Praise for the Conference's Recommendation on the Paperwork Reduction Act

Two months since it was adopted by the Administrative Conference,  Recommendation 2012-4, Paperwork Reduction Act is being praised for its potential to help agencies reduce the public burdens of government information collections. Recommendation 2012-4 suggests ways for the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA) and individual agencies to revitalize the process for creating, reviewing, and approving information collection requests. The suggestions provide low-cost ways to improve public engagement and streamline the process without increased burden on the public. The importance of the issues addressed in the Recommendation was emphasized on June 22, 2012, when Cass R. Sunstein, the Administrator of OIRA at that time, issued a memo to executive departments and agencies addressing the need for the government to significantly reduce reporting and paperwork burdens on the public. Writing on RegBlog, a project of the Penn Program on Regulation, Sam Batkins, Director of Regulatory Policy for the American Action Forum, has urged that "[a]gencies looking for other guidance beyond the Sunstein memo should heed the recommendations of the Administrative Conference of the United States."  Mr. Batkins identified as "most salient" the provision of the Recommendation that urges agencies not to view information collection requests as final at the time they are put out for public comment.  This seemingly small shift is essential if agencies are to use public engagement more effectively to improve information collection techniques and reduce unnecessary burden on the public. Visit the Paperwork Reduction Act Implementation Page for more information on this recommendation.