Improving Implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act, 55269-55272 [E9-25757]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 206 / Tuesday, October 27, 2009 / Notices Operations & Regulations Committee (October 30, 2009) Agenda 1. Approval of agenda. 2. Approval of the minutes of the Committee’s April 25, 2009 meeting. 3. Approval of the minutes of the Committee’s July 25, 2009 meeting. 4. Consider and act on proposed revisions to LSC’s Employee Handbook. 5. Consider and act on the LSC Board of Directors’ role in collective bargaining. 6. Staff report on LSC’s survey of grantees’ Boards of Directors. 7. Discussion of need for and wisdom of requiring grantees’ governing bodies to establish audit committees. 8. Office of Inspector General (‘‘OIG’’) report on IPA survey results. 9. Report on status of GAO review. 10. Consider and act on Inspector General’s proposal for a modified LSC logo. 11. Consider and act on whether to amend 45 CFR part 1622 to remove from its requirements either all councils and non-executive committees of the Board or to remove from its requirements only the Board’s Governance & Performance Review Committee performance evaluations of the President and the Inspector General. 12. Other public comment. 13. Consider and act on other business. 14. Consider and act on adjournment of meeting. Governance and Performance Review Committee (October 31, 2009) pwalker on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES Agenda 1. Approval of agenda. 2. Approval of the minutes of the Committee’s July 25, 2009 meeting. 3. Consider and act on performance review of the Inspector General. 4. Distribution of Forms and Instructions for Individual and Board Self-Assessment for 2009. 5. Report on orientation for new Board members. • Staff Report from Victor Fortuno and John Constance. 6. Consider and act on amendment to Committee charter to add responsibility for oversight of LSC’s compensation plan. 7. Consider and act on other business. 8. Consider and act on adjournment of meeting. Finance Committee (October 31, 2009) Agenda 1. Approval of agenda. 2. Approval of the minutes of the meeting of September 21, 2009. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:45 Oct 26, 2009 Jkt 220001 3. Consider and act on FY 2009 COB reallocations and Resolution 2009–016. 4. Presentation on LSC’s Financial Reports for the Year Ending September 30, 2009. • Presentation by David Richardson; • Comments by Charles Jeffress; • Comments by Jeffrey Schanz. 5. Consider and act on whether to conduct a closed meeting. Closed Session 6. Consider and act on staff report on the classification of LSC consultants. Open Session 7. Consider and act on amendment to LSC’s 403(b) Plan and Resolution 2009– 017. 8. Staff report on status of FY 2010 appropriations process. • Presentation by John Constance. 9. Consider and act on Resolution # 2008–018, Temporary Operating Budget for FY 2010. • Presentation by David Richardson; • Comments by Charles Jeffress. 10. Public comment. 11. Consider and act on other business. 12. Consider and act on adjournment of meeting. Board of Directors (October 31, 2009) Agenda 1. Approval of agenda. 2. Approval of the minutes of the Board’s Open Session meeting of July 25, 2009. 3. Approval of the minutes of the Board’s Open Session Telephonic meeting of September 8, 2009. 4. Approval of the minutes of the Board’s Open Session meeting of September 21, 2009. 5. Chairman’s Report. 6. Members’ Reports. 7. President’s Report. 8. Inspector General’s Report. 9. Consider and act on the report of the Committee on the Provision for the Delivery of Legal Services. 10. Consider and act on the report of the Finance Committee. 11. Consider and act on the report of the Operations & Regulations Committee. 12. Consider and act on the report of the Audit Committee. 13. Consider and act on the report of the Governance & Performance Review Committee. 14. Consider and act on the report of the Search Committee to recommend an interim President. 15. Staff report on Strategic Directions progress. 16. Public comment. PO 00000 Frm 00089 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 55269 17. Consider and act on whether to authorize an executive session of the Board to address items listed below under Closed Session. Closed Session 18. Briefing by the Inspector General. 19. Consider and act on staff and committee reports on the classification of LSC consultants. 20. Consider and act on General Counsel’s report on potential and pending litigation involving LSC. 21. Consider and act on other business. 22. Consider and act on motion to adjourn meeting. CONTACT PERSON FOR INFORMATION: Katherine Ward, Executive Assistant to the Vice President & General Counsel, at (202) 295–1500. Questions may be sent by electronic mail to FR_NOTICE_QUESTIONS@lsc.gov. SPECIAL NEEDS: Upon request, meeting notices will be made available in alternate formats to accommodate visual and hearing impairments. Individuals who have a disability and need an accommodation to attend the meeting may notify Katherine Ward, at (202) 295–1500 or FR_NOTICE_QUESTIONS@lsc.gov. Dated: October 23, 2009. Victor M. Fortuno, Vice President & General Counsel. [FR Doc. E9–25996 Filed 10–23–09; 4:15 pm] BILLING CODE 7050–01–P OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET Improving Implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act AGENCY: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget. ACTION: Request for comments. SUMMARY: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) oversees agency information collection activities