In response to a congressional request, the GAO provided information on whether: (1) the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is making progress in implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980; (2) OIRA should be reauthorized; (3) conflicts exist between a 6-year program to improve the management and administrative systems across the federal government and OIRA activities; (4) claims of reduced paperwork burdens are accurate; (5) OIRA staff time is being diverted to activities other than paperwork reduction; (6) the annual report to Congress meets the Act's annual reporting requirements; and (7) OIRA is making a sincere effort to accomplish the intent of the Act.
The GAO found that, since April 1983, OIRA has initiated guidance on information technology and statistical activities and made progress in the areas of paperwork management and agency reviews. OIRA has provided limited verbal guidance to agencies in four areas of responsibility and written guidance on paperwork management. OIRA has initiated joint reviews of agency management activities. However, these reviews have not resulted in reports to Congress. The GAO found no conflict between the 6-year program to improve management and administrative systems across the federal government and OIRA activities. In addition, paperwork burden reductions have been considerable, but not as great as OMB has claimed. Furthermore, OIRA staff have reported that a substantial amount of their time is spent on tasks related to paperwork reduction.
The GAO found that OIRA actions have met the Act's annual report requirements and, since the 1983 report, OIRA has completed 2 of the 13 tasks which Congress considered essential for successful implementation of the Act. OIRA issued a 5-year automatic data processing and telecommunications plan and has developed a Federal Information Locator System, audit standards, and a draft information resources management plan. However, much more needs to be done before the Act can be considered fully implemented.