Analysis of Requirements for Recurring Reports to the Congress

PAD-80-72: Published: Apr 18, 1980. Publicly Released: Apr 18, 1980.

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As part of its efforts to fulfill its responsibilities under the law, GAO maintains an inventory on congressional reporting requirements. This inventory, established in 1976, is the principal source used in its analysis of requirements for recurring reports. In response to a request from a Senator, information was compiled on congressional reporting requirements.

Currently, the GAO database contains 2,039 reporting requirements. Three categories of cost information are maintained in the inventory: developmental, operational, and staff hours. The reported cost for these recurring reporting requirements is in the range of $20 million. Although executive departments, principal agencies, and commissions incurred approximately 90 percent of all costs associated with recurring reporting requirements, some of the most expensive reports were issued by other agencies. While there appeared to be some correlation between the agencies responding to the largest number of reporting requirements and the congressional committees responsible for these requirements, an analysis did not reveal a substantial amount of duplication or overlap; only 14 requirements appeared to overlap. This indicated that a number of requirements are designed to meet specific information needs and are not broad enough to support the needs of a number of congressional user groups.

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