under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA). While information collection is critical to evidence-based decisions and informed government operations, unnecessary paperwork requirements can impose serious burdens on the public, especially small entities. The PRA requires Federal agencies to minimize the burden on the public resulting from their information collections, and to maximize the practical utility of the information collected. OMB is committed to working with agencies and the public to promote compliance with the PRA and to reduce E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1 pwalker on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES 55270 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 206 / Tuesday, October 27, 2009 / Notices unnecessary paperwork and improve PRA guidance and implementation. To that end, OMB is inviting comments from the public on how to strengthen and improve implementation of the PRA. Specifically, OMB seeks comments on reducing current paperwork burdens, especially on small entities; increasing the practical utility of information collected by the Federal Government; ensuring accurate burden estimates; and preventing unintended adverse consequences. DATES: To ensure consideration, responses must be written and received by December 28, 2009. ADDRESSES: Submit comments by one of the following methods: • Web site: www.regulations.gov. • E-mail: oira_submission@omb.eop.gov. • Fax: (202) 395–7245. Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available to the public through relevant Web sites. For this reason, please do not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you send an e-mail comment, your e-mail address will be automatically captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the public docket and made available on the Internet. Please note that responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as public comments that may be made available to the public notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mabel Echols, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Records Management Center, Office of Management and Budget, Room 10102, NEOB, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 20503, Telephone: (202) 395–6880. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In this Federal Register notice, OMB seeks public comments on possible initiatives to improve the implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA)—and in particular, to reduce the paperwork burden on the public, especially on small entities; to maximize the utility of the information collected; to ensure accurate burden estimates; to improve the process of OMB review; and to prevent unintended adverse consequences. OMB plans to use the comments it receives in response to this notice to inform its preparation of the 2010 Information Collection Budget (ICB), which is a report that will be provided to Congress VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:45 Oct 26, 2009 Jkt 220001 on the Federal Government’s effectiveness in implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. OMB will also use these comments to inform its practices for evaluating information collections submitted to OMB by agencies. Improving Paperwork Burden Estimates Agencies estimate PRA paperwork burden in terms of the time and financial resources the public devotes annually to responding to information collections. The term ‘‘burden’’ means the ‘‘time, effort, or financial resources’’ the public expends to provide information to or for a Federal agency, or otherwise fulfill statutory or regulatory requirements. 44 U.S.C. 3502(2); 5 CFR 1320.3(b). ‘‘Burden’’ therefore includes: • Reviewing instructions; • Using technology to collect, process, and disclose information; • Adjusting existing practices to comply with requirements; • Searching data sources; • Completing and reviewing the response; and • Transmitting or disclosing information. Currently, agencies estimate and report the burden of these activities in terms of the time, or burden hours, and the financial costs that the public devotes to reporting, recordkeeping, and disclosure requirements. In estimating the time and resources devoted to information collections, agency Chief Information Officer offices typically consult agency program staff, who are responsible for managing the information and thus possess the substantive knowledge that is essential to estimating the number of respondents to an information request relating to that program. The agency then uses its knowledge of the program to consider how much time a respondent would need to respond to the information request. Multiplying the amount of time per respondent by the number of respondents and the number of times the information is submitted each year produces the total annual burden hours imposed by a given collection. After agencies produce a preliminary burden estimate, several reviews of its accuracy take place. First, agencies solicit public feedback on the accuracy of their estimates in Federal Register notices that provide for an initial 60-day public comment period. Any comments received by the agency are used to refine the estimate that is submitted for OMB review. Second, OMB analysts who review agency information collection requests (ICRs) can provide comments PO 00000 Frm 00090 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 on the agency’s estimate. Finally, OMB review is accompanied by a second, 30day public comment period (initiated with a second Federal Register notice), during which the public can again submit comments on the burden