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PA 101 - Understanding the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) [Shared]
Transcript of PA 101 - Understanding the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) [Shared]
Understanding the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA)
What is the PRA
OMB - OIRA
Who must comply?
the Paperwork Reduction Act?
The PRA is a law that seeks to balance the need for the Federal government to collect information for practical purposes with the goal of reducing the burden on the public to provide information.
The PRA requires the Federal government to think through these collections to reduce burden, eliminate duplication, encourage electronic submissions (or other methods that ease public burden), among other goals.
Each collection is then required to be submitted to OMB, OIRA, for review and clearance.
History of the Paperwork Reduction Act
The spirit and intent of the Paperwork Reduction Act began with the Federal Reports Act of 1942
Federal Reports Act of 1942 established law to:
coordinate Federal reporting,
reduce costs of reporting and
minimize burden of furnishing information (especially for small businesses)1
However, the Act, had large exclusions including the IRS and Comptroller of the Currency.
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1980
Generally continued the provisions of the Federal Reports Act but removed the aforementioned exclusions and introduced the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA).
Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995
Again, generally continued the spirit of the Federal Reports Act and the provisions from 1980, but added more specificity around agency responsibility and OIRA responsibility for clearance requirements and
Electronic availability of information (ROCIS/REGINFO).
The PRA can be found at 44 U.S.C. chapter 35.
It has been codified in regulations at 5 CFR 1320
OMB – OIRA
The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) is a statutory part of the Office of Management and Budget within the Executive Office of the President.
reviews regulations under Executive Order 12866
approves Government information collections
Oversees the implementation of government-wide policies in the areas of information policy, privacy, and statistical policy.
OIRA also oversees agency implementation of the Information Quality Act, including the peer review practices of agencies
The office is comprised of five subject matter branches:
Food, Health, and Labor Branch
Information Policy Branch
Natural Resources and Environment Branch
Statistical & Science Policy Branch
Transportation and Security Branch
OIRA SEEKS to Balance
The burdens of the collection on the public
Against the practical utility it will have for the agency.
of the PRA
The purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) is to:
Reduce, minimize and control burdens on the public.
Ensure practical utility and public benefit of information collections.
What is Burden?
Burden means the total time, effort, or financial resources expended by persons to generate, maintain, retain, disclose or provide information to, or for, a Federal agency, including:
Developing, acquiring, installing, and utilizing technology and systems for the purpose of:
Collecting, validating, and verifying information;
Processing and maintaining information;
Disclosing and providing information;
Adjusting the existing ways to comply with any previously applicable instructions and requirements;
Training personnel to be able to respond to a collection of information;
Searching data sources;
Completing and reviewing the collection of information; and
Transmitting, or otherwise disclosing the information.
What is not included in Burden?
Usual and Customary burden:
Time, effort, or money a person would spend during the normal course of their business activities.
This burden can be excluded if the Agency demonstrates that the reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure activities needed to comply with Agency requirements are usual and customary.
Requirements not exclusive to a Federal Agency:
A collection of information conducted or sponsored by an Agency that is also conducted or sponsored by a State, local, or tribal government is presumed to impose a Federal burden except to the extent that the agency shows that the State, local, or tribal requirement would be imposed even in the absence of an Agency requirement.
What does the PRA exclude from “information”?
Affidavits, oaths, affirmations, certifications*, receipts, changes of address, consents, or acknowledgments; provided that they entail no burden other than that necessary to identify the respondent, the date, the respondent's address, and the nature of the instrument.
Samples of products
or of any other physical objects;
Facts or opinions obtained through direct observation by an Agency employee or contractor or through non-standardized oral communication in connection with such direct observations;
Facts or opinions obtained or solicited through non-standardized follow-up questions designed to clarify responses to approved collections of information. Follow-up clarifications do not, however, give latitude for new questions. Only clarifications to prior responses;
Federal Register Notices or Public Meetings:
Facts or opinions submitted in response to general solicitations of comments from the public, published in the Federal Register or other publications, or via public meetings.
A request for facts or opinions addressed to a single person.
Examinations designed to test the aptitude, abilities, or knowledge of the persons tested and the collection of information for identification or classification in connection with such examinations;
Asking the general public for ideas as part of a contest (provided the request does not go beyond a general public request and self-identifying information)
Practical utility means that actual, not merely theoretical or potential, uses can be demonstrated taking into account:
The accuracy, validity, adequacy, and reliability, of the information to be collected and ;
The agency's ability to process the information it collects in a useful and timely fashion.
