Americans spend billions of hours each year providing information to federal agencies by filling out information collections (forms, surveys, or questionnaires). A major aim of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) is to minimize the burden that these collections impose on the public, while maximizing their public benefit. Under the act, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is to approve all such collections and to report annually on the agencies' estimates of the associated burden. In addition, agency Chief Information Officers (CIO) are to review information collections before they are submitted to OMB for approval and certify that the collections meet certain standards set forth in the act. For its testimony, GAO was asked to comment on OMB's burden report for 2004 and to discuss its recent study of PRA implementation (GAO-05-424), concentrating on CIO review and certification processes and describing alternative processes that two agencies have used to minimize burden. For its study, GAO reviewed a governmentwide sample of collections, reviewed processes and collections at four agencies that account for a large proportion of burden, and performed case studies of 12 approved collections.
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