estimates. Agencies have worked hard to improve their burden estimates, and several agencies have undergone extensive studies to do so. For example, the Internal Revenue Service accounts for a large share (over 76 percent) of the Federal Government’s total paperwork burden. In light of this fact, the IRS has devoted considerable resources to measuring the burden it imposes on taxpayers so that policymakers and the public can better understand the cost to society of tax collection and compliance with the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS has made efforts to improve the accuracy and transparency of taxpayer burden estimates. Starting in FY 2006, the IRS began using a new methodology based on a statistical model—the Individual Taxpayer Burden Model (ITBM)—to estimate the reporting burden imposed on individual taxpayers. The ITBM’s approach to measuring burden focuses on the characteristics and activities of individual taxpayers rather than the forms they ultimately use. Despite public input and certain common methodological techniques, agency estimation methodologies can sometimes produce imprecise and inconsistent burden estimates. Some agencies have relied on program analysts to generate burden estimates based on their individual consideration of, for example, the number and types of questions asked, what records will need to be created and maintained, how long it will take people to complete these and other tasks, and how many people will be performing the tasks. These officials are often experts in their areas of responsibility and are usually familiar with the public’s experience with responding to information collections they oversee. In some cases, however, it is not clear that their estimates are based on sufficiently rigorous or internally consistent methodologies. This is a particular concern in the case of large collections, the burden of which may be measured in millions of hours or tens of millions of dollars.1 1 For more information on how agencies estimate their paperwork burden, please refer to pages 29– 39 of the Information Collection Budget of the United States Government, FY 1999, Office of Management and Budget, which can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/omb/ inforeg/icb-fy99.pdf. E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 206 / Tuesday, October 27, 2009 / Notices pwalker on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES In addition, OMB is aware of the possibility that information collections may impose significant burdens on small businesses. Because of economies of scale, a collection may be more burdensome for a small entity than for a large one. However, currently there is no uniform method for agencies to account for situations in which a collection may have a disproportionate impact on a particular type of respondent, such as a small entity. In summary, there is some variation across individual agencies in the methodologies used for estimating the time and financial burden associated with their collections. This variation makes it difficult to ensure accurate assessment on the part of all individual agencies and to upgrade governmentwide performance in implementing the PRA. OMB Seeks Comment on How To Improve the Current Situation, Including: • Examples of substantially inaccurate burden estimates for information collections, including an analysis of the inaccuracy and, if possible, the collection’s OMB Control Number. • New or improved practices for estimating burden, such as new burden estimation methodologies and recommendations about how to use technology and social media applications to seek comments from those most informed about a collection’s burden. • Possible distinctions, in burden estimates, between mandatory and voluntary information collections. • Examples of information collections (if possible, including the OMB Control Number) that inaccurately estimate the impact of burden upon small entities. • Whether the creation of a separate burden estimate for small entities is necessary and, if so, the best methodology by which to estimate burden. • Whether and how burden hours should be monetized. If so, should a single valuation of time (as represented, for example, by a respondent’s wage rate or the fee paid to a contractor) be used for all collections, or should it be derived separately for different types of collections? Also, should a single valuation be used for all respondents to a particular collection, or should valuations differ according to respondent characteristics? • Whether OMB should establish a means for reporting annual burden estimates rather than the three-year average burden estimates that are commonly reported today. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:45 Oct 26, 2009 Jkt 220001 In submitting comments to this notice, please provide supporting evidence where feasible—with data, specific examples of information collections, and, if possible, the collections’ OMB Control Numbers— along with concrete recommendations. Reducing Paperwork Burden and Maximizing the Utility of Information Collected by the Federal Government Over the years, the number of hours that the public has spent responding to Federal Government information collections has been steadily increasing. In FY 2000, the public spent an estimated 7.4 billion hours responding to information collections subject to the PRA. In FY 2007, the number of hours grew to an estimated 9.64 billion, an increase of more than 30 percent. Much of this increase is attributed to factors that make it difficult for agencies to control their paperwork burden, such as new