Electronic Government:

Federal Agencies Have Made Progress Implementing the E-Government Act of 2002

GAO-05-12: Published: Dec 10, 2004. Publicly Released: Dec 22, 2004.

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The E-Government Act (E-Gov Act) of 2002 was enacted with the general purpose of promoting better use of the Internet and other information technologies to improve government services for citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in government. Among other things, the act specifically requires the establishment of the Office of Electronic Government within the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to oversee implementation of the act's provisions and mandates a number of specific actions, such as the establishment of interagency committees, completion of several studies, submission of reports with recommendations, issuance of a variety of guidance documents, establishment of new policies, and initiation of pilot projects. Further, the act requires federal agencies to take a number of actions, such as conducting privacy impact assessments, providing public access to agency information, and allowing for electronic access to rulemaking proceedings. OMB has linked several of the act's provisions to ongoing e-government initiatives that it has sponsored. While some deadlines specified in the act have passed, many required actions do not have statutory deadlines or have deadlines that have not yet passed. This report responds to a Congressional request that we review the implementation status of major provisions from Titles I and II of the E-Gov Act.

In most cases, OMB and federal agencies have taken positive steps toward implementing the provisions of Titles I and II of the E-Gov Act. For example, OMB established the Office of E-Government, designated its Assistant Director for Information Technology (IT) and E-Government as the office's Administrator in April 2003, and published guidance to federal agencies on implementing the act in August 2003. In most cases, OMB and federal agencies have taken action to address the act's requirements within stipulated time frames. For example, OMB established the Interagency Committee on Government Information in June 2003, within the deadline prescribed by the act. The committee is to develop recommendations on the categorization of government information and public access to electronic information. Even when deadlines have not yet passed, in all but one case OMB and agencies have taken action to implement the act. For example, federal courts have established informational Web sites in advance of the April 2005 deadline specified by the act, and court officials are taking steps to ensure that the Web sites fully meet the criteria stipulated by the act. Similarly, in most cases where deadlines are not specified, OMB and federal agencies have either fully implemented the provisions or demonstrated positive action toward implementation. For example, in May 2003, the E-Government Administrator issued a memorandum detailing procedures for requesting funds from the E-Government Fund, although the act did not specify a deadline for this action. Although the government has made progress in implementing the act, the act's requirements have not always been fully addressed. Specifically, OMB has not ensured that a study on using IT to enhance crisis preparedness and response has been conducted that addresses the content specified by the act, established a required program to encourage contractor innovation and excellence in facilitating the development and enhancement of electronic government services and processes, or ensured the development and maintenance of a required repository and Web site of information about research and development funded by the federal government. Further, GSA has not contracted with the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) to conduct a required study on disparities in Internet access for online government services. In the first three cases, OMB has either taken actions that are related to the act's provisions but do not fully address them (in the first and second cases) or has not yet made key decisions that would allow actions to take place (in the third case). In the last case, GSA is seeking funding for the required study in fiscal year 2006. Until these issues are addressed, the government may be at risk of not fully achieving the objective of the E-Government Act to promote better use of the Internet and other information technologies to improve government services and enhance opportunities for citizen participation in government.

Status Legend:

More Info
  • Review Pending-GAO has not yet assessed implementation status.
  • Open-Actions to satisfy the intent of the recommendation have not been taken or are being planned, or actions that partially satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-implemented-Actions that satisfy the intent of the recommendation have been taken.
  • Closed-not implemented-While the intent of the recommendation has not been satisfied, time or circumstances have rendered the recommendation invalid.
    • Review Pending
    • Open
    • Closed - implemented
    • Closed - not implemented

    Recommendations for Executive Action

    Recommendation: To ensure the successful implementation of the E-Government Act and its goal of promoting better use of the Internet and other information technologies to improve government services to citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in government, the Director, OMB, should direct the Administrator of the Office of E-Government to ensure that the report to Congress regarding the study on enhancement of crisis response required under section 214 addresses the content specified by the act.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB took a two-phased approach in implementing GAO's recommendation. In Phase I, completed in September 2005, OMB examined opportunities for more effective use of technologies, including the management of information technology research and development opportunities to enhance crisis preparedness. Phase II addressed the development of research and provided an implementation roadmap for effective use of IT in crisis response and consequence management. In 2007, OMB and FEMA conducted the Phase II study on using information technology to enhance crisis preparedness, response, and consequence management of natural and manmade disasters, and issued a report to Congress based on that study.

    Recommendation: To ensure the successful implementation of the E-Government Act and its goal of promoting better use of the Internet and other information technologies to improve government services to citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in government, the Director, OMB, should direct the Administrator of the Office of E-Government to establish and promote a governmentwide program, as prescribed by 44 U.S.C. 3605, to encourage contractor innovation and excellence in facilitating the development and enhancement of electronic government services and processes.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: OMB's 31 U.S.C. 720 response indicated that it has implemented this recommendation by launching a series of new initiatives (agency Lines of Business) that encourage contractor innovation and excellence. These Lines of Business allow for contractor innovation and use common approaches across agencies. In addition, through interagency taskforces, the Line of Business initiatives have developed common approaches and target architectures for processes such as grants management, human resources management, and financial management.

    Recommendation: To ensure the successful implementation of the E-Government Act and its goal of promoting better use of the Internet and other information technologies to improve government services to citizens, internal government operations, and opportunities for citizen participation in government, the Director, OMB, should direct the Administrator of the Office of E-Government to ensure the development and maintenance of a governmentwide repository and Web site that integrates information about research and development funded by the federal government.

    Agency Affected: Executive Office of the President: Office of Management and Budget

    Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: The federal government has established and is maintaining two primary repositories (RaDiUS and Science.gov) for research and development information related to Federal government funds. RaDiUS provides the public and agencies with information about federally funded research and development activities. Science.gov provides links to science websites and scientific databases so citizens can access the results of Federal research.

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