Paperwork Reduction Act: New Approaches Can Strengthen Information Collection and Reduce Burden

GAO-06-477T Published: Mar 08, 2006. Publicly Released: Mar 08, 2006.
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Americans spend billions of hours each year providing information to federal agencies by filling out forms, surveys, or questionnaires. A major aim of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) is to minimize the burden that these information 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. In addition, agency Chief Information Officers (CIO) are to review information collections before they are submitted to OMB for approval and certify that these meet certain standards set forth in the act. GAO was asked to testify on the implementation of the act's provisions regarding the review and approval of information collections. For its testimony, GAO reviewed previous work in this area, including the results of an expert forum on information resources management and the PRA, which was held in February 2005 under the auspices of the National Research Council. GAO also drew on its earlier study of CIO review processes (GAO-05-424) and alternative processes that two agencies have used to minimize burden. For this 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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