statutory requirements and demographic and economic changes. A much smaller portion is a result of discretionary decisions made by agencies that increase burden. While the overall trend in paperwork burden has been rising, several agencies have dramatically reduced the burden of their collections, and in some cases improved the utility of a collection in the process. The following are examples of successful initiatives by agencies to reduce burden on the public: • The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expanded electronic reporting options for its National Fire Incident Reporting System (NFIRS), which allows the Department to analyze fire incident data at the Federal, State, and local levels. The revised system continues to help DHS identify common fire trends on a national scale, but in a more efficient manner. The revisions to the system resulted in a reduction of 1.28 million burden hours and $17.545 million in costs to respondents. • Within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) managed a work group to examine some of its forms for possible duplication or redundancy with currently approved Standard Forms. The group found that the health professions programs could operate with the Standard Forms, allowing HRSA to discontinue one of its programspecific forms, the Competing Grant Training Application. As a result, burden was reduced by 101,531 hours. • The Social Security Administration (SSA) reduced the amount of time necessary to complete the initial online filing for Social Security retirement and disability benefits by enabling PO 00000 Frm 00091 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 55271 respondents to sign the application electronically, rather than in hard copy. This portion of the SSA’s Signature Proxy Initiative resulted in an annual reduction of 32,401 hours.2 Agencies also often undertake efforts to improve the utility of information that they collect through relatively small increases in burden. For example, statistical agencies routinely pretest new surveys or new items for existing surveys to ensure that respondents understand the question being asked, have the information to be able to respond, and are able to convey their response in accordance with the options provided by the agency. Similarly, agencies conducting program evaluations or research studies often engage in small-scale formative or exploratory research to inform largerscale investigations. With increasing use of the Internet to collect and disseminate information, more agencies are also engaging in usability testing to improve their Web sites and electronic forms and questionnaires. OMB is committed to helping agencies build on these initiatives and to ensuring that the PRA is implemented in a way that suits current conditions. OMB is also aware that concerns have been expressed about unintended consequences of the administration of the Act, including delays in the conduct of surveys and research in contexts in which citizens are asked, but not required, to respond to information collection requests by the Federal Government. In this notice, OMB is seeking public comment to provide new ideas for reducing paperwork burden and ensuring practical utility. As part of its efforts to improve this situation, OMB invites comments from the public on all issues relating to improvement of the implementation of the PRA, including but not limited to the following topic areas: • How can OMB improve the PRA review process in a way that increases efficiency and timeliness for agencies while ensuring practical utility and minimizing burden on the public? • Under the PRA, what are the relevant differences among collections that are mandatory, mandatory to receive a benefit, and voluntary, and what practices could OMB implement in its review processes to recognize these differences? In addition, how would such practices achieve the PRA goals of reducing current paperwork 2 See page 5 of the Information Collection Budget of the United States Government, FY 2007, Office of Management and Budget, which can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/omb/ inforeg/icb/fy_2007_icb_final.pdf. E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1 55272 Federal Register / Vol. 74, No. 206 / Tuesday, October 27, 2009 / Notices burdens and increasing the practical utility of information collected by the Federal Government? • Should OMB encourage agencies to adopt ‘‘one-stop’’ information collection techniques, which consolidate multiple forms via a single electronic form to reduce the burden on the public? How should OMB encourage agencies to take advantage of online tools to simplify the completion of already-approved surveys or mobile technology to deliver a survey by alternative means? • What practices could OMB implement under the PRA to facilitate the use of new technologies, such as social media, as well as future technologies, while supporting the Federal Government’s responsibilities for Information Resource Management? • What new steps, if any, might be taken under the PRA to eliminate any redundant or excessive mandatory information collections, especially in connection with programs that now impose the most significant burdens, including tax, health, and transportation programs? • Examples of successful paperwork burden reduction practices implemented by an agency that could be implemented by other agencies. Please provide recommendations, and if possible, OMB control numbers. Cass R. Sunstein, Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. [FR Doc. E9–25757 Filed 10–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 