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2.7 Paperwork Reduction Act (1980 and 1995)

Information Technology Laws

2.7 Paperwork Reduction Act (1980 and 1995)

The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1980 established, within OMB, [OIRA]. (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35. Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980.) It requires the Director of OMB to appoint an Administrator as head of OIRA and makes the Director responsible for any functions delegated to the Administrator about the development and implementation of federal information policies and standards.

The Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) of 1995 gives OMB authority over the collection of certain information by Federal agencies. It is intended, “among other things, to ‘ensure the greatest possible public benefit from and maximize the utility of information created, collected, maintained, used, shared and disseminated by or for the Federal Government’ and to ‘improve the quality and use of Federal information to strengthen decision-making, accountability, and openness in Government and society.’” (OMB. Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies, And Independent Regulatory Agencies. 4/7/2010.) The Act requires agencies to plan for the development of new collections of information and the extension of ongoing collections well in advance of sending an information collection request to OMB. Agencies must:

  • Seek public comment on proposed collections of information by placing a notice in the Federal Register;
  • Certify to OMB that efforts have been made to reduce the burden of the collection; and
  • Review and approve information collection requests internally before submitting them to OMB.

Although the scope of the PRA has changed over the years, its underlying policy standards remain the same. The PRA seeks to:

  • Minimize the paperwork burden on the public and other entities;
  • Ensure the greatest possible public benefit from and maximize the utility of information created, collected, maintained, used, shared, and disseminated by or for the Federal Government;
  • Improve the quality and use of Federal information to strengthen decision making, accountability, and openness in Government and society;
  • Minimize the cost to the Federal Government of creating, collecting, maintaining, using, disseminating, and disposing of information; and
  • Ensure the integrity, quality, and utility of the Federal statistical system. (OPM. Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) Guide. 4/27/2011.)