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Data Act: Initial Observations on Technical Implementation

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Citation Edit

Government Accountability Office, Data Act: Initial Observations on Technical Implementation (GAO-16-824R) (Aug. 3, 2016) (full-text).

Overview Edit

The GAO found that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Department of the Treasury have taken steps to assure the quality of the federal spending data that will be made available to the public under the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act).

These steps include creating a broker system to (1) check that submitted data follow a standardized format that will allow for aggregation and comparison across government and (2) validate selected data elements to ensure that the data are accurate.

Once fully implemented, the broker system will apply a series of format and formula checks to the budget and financial data submitted by the agencies to ensure that the data are in the required standard format and correctly calculated. The broker will also validate budget and financial data by comparing them to multiple sources. While the broker system is designed to extract and standardize the format of data from existing award reporting systems, it will not validate these data to ensure that they are accurate. GAO's prior work has identified persistent challenges with the quality of these data.

OMB has directed agencies to use existing quality assurance processes and controls to assure the quality of data reported under the Act.

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