3110–01–P Purpose of Meeting: To provide advice and recommendations to the National Science Foundation on major goals and policies pertaining to Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate programs and activities. Agenda: Thursday Updates and discussions on continuing activities. • Budget process and status: FY 2010, FY 2011, and FY 2012. • SBE Future Directions. • Division Breakout Sessions: Overview and Key issues. • Report from Breakout Sessions. NSF Strategic Plan. Discussion with NSF Director and Deputy Director. Follow-up to SBE Science in Federal Context. Friday Updates and discussion on continuing activities. • CISE and Cyberinfrastructure. • SBE/CISE Joint AC Subcommittee on Portfolio Analysis. • Climate and Energy Research. • GPRA, OMB/OSTP Priorities and SciSIP. Innovation. Open Discussion. Planning for FY 2010 and Beyond. Dated: October 22, 2009. Susanne Bolton, Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. E9–25769 Filed 10–26–09; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 7555–01–P NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION [NRC–2009–0453] NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences; Notice of Meeting pwalker on DSK8KYBLC1PROD with NOTICES In accordance with Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463, as amended), the National Science Foundation announces the following meeting: Name: Advisory Committee for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences (#1171). Date/Time: November 19, 2009; 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. November 20, 2009; 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Place: National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Stafford I, Room 1235, Arlington, VA 22230. Type of Meeting: Open. Contact Person: Ms. Lisa Jones, Office of the Assistant Director, Directorate for Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences, National Science Foundation, 4201 Wilson Boulevard, Room 905, Arlington, Virginia 22230, 703– 292–8700. Summary of Minutes: May be obtained from contact person listed above. VerDate Nov<24>2008 16:45 Oct 26, 2009 Jkt 220001 Draft Regulatory Guide, DG–1199, ‘‘Alternative Radiological Source Terms for Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors:’’ Issuance, Availability; Extension of Comment Period AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission. ACTION: Extension of comment period. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mark Blumberg, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555–0001, telephone 301–415– 1083, or e-mail Mark.Blumberg@nrc.gov. DATES: The comment period closes on January 13, 2010. ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any one of the following methods. Please include Docket ID NRC–2009– 0453 in the subject line of your comments. Comments submitted in writing or in electronic form will be posted on the NRC Web site and on the Federal rulemaking Web site PO 00000 Frm 00092 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 Regulations.gov. Because your comments will not be edited to remove any identifying or contact information, the NRC cautions you against including any information in your submission that you do not want to be publicly disclosed. The NRC requests that any party soliciting or aggregating comments received from other persons for submission to the NRC inform those persons that the NRC will not edit their comments to remove any identifying or contact information, and therefore, they should not include any information in their comments that they do not want publicly disclosed. Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for documents filed under Docket ID NRC–2009–0453. Address questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher 301–492–3668; e-mail Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. Mail comments to: Michael T. Lesar, Chief, Rulemaking and Directives Branch (RDB), Division of Administrative Services, Office of Administration, Mail Stop: TWB–05– B01M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555– 0001, or by fax to RDB at (301) 492– 3446. You can access publicly available documents related to this notice using the following methods: NRC’s Public Document Room (PDR): The public may examine and have copied for a fee publicly available documents at the NRC’s PDR, Public File Area O1 F21, One White Flint North, 11555 Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland. NRC’s Agencywide Documents Access and Management System (ADAMS): Publicly available documents created or received at the NRC are available electronically at the NRC’s Electronic Reading Room at http://www.nrc.gov/ reading-rm/adams.html. From this page, the public can gain entry into ADAMS, which provides text and image files of NRC’s public documents. If you do not have access to ADAMS or if there are problems in accessing the documents located in ADAMS, contact the NRC’s PDR reference staff at 1–800–397–4209, 301–415–4737, or by e-mail to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The Draft Regulatory Guide, DG–1199, ‘‘Alternative Radiological Source Terms for Evaluating Design Basis Accidents at Nuclear Power Reactors,’’ is available electronically under ADAMS Accession Number ML090960464. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: On October 14, 2009 (74 FR 52822), the NRC published a notice of issuance and E:\FR\FM\27OCN1.SGM 27OCN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 74, Number 206 (Tuesday, October 27, 2009)]
[Notices]
[Pages 55269-55272]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E9-25757]


