Electronic Government:

Selected Agency Plans for Implementing the Government Paperwork Elimination Act

GAO-01-861T: Published: Jun 21, 2001. Publicly Released: Jun 21, 2001.

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The Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA) requires that by 2003 federal agencies provide the public the option of submitting, maintaining, and disclosing required information--such as employment records, tax forms, and loan applications--electronically, instead of on paper. In October 2000, federal agencies submitted GPEA implementation plans to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), which is responsible for executive branch oversight of GPEA. The plans submitted by the the Department of the Treasury and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) generally provide the kind of information that was specified in OMB's July 2000 guidance. However, the Department of Defense's (DOD) plan did not describe the department's overall GPEA strategy and, in some cases, the data provided for specific information collections may be inaccurate, incomplete or duplicative. Officials at all three agencies said that they faced challenges in complying with GPEA, particularly with regard to implementing adequate security assurances for sensitive electronic transactions and in planning for and implementing computer network infrastructures. Furthermore, OMB will be challenged in providing oversight of agency GPEA activities because the plans submitted by the agencies go not document key strategic actions, nor do they specify when they will be undertaken. Taken in isolation, the plans do not provide enough information to assess agencies' progress in meeting the objectives of the act. OMB may wish to require agencies to report on major agencywide activities, including specific planned tasks and milestones and the rationale for adopting them.

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