Subscribe Now

REGWRITER ALERT: OMB Memo on utilizing flexibilities under the Paperwork Reduction Act

July 29, 2016

TRG summary of the new OMB Memo, Flexibilities under the Paperwork Reduction Act for Compliance with Information Collection Requirements, dated July 22, 2016.
OMB Memo, Flexibilities under the Paperwork Reduction Act for Compliance with Information Collection Requirements
On July 22, 2016, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs (OIRA), Office of Management and Budget (OMB), issued a memorandum (memo) encouraging agencies to take advantage of flexible methods for Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) compliance. The memo, "Flexibilities under the Paperwork Reduction Act for Compliance with Information Collection Requirements" provides an overview of previous memos and guidance issued by OIRA advising agencies about fast-tracks, expedited reviews and exceptions to PRA. In an effort to alert agencies to this latest PRA memo, OIRA held a conference call on July 28th.

In particular, the memo seeks to help agencies use streamlining processes adapted to address emerging technologies and new approaches to engaging with the public, such as social media. The memo explains:
  • Where and how agencies can use more streamlined processes to satisfy the PRA public notice requirements
  • How agencies can make certain minor changes to information collections without the need for lengthy OIRA review
  • How agencies can receive expedited clearance for information collections in certain situations
  • How agencies can identify instances in which the PRA does not apply to certain uses of social media or other web-based technologies
The flexibilities discussed include:
  • Generic Clearance and Fast-Track Process
  • Common Forms
  • De Minimis Changes
  • Non-Substantive Changes
  • Emergency Review
Further, the memo provides additional guidance on topics addressed previously in memos and OMB regulation:
  • Social Media and the PRA. Agencies often do not need OIRA approval for social media or web-based interactive technologies. See memo at
  • Data Search Tools & Calculators. OIRA's Web-based Interactive Technologies memo clarifies applicability of PRA to web-based data search tools and calculators. See memo at
  • Challenges and Prizes FAQ. OIRA has answered many questions about agency challenges, contests, competitions and application of PRA. See FAQ document at
  • Direct Observations of User Interaction with Digital Services, Tools and Products. Facts and opinions from direct observations of user interaction with digital services, tools and products is not information covered under PRA. See 5 CFR 1320.3(h)(3).
We recommend you read the full memorandum available here:

Want to hear more? Register for one of our upcoming PRA Compliance courses, August 9 or September 16.
We hope you find this RegulationWriter Alert helpful. If you have any suggestions, questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us.