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The paperwork burden on the public places a high cost on the economy, individual businesses, public and private institutions, the general public, and the Federal Government. The Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980 is the first piece of legislation that deals with the need for comprehensive management of information and related resources within the Federal Government on a broad and integrated scale. The Act requires the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the agencies to take the following steps to manage information resources effectively: (I) performing research on information processing, (2) developing and issuing management policy. (3) establishing an agency senior official as responsible and accountable for effective management. and (4) performing oversight review and evaluations for self evaluation of actions taken under the Act.
The GAO believes that these are all significant management considerations. Further, the GAO sees the Act's audit provisions as a perpetual self evaluation of how well the Act is being carried out. Because information management today involves new. complex, and growing technologies. including electronic data processing (EDP), the GAO sees a need to apply the proper kinds of resources to the oversight of EDP. Problems noted in the past with agency audits and reviews of computer systems still persist. The information management improvements possible under proper implementation of the Act will result in more economical information related operations, less paperwork burden on the public, better Federal decisionmaking. improved services to the public. and an overall reduction of the cost of Government.
The increased expenditures for better information management will be offset many times by the resultant savings. The GAO will be heavily involved in assessing for Congress the progress made under the Act. Reviews will focus on OMB and agency efforts to develop policies, establish organizational structures. and provide adequate resources for more economical and effective management of information. Also, the GAO will be analyzing whether agencies are taking advantage of opportunities to apply information technology to reduce Government costs and improve service delivery.