Who must comply with the PRA?
The PRA applies to most Federal agencies in the executive branch of government including:
Any executive department, military department, Government corporation;
Any government controlled corporation, or other establishment in the executive branch of government; or
Any independent regulatory agency.
Contractors performing data collections sponsored by a Federal agency, may need to provide PRA compliance materials in support of those data collections (dependent on the terms of the contract agreement).
Exceptions to who must comply with the PRA?
The list of exclusions includes:
General Accountability Office (GAO);
Federal Election Commission(FEC);
Governments of the city of DC and territories and possessions of the United States; and
Government-owned contractor operated facilities (such as laboratories engaged in national defense research and production activities).
And does not include information collections for :
Criminal Investigations: During the conduct of a Federal criminal investigation or prosecution, or during the disposition of a particular criminal matter;
Civil Suits: During the conduct of a civil action to which the United States or any official or agency thereof is a party, or during the conduct of an administrative action, investigation, or audit involving an agency against specific individuals or entities;
Intelligence activities: During the conduct of intelligence activities or cryptologic activities that are communications security activities.
responsible for the information collection?
conducts or sponsors
an information collection when the Agency:
Collects the information directly,
Causes another agency to collect the information,
Contracts or enters into a cooperative agreement with a person to collect the information, or
Requires a person to provide information to another person, or
Causes another agency, contractor, partner in a cooperative agreement, or person to obtain, solicit, or require the disclosure to third parties or the public of information by or for an agency.
A collection of information undertaken by a recipient of a Federal grant is considered to be “conducted or sponsored” by an agency only if:
The recipient of a grant is conducting the collection of information at the specific request of the agency; or
The terms and conditions of the grant require specific approval by the agency of the collection of information or collection procedures.
§1320.6 Public Protection
Agencies cannot legally enforce the use of an information collection that has not been cleared by OMB.
Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no person shall be subject to any penalty for failing to comply with a collection of information if:
The collection of information does not display, a currently valid OMB control number; or
The agency fails to inform the potential respondent that they are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number.
Note that this protection does not preclude the imposition of a penalty on a person for failing to comply with a collection of information that is imposed on the person by statute
Penalty includes the imposition by an agency or court of a fine or other punishment; a judgment for monetary damages or equitable relief; or the revocation, suspension, reduction, or denial of a license, privilege, right, grant, or benefit.
Whenever a member of the public is protected from imposition of a penalty under this section for failure to comply with a collection of information, such penalty may not be imposed by an agency directly, by an agency through judicial process, or by any other person through administrative or judicial process.
§1320.6 Public Protection
The PRA may be raised in the form of a complete defense, bar, or otherwise to the imposition of such penalty at any time during the agency administrative process in which such penalty may be imposed or in any judicial action applicable thereto.
The agency shall not treat a person's failure to comply, in and of itself, as grounds for withholding benefits or imposing a penalty.
The agency shall instead permit respondents to prove or satisfy the legal conditions in any other reasonable manner.
The public protection applies when:
The collection of information does not display, a currently valid OMB control number; or
The agency fails to inform the potential respondent that they are not required to respond to the collection of information unless it displays a currently valid OMB control number; or
OMB disapproves of the collection or it is discontinued (i.e., the collection is in use without OMB clearance);
What is an Information Collection?
Defining an information collection
When is OMB clearance needed?
Examples of information collections
There are 5 elements to defining an information collection:
1. Reporting, Recordkeeping, or Public Disclosure;
2. Identical questions or requirements;
3. The rule of ten;
4. Mandatory or voluntary; and
Reporting, Recordkeeping, Public Disclosure
What is an
Information collections include any requirement or request for persons to obtain, maintain, retain, report, or publicly disclose information to, or for, an agency.
There are three categories for information collections:
What is reporting?
Reporting means requiring a person to obtain or compile information for the purpose of disclosure to the agency.
Reports can be:
Structured or unstructured;
One time or recurring;
In any format as defined by the agency.
What is recordkeeping?
Recordkeeping means requiring a person to maintain specified records, including a requirement to:
Retain such records (i.e., for a period of time);
Notify third parties, the Federal government, or the public of the existence of such records;
Disclose such records to third parties, the Federal government, or the public; or
Report to third parties, the Federal government, or the public regarding such records.
Requiring persons to
Obtain or compile information;
For the purpose of disclosure to the public;
Through posting, notification, labeling or similar disclosure requirements.
Public disclosure applies whenever the same requirement to obtain or compile information would be a collection of information if the information were reported directly to the agency.
