Going paperless takes a lot of paper plans

Going paperless takes a lot of paper plans

By Susan M. Menke

GCN Staff

OCT. 2—By the end of the month, agencies must tell the Office of Management and Budget how they will provide electronic options for information collection to comply with the 1998 Government Paperwork Elimination Act.

GPEA sets a 2003 deadline for paperless submission and maintenance of employment records, tax forms and federal loan applications. The plans due this month must disclose the costs, benefits and risks expected from the paperless transition.

The General Accounting Office said last month that plenty of guidance is on hand for agencies now revamping their business processes to eliminate paper. The guidance, ironically, comes in the form of policy papers.

  • The Treasury Department has developed a policy on use of electronic authentication, including digital signatures, for payment, collection and collateral transactions over open networks.

  • The National Archives and Records Administration has drafted guidance for managing records created with electronic signatures.

  • The Justice Department has drafted a guide to the legal implications of electronic processes, such as accessibility, sufficiency, reliability and legality.

  • The National Institute of Standards and Technology and the Federal Public-Key Infrastructure Steering Committee are about to release a technical document on when to use PKI over open networks.

  • The General Services Administration's Access Certificates for Elecronic Services program has contracts in place to provide 500,000 free digital certificates to agencies.

    GAO's report to the Senate Committee on Governmental Affairs, Government Paperwork Elimination Act Presents Challenges for Agencies, appears online at www.gao.gov.

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