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OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET


 Improving Implementation of the Paperwork Reduction Act

AGENCY: Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of 
Management and Budget.

ACTION: Request for comments.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) oversees agency 
information collection activities under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 
1995 (PRA). While information collection is critical to evidence-based 
decisions and informed government operations, unnecessary paperwork 
requirements can impose serious burdens on the public, especially small 
entities. The PRA requires Federal agencies to minimize the burden on 
the public resulting from their information collections, and to 
maximize the practical utility of the information collected. OMB is 
committed to working with agencies and the public to promote compliance 
with the PRA and to reduce

[[Page 55270]]

unnecessary paperwork and improve PRA guidance and implementation. To 
that end, OMB is inviting comments from the public on how to strengthen 
and improve implementation of the PRA. Specifically, OMB seeks comments 
on reducing current paperwork burdens, especially on small entities; 
increasing the practical utility of information collected by the 
Federal Government; ensuring accurate burden estimates; and preventing 
unintended adverse consequences.

DATES: To ensure consideration, responses must be written and received 
by December 28, 2009.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments by one of the following methods:
     Web site: www.regulations.gov.
     E-mail: oira_submission@omb.eop.gov.
     Fax: (202) 395-7245.
    Comments submitted in response to this notice may be made available 
to the public through relevant Web sites. For this reason, please do 
not include in your comments information of a confidential nature, such 
as sensitive personal information or proprietary information. If you 
send an e-mail comment, your e-mail address will be automatically 
captured and included as part of the comment that is placed in the 
public docket and made available on the Internet. Please note that 
responses to this public comment request containing any routine notice 
about the confidentiality of the communication will be treated as 
public comments that may be made available to the public 
notwithstanding the inclusion of the routine notice.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mabel Echols, Office of Information 
and Regulatory Affairs, Records Management Center, Office of Management 
and Budget, Room 10102, NEOB, 725 17th Street, NW., Washington, DC 
20503, Telephone: (202) 395-6880.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: In this Federal Register notice, OMB seeks 
public comments on possible initiatives to improve the implementation 
of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (PRA)--and in particular, to 
reduce the paperwork burden on the public, especially on small 
entities; to maximize the utility of the information collected; to 
ensure accurate burden estimates; to improve the process of OMB review; 
and to prevent unintended adverse consequences. OMB plans to use the 
comments it receives in response to this notice to inform its 
preparation of the 2010 Information Collection Budget (ICB), which is a 
report that will be provided to Congress on the Federal Government's 
effectiveness in implementing the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. OMB 
will also use these comments to inform its practices for evaluating 
information collections submitted to OMB by agencies.

Improving Paperwork Burden Estimates

    Agencies estimate PRA paperwork burden in terms of the time and 
financial resources the public devotes annually to responding to 
information collections. The term ``burden'' means the ``time, effort, 
or financial resources'' the public expends to provide information to 
or for a Federal agency, or otherwise fulfill statutory or regulatory 
requirements. 44 U.S.C. 3502(2); 5 CFR 1320.3(b). ``Burden'' therefore 
includes:
     Reviewing instructions;
     Using technology to collect, process, and disclose 
information;
     Adjusting existing practices to comply with requirements;
     Searching data sources;
     Completing and reviewing the response; and
     Transmitting or disclosing information.
    Currently, agencies estimate and report the burden of these 
activities in terms of the time, or burden hours, and the financial 
costs that the public devotes to reporting, recordkeeping, and 
disclosure requirements. In estimating the time and resources devoted 
to information collections, agency Chief Information Officer offices 
typically consult agency program staff, who are responsible for 
managing the information and thus possess the substantive knowledge 
that is essential to estimating the number of respondents to an 
information request relating to that program. The agency then uses its 
knowledge of the program to consider how much time a respondent would 
need to respond to the information request. Multiplying the amount of 
time per respondent by the number of respondents and the number of 
times the information is submitted each year produces the total annual 
burden hours imposed by a given collection.
    After agencies produce a preliminary burden estimate, several 
reviews of its accuracy take place. First, agencies solicit public 
feedback on the accuracy of their estimates in Federal Register notices 
that provide for an initial 60-day public comment period. Any comments 
received by the agency are used to refine the estimate that is 
submitted for OMB review. Second, OMB analysts who review agency 
information collection requests (ICRs) can provide comments on the 
agency's estimate. Finally, OMB review is accompanied by a second, 30-
day public comment period (initiated with a second Federal Register 
notice), during which the public can again submit comments on the 
burden estimates.
    Agencies have worked hard to improve their burden estimates, and 
several agencies have undergone extensive studies to do so. For 
example, the Internal Revenue Service accounts for a large share (over 
76 percent) of the Federal Government's total paperwork burden. In 
light of this fact, the IRS has devoted considerable resources to 
measuring the burden it imposes on taxpayers so that policymakers and 
the public can better understand the cost to society of tax collection 
and compliance with the Internal Revenue Code. The IRS has made efforts 
to improve the accuracy and transparency of taxpayer burden estimates. 
Starting in FY 2006, the IRS began using a new methodology based on a 
statistical model--the Individual Taxpayer Burden Model (ITBM)--to 
estimate the reporting burden imposed on individual taxpayers. The 
ITBM's approach to measuring burden focuses on the characteristics and 
activities of individual taxpayers rather than the forms they 
ultimately use.
    Despite public input and certain common methodological techniques, 
agency estimation methodologies can sometimes produce imprecise and 
inconsistent burden estimates. Some agencies have relied on program 
analysts to generate burden estimates based on their individual 
consideration of, for example, the number and types of questions asked, 
what records will need to be created and maintained, how long it will 
take people to complete these and other tasks, and how many people will 
be performing the tasks. These officials are often experts in their 
areas of responsibility and are usually familiar with the public's 
experience with responding to information collections they oversee. In 
some cases, however, it is not clear that their estimates are based on 
sufficiently rigorous or internally consistent methodologies. This is a 
particular concern in the case of large collections, the burden of 
which may be measured in millions of hours or tens of millions of 
dollars.\1\
---------------------------------------------------------------------------

