GAO: Better data is key to GPEA success

GAO: Better data is key to GPEA success

The Office of Management and Budget must do better at collecting information from agencies on their plans to comply with the Government Paperwork Elimination Act, the General Accounting Office told Congress last month in a report.

OMB also needs to provide agencies better feedback on their success in complying with GPEA, the watchdog agency said in its Sept. 28 briefing before the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee.

To collect more complete information more efficiently, OMB should refine its reporting requirements for agencies' GPEA implementation plans, GAO said.

Auditors from GAO looked at OMB's database of implementation plans submitted in October 2000 and checked the plans developed by 24 major departments and agencies. They also studied the Agriculture, Defense, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, State, Transportation and Treasury departments, as well as the Environmental Protection Agency.

Citizens' choice

From its study, GAO concluded that OMB should refine its reporting requirements to collect better data on how agencies are developing strategies for meeting GPEA requirements, which call for agencies to give citizens the option of conducting some government paperwork electronically by Oct. 21, 2003.

GAO also recommended that OMB collect better data on how agencies establish priorities for determining what paperwork can be processed electronically based on how capable the agency would be to make the change and what the benefits would be.

OMB should hold agencies accountable by linking GPEA activities to agencywide and program-specific performance measures, GAO said.

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