” and a brief statement of interest.

BJS accepts, on an ongoing basis, ideas and concept papers for projects from potential applicants for an IPA mobility assignment. Individuals may submit concept papers to BJS at any time by emailing the documents to AskBJS@usdoj.gov with the subject line “IPA.” Papers will be routed to the appropriate BJS staff for follow-up. Concept papers should be no more than 3 pages in length and should discuss the nature of a proposed project. BJS will contact all persons who submit concept papers for IPAs. 

BJS may also solicit concept papers from individuals who have been identified as qualified for a particular project.

Applicants to the IPA Mobility Program will have to demonstrate that they have the requisite skills, capabilities, and experience to conduct a project under the IPA Mobility Program. The skill level should be commensurate with the scope, content, and focus of a project. Applicants may demonstrate skills and capabilities by submitting a resume or curriculum vitae (CV). Letters of reference may also be required, if a CV does not sufficiently demonstrate skills. 

When a potential candidate has been identified, BJS will contact the management of the candidate’s organization to confirm that an IPA mobility assignment is feasible and in the interests of the organization.

The projects performed under an IPA will focus on a specific BJS statistical program.  However, when several programs are closely related, a project may address issues common to several programs. 

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What level of support does BJS provide and what expenses are covered?

The level of support is conditional on the nature of the project, skills, and expertise of the IPA. Under the IPA, BJS will provide support for salary, benefits, and travel costs associated with the project.

How long does an IPA last?

The duration of an IPA is variable, depending on the nature of the project. It may last up to 2 years, and an extension for an additional 2 years may be granted if the extension benefits both BJS and the IPA’s home host agency. An IPA can be full-time, part-time, or intermittent.

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Must IPAs relocate to Washington, D.C., to work?

It is not necessary that an IPA relocated to the Washington, D.C., area. However, if an IPA is off-site, routine travel to BJS will be required to discuss the project and meet with BJS staff.  If an IPA is structured so that a person relocates to Washington, D.C., to work at BJS, BJS will not pay relocation expenses.



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