Exclusion: Disclosing information originally supplied by the Federal government for the purpose of disclosure to the public is not included within this definition.
Identical Questions or Requirements
What is an
Information collections have identical questions posed, or identical reporting, recordkeeping, or disclosure requirements.
Note that identical means identical in purpose and not always literally identical in words.
For example, if an agency is conducts a series of focus group for the same purpose, identical words may not be used in framing questions or guiding the discussion
However, the focus groups are being held for the identical purpose and thus are part of the same information collection.
The Rule of Ten
What is an
OMB clearance is required for an information collection that imposes reporting, recordkeeping or public disclosure requirements on ten or more persons annually;
This rule is usually the deciding in factor in determining whether or not OMB clearance is required.
If sufficient information can get obtained by gathering information from nine or fewer persons annually, OMB clearance is not required.
(10 or more) Persons
Person means an:
Businesses (profit, non-profit or farms), such as a partnership, association, corporation, etc.;
State, territorial, tribal, local government, or branch thereof.
Persons do not include (1320.3(c)) current employees of the Federal government when acting within the scope of their employment
except if the results are to be used for statistical compilations of general public interest,
including compilations of the status or implementation of Federal activities and programs.
Counting “10 or more”
Refers to the persons to whom a collection of information is
addressed by the agency
and to any
to which the initial addressee may reasonably be expected to transmit the collection of information including independent State, territorial, tribal or local entities and separately incorporated subsidiaries or affiliates.
Any collection of information contained in a rule of general applicability or addressed to all or a substantial majority of an industry is presumed to involve ten or more persons.
Not included in “10 or more”:
Employees of the respondent acting within the scope of their job; or
Contractors engaged by a respondent for the purpose of complying with the collection of information.
Mandatory or Voluntary
What is an
OMB clearance is required whether the information collection is:
Required to obtain or retain a benefit.
Mandatory includes provisions in regulations.
Voluntary includes optional requirements or situational requirements (such as waiver requests).
Required for benefits includes submitting or renewing applications.
What is an
If the other requirements are met, OMB clearance is required regardless of format.
In person or phone (oral) interviews or focus groups;
Paper, PDF or other formatted form;
Unstructured reporting requirements in regulations;
And many others.
Examples of Information Collections
Questionnaires or surveys
Reporting or recordkeeping requirements (i.e., without a form or set structure)
Contracts or agreements
Policy statements; circulars; directives; instructions; bulletins;
Plans; planning requirements
Rules or regulations
Requests for proposal or other procurement requirements;
Posting, notification, labeling, or similar disclosure requirements;
Requests via telephone, automated, electronic, mechanical, or other technological collection techniques;
Any methods used to monitor compliance with agency requirements.
Required Steps (high level)
What are the OMB Clearance Requirements?
§1320.5 Clearance Requirements
2. Information Collection Request (ICR):
The PRA outlines topics that must be addressed when submitting an information collection to OMB for clearance.
OMB has translated these topics into a series of questions in a document called a Supporting Statement. The Supporting Statement is the central component of ICR submissions.
1. 60-Day Notice:
Publish a notice in the Federal Register giving the public an opportunity to submit comments to the agency on the planned information collection.
2. 30-Day Notice:
Publish a notice in the Federal Register indicating that OMB approval is being sought. Comments are submitted to OMB.
4. OMB Clearance
OMB targets completing review and issuing its clearance determination within 60 days (including the 30 Day Notice period)
Clearance can be issued for up to three years.
Notice of Action
OMB clearance is provided on a form called a Notice of Action (NOA)
Possible OMB Actions:
Approved with change;
Withdrawn (by agency); or
Terms of Clearance: The NOA will also indicate if there are any special requirements that must be met. These are called Terms of Clearance.
After receiving OMB clearance, cleared information collections must meet the Display requirements.
For forms, questionnaires, instructions, and other written collections, place the valid OMB control number (and expiration date) on the front page (for paper) or first screen viewed (for online)
For collections of information published in regulations, guidelines, and other published notices, publish the currently valid OMB control number in the FEDERAL REGISTER in:
The preamble or the regulatory text for the final rule;
A technical amendment to the final rule; or
A separate notice announcing OMB approval of the collection of information.
Publication in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) also constitutes an alternative means of “display.”
Place the currently valid control number in a table or codified section in the CFR.
To learn more about information collection requirements:
Publishing a 60-Day Notice
Fast-track clearance options
Developing a Supporting Statement
PRA End-to-end (comprehensive training)