The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) is launching a new Civil Rights Management System (CRMS) to manage civil rights discrimination complaints against its programs and partners. The new system will replace the agency’s current Program Complaints Management System.

CRMS is a cloud-based, agency-wide complaint tracking system, consisting of a suite of applications supporting every office within the agency by tracking complaints, including a central database to report in and out to official organizations. The entire system is hosted on USDA’s Salesforce platform, housed within servers owned and managed by USDA’s Office of the Chief Information Officer.

According to a notice of a new system of records posted to the Federal Register, data in the system is protected with a set of physical and digital safeguards, including physical access controls, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and system auditing to prevent unauthorized access.

The CRMS will store all discrimination complaints made against programs or activities conducted or assisted by USDA. CRMS will provide core support for the agency’s Civil Rights offices mission, both at department and sub-agency levels.

The system will aid agency leaders who, by law, “are charged with the responsibility for agency compliance with civil rights laws and regulations,” the notice states.

The records housed in the new system will consist of formal discrimination complaints, including documentation from respondents, witnesses, and the accused; conciliation and settlement agreements; determinations; and other related records.

Additionally, according to the notice, CRMS adheres to regulatory reporting requirements and provides data for Civil Rights Reporting. The system also contains a set of apps to help officials manage the complaint and review process.

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Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez
Lisbeth Perez is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.