    \1\ For more information on how agencies estimate their 
paperwork burden, please refer to pages 29-39 of the Information 
Collection Budget of the United States Government, FY 1999, Office 
of Management and Budget, which can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/omb/inforeg/icb-fy99.pdf.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

[[Page 55271]]

    In addition, OMB is aware of the possibility that information 
collections may impose significant burdens on small businesses. Because 
of economies of scale, a collection may be more burdensome for a small 
entity than for a large one. However, currently there is no uniform 
method for agencies to account for situations in which a collection may 
have a disproportionate impact on a particular type of respondent, such 
as a small entity.
    In summary, there is some variation across individual agencies in 
the methodologies used for estimating the time and financial burden 
associated with their collections. This variation makes it difficult to 
ensure accurate assessment on the part of all individual agencies and 
to upgrade government-wide performance in implementing the PRA.

OMB Seeks Comment on How To Improve the Current Situation, Including:

     Examples of substantially inaccurate burden estimates for 
information collections, including an analysis of the inaccuracy and, 
if possible, the collection's OMB Control Number.
     New or improved practices for estimating burden, such as 
new burden estimation methodologies and recommendations about how to 
use technology and social media applications to seek comments from 
those most informed about a collection's burden.
     Possible distinctions, in burden estimates, between 
mandatory and voluntary information collections.
     Examples of information collections (if possible, 
including the OMB Control Number) that inaccurately estimate the impact 
of burden upon small entities.
     Whether the creation of a separate burden estimate for 
small entities is necessary and, if so, the best methodology by which 
to estimate burden.
     Whether and how burden hours should be monetized. If so, 
should a single valuation of time (as represented, for example, by a 
respondent's wage rate or the fee paid to a contractor) be used for all 
collections, or should it be derived separately for different types of 
collections? Also, should a single valuation be used for all 
respondents to a particular collection, or should valuations differ 
according to respondent characteristics?
     Whether OMB should establish a means for reporting annual 
burden estimates rather than the three-year average burden estimates 
that are commonly reported today.
    In submitting comments to this notice, please provide supporting 
evidence where feasible--with data, specific examples of information 
collections, and, if possible, the collections' OMB Control Numbers--
along with concrete recommendations.

