Guidelines for Information Desimminated by Federal Agencies

OFFICE OF MANAGEMENT AND BUDGET

Guidelines for Ensuring and Maximizing the Quality, Objectivity, Utility, and Integrity of Information Disseminated by Federal Agencies

AGENCY: Office of Management and Budget, Executive Office of the President.

ACTION: Notice of Availability

SUMMARY: The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is giving notice of availability of its Information Quality Guidelines. These Information Quality Guidelines describe OMB’s predissemination information quality control and an administrative mechanism for requests for correction of information publicly disseminated by OMB. The Information Quality Guidelines are posted on OMB’s Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/infopoltech.html

DATES: OMB’s predissemination review applies to information that OMB first disseminates on or after October 1, 2002. OMB’s administrative mechanism for correcting information that OMB disseminates applies to information that OMB disseminates on or after October 1, 2002, regardless of when OMB first disseminated the information.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Brooke J. Dickson, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, Office of Management and Budget, Washington, D.C. 20503. Telephone (202) 395-3785 or e-mail to: informationquality@omb.eop.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: OMB published a notice of availability for proposed information quality guidelines in the Federal Register on May 1, 2002 (67 FR 21779). OMB amended its proposed guidelines to reflect guidance provided to all the agencies in a Memorandum from John D. Graham for the President’s Management Council, "Agency Draft Information Quality Guidelines" (June 10, 2002) and a Memorandum from John D. Graham to the President’s Management Council, "Agency Final Information Quality Guidelines" (September 5, 2002). These memoranda are available on OMB’s Web site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/inforeg/infopoltech.html. OMB also received a few agency-specific textual comments that were helpful in clarifying the guidelines. A summary of significant amendments to the proposed guidelines follows, in order of the text.

 

In the introductory paragraph to these guidelines, OMB establishes these guidelines as its performance standard, as called for at page 7 in the June 10, 2002 memorandum. (See also, paragraph III.1 of the Agency-wide Guidelines, 67 FR 8452 (February 22, 2002)).

In a new paragraph I.A.6, OMB adds more specific language involving the dissemination of influential scientific, financial, or statistical information. (See June 10, 2002 memorandum, page 9; Agency-wide Guidelines, paragraph V.b.ii.B).
OMB clarified its predissemination review procedures in renumbered paragraph I.A.7.

In a new paragraph I.A.9, OMB links its clearance of proposed collections of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act with ongoing implementation of these information quality guidelines (See June 10, 2002 memorandum, p. 10).

 

In the introduction to section II, OMB stresses that the purpose of any corrective action will be to serve the genuine and valid needs of OMB without disrupting OMB processes, and to deal with information quality matters, not to resolve underlying substantive policy or legal issues. (See Supplementary Information to interim final Agency-wide Guidelines, 66 FR 49718, 49721 (September 28, 2001)).

 

In paragraph II.1, OMB stresses that the person seeking correction of information has the burden of proof with respect to the necessity for correction as well as with respect to the type of correction requested. (See June 10, 2002 memorandum, page 11). In addition, OMB adds a description of the kinds of information that a person seeking correction of information needs to provide to help meet that burden of proof.

 

In paragraph II.9, OMB points out that if it needs to extend the time it will take to notify the person seeking correction, it will provide a reasoned basis for the extension and