Agencies face hurdles in eliminating paperwork

Agencies are getting good advice on how to conduct business online, but face funding and security challenges in setting up their systems, according to a new General Accounting Office report.

The report, requested by Sen. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., praises the Office of Management and Budget for providing agencies with useful guidance on complying with the 1998 Government Paperwork Elimination Act (GPEA).

The act gives agencies until October 2003 to provide anyone who does business with Uncle Sam the option of conducting that business electronically. The act also urges agencies to use electronic signature technology so that electronic documents can be treated as legally binding documents.

In May, OMB asked agencies to submit plans identifying the benefits and risks associated with online transactions, developing ways to retain and dispose of information, and providing adequate security for electronic records, among other reporting requirements.

However, according to GAO, agencies are feeling the financial strain of trying to meet GPEA's requirements. For example, the Social Security Administration told OMB that a full-scale implementation of GPEA couldn't be completed until after 2005 and could cost the agency more than $40 million. The Agriculture Department also said it did not have the immediate funding or staff to fulfill many of OMB's proposals regarding GPEA.

Providing adequate computer security is another major concern for agencies. A Sept. 6 report from the GAO (GAO/AIMD-00-295) found serious and widespread computer security weaknesses for 24 of the largest federal agencies from July 1999 through August 2000.

"While agencies are working to correct specific control deficiencies as well as the related management weaknesses, progress has been slow," said the new report, "Government Paperwork Elimination Act Presents Challenges for Agencies" (GAO/AIMD-00-282).

Agencies also cited recruiting qualified staff to oversee online transactions and establishing reliable recordkeeping as major challenges. GAO outlined efforts by the federal Chief Information Officers Council to develop strategies for attracting and retaining a federal IT workforce. The Justice Department and the National Archives and Records Administration are in charge of providing guidance on recordkeeping.

GAO urged top agency leaders, OMB, and Congress to provide support and oversight to agencies to help them comply with the demands of GPEA. OMB agreed with the GAO's findings.

OMB's guidance for GPEA is online at www.cio.gov/docs/gpea_wpd.htm.

Stay up-to-date with federal news alerts and analysis — Sign up for GovExec's email newsletters.
FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by Brocade

    Best of 2016 Federal Forum eBook

    Earlier this summer, Federal and tech industry leaders convened to talk security, machine learning, network modernization, DevOps, and much more at the 2016 Federal Forum. This eBook includes a useful summary highlighting the best content shared at the 2016 Federal Forum to help agencies modernize their network infrastructure.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    GBC Flash Poll Series: Merger & Acquisitions

    Download this GBC Flash Poll to learn more about federal perspectives on the impact of industry consolidation.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    A DevOps Roadmap for the Federal Government

    This GBC Report discusses how DevOps is steadily gaining traction among some of government's leading IT developers and agencies.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download
  • Sponsored by CDW-G

    Joint Enterprise Licensing Agreements

    Read this eBook to learn how defense agencies can achieve savings and efficiencies with an Enterprise Software Agreement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Cloudera

    Government Forum Content Library

    Get all the essential resources needed for effective technology strategies in the federal landscape.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.