Reducing Paperwork Burden and Maximizing the Utility of Information 
Collected by the Federal Government

    Over the years, the number of hours that the public has spent 
responding to Federal Government information collections has been 
steadily increasing. In FY 2000, the public spent an estimated 7.4 
billion hours responding to information collections subject to the PRA. 
In FY 2007, the number of hours grew to an estimated 9.64 billion, an 
increase of more than 30 percent. Much of this increase is attributed 
to factors that make it difficult for agencies to control their 
paperwork burden, such as new statutory requirements and demographic 
and economic changes. A much smaller portion is a result of 
discretionary decisions made by agencies that increase burden.
    While the overall trend in paperwork burden has been rising, 
several agencies have dramatically reduced the burden of their 
collections, and in some cases improved the utility of a collection in 
the process. The following are examples of successful initiatives by 
agencies to reduce burden on the public:
     The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) expanded 
electronic reporting options for its National Fire Incident Reporting 
System (NFIRS), which allows the Department to analyze fire incident 
data at the Federal, State, and local levels. The revised system 
continues to help DHS identify common fire trends on a national scale, 
but in a more efficient manner. The revisions to the system resulted in 
a reduction of 1.28 million burden hours and $17.545 million in costs 
to respondents.
     Within the Department of Health and Human Services, the 
Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) managed a work 
group to examine some of its forms for possible duplication or 
redundancy with currently approved Standard Forms. The group found that 
the health professions programs could operate with the Standard Forms, 
allowing HRSA to discontinue one of its program-specific forms, the 
Competing Grant Training Application. As a result, burden was reduced 
by 101,531 hours.
     The Social Security Administration (SSA) reduced the 
amount of time necessary to complete the initial online filing for 
Social Security retirement and disability benefits by enabling 
respondents to sign the application electronically, rather than in hard 
copy. This portion of the SSA's Signature Proxy Initiative resulted in 
an annual reduction of 32,401 hours.\2\
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    \2\ See page 5 of the Information Collection Budget of the 
United States Government, FY 2007, Office of Management and Budget, 
which can be found at http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/omb/inforeg/icb/fy_2007_icb_final.pdf.
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    Agencies also often undertake efforts to improve the utility of 
information that they collect through relatively small increases in 
burden. For example, statistical agencies routinely pretest new surveys 
or new items for existing surveys to ensure that respondents understand 
the question being asked, have the information to be able to respond, 
and are able to convey their response in accordance with the options 
provided by the agency. Similarly, agencies conducting program 
evaluations or research studies often engage in small-scale formative 
or exploratory research to inform larger-scale investigations. With 
increasing use of the Internet to collect and disseminate information, 
more agencies are also engaging in usability testing to improve their 
Web sites and electronic forms and questionnaires.
    OMB is committed to helping agencies build on these initiatives and 
to ensuring that the PRA is implemented in a way that suits current 
conditions. OMB is also aware that concerns have been expressed about 
unintended consequences of the administration of the Act, including 
delays in the conduct of surveys and research in contexts in which 
citizens are asked, but not required, to respond to information 
collection requests by the Federal Government.
    In this notice, OMB is seeking public comment to provide new ideas 
for reducing paperwork burden and ensuring practical utility. As part 
of its efforts to improve this situation, OMB invites comments from the 
public on all issues relating to improvement of the implementation of 
the PRA, including but not limited to the following topic areas:
     How can OMB improve the PRA review process in a way that 
increases efficiency and timeliness for agencies while ensuring 
practical utility and minimizing burden on the public?
     Under the PRA, what are the relevant differences among 
collections that are mandatory, mandatory to receive a benefit, and 
voluntary, and what practices could OMB implement in its review 
processes to recognize these differences? In addition, how would such 
practices achieve the PRA goals of reducing current paperwork

[[Page 55272]]

burdens and increasing the practical utility of information collected 
by the Federal Government?
     Should OMB encourage agencies to adopt ``one-stop'' 
information collection techniques, which consolidate multiple forms via 
a single electronic form to reduce the burden on the public? How should 
OMB encourage agencies to take advantage of online tools to simplify 
the completion of already-approved surveys or mobile technology to 
deliver a survey by alternative means?
     What practices could OMB implement under the PRA to 
facilitate the use of new technologies, such as social media, as well 
as future technologies, while supporting the Federal Government's 
responsibilities for Information Resource Management?
     What new steps, if any, might be taken under the PRA to 
eliminate any redundant or excessive mandatory information collections, 
especially in connection with programs that now impose the most 
significant burdens, including tax, health, and transportation 
programs?
     Examples of successful paperwork burden reduction 
practices implemented by an agency that could be implemented by other 
agencies. Please provide recommendations, and if possible, OMB control 
numbers.

Cass R. Sunstein,
Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.
[FR Doc. E9-25757 Filed 10-26-09; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 3110-01-P