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Highlights

The importance and widespread use of federal information makes its accuracy imperative. The Information Quality Act (IQA) required that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issue guidelines to ensure the quality of information disseminated by federal agencies by fiscal year 2003. GAO was asked to (1) assess OMB's role in helping agencies implement IQA; (2) identify the number, type, and source of IQA correction requests agencies received; and (3) examine if IQA has adversely affected agencies' overall operations and, in particular, rulemaking processes. In response, GAO interviewed OMB and agency officials and reviewed agency IQA guidelines, related documents, and Web sites.

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Recommendations

Recommendations for Executive Action

Agency Affected Recommendation Status
Office of Management and Budget 1. To help ensure that all agencies covered by IQA fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency Web sites, the Director of OMB should work with DHS to help ensure it fulfills IQA requirements and set a deadline for doing so.
Closed - Implemented
In a December 8, 2009 memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies (including DHS), the OMB Director, Peter R. Orszag, issued a Government Directive establishing deadlines for action, and encouraged agencies to advance their open government initiatives (including the Information Quality Act) well ahead of those deadlines. This provides evidence that the Director set a deadline for DHS to fulfill its Information Quality Act requirements. http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/omb_open_government_directive_12_08_09.pdf
Office of Management and Budget 2. To help ensure that all agencies covered by IQA fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency Web sites, the Director of OMB should identify other agencies that do not have IQA guidelines and work with them to develop and implement IQA requirements.
Closed - Implemented
In a December 8, 2009 memorandum to the heads of all the executive departments and agencies, the OMB Director, Peter R. Orszag, issued a Government Directive to improve the quality of government information available to the public, by getting senior leaders to make certain that the information conforms to OMB guidance on the Information Quality Act and that adequate systems and processes are in place within the agencies to promote such conformity. For example, each agency was directed to, within 45 days, in consultation with OMB, designate a high-level senior official to be accountable for the quality and objectivity of, and internal controls over, the Federal spending information publicly disseminated. This is evidence that the Director is working with all federal agencies to develop and implement IQA requirements. http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/omb_open_government_directive_12_08_09.pdf
Office of Management and Budget 3. To help ensure that all agencies covered by IQA fulfill their requirements, including implementing IQA guidelines and helping to promote easier public access to IQA information on agency Web sites, the Director of OMB should clarify guidance to agencies on improving the public's access to online IQA information, including suggestions about clearer linkages to that information, where appropriate.
Closed - Implemented
In a December 8, 2009 memorandum to the heads of executive departments and agencies, the OMB Director, Peter R. Orszag, issued a Government Directive to increase accountability, promote informed participation by the public, and create economic opportunity, by having each agency take prompt steps to expand access to information by making it available online in open formats. Further, each open government webpage will incorporate a mechanism for the public to: give feedback on and assessment of the quality of published information; provide input about which information to prioritize for publication; and provide input on the agency's Open Government Plan. http://www.dhs.gov/xlibrary/assets/omb_open_government_directive_12_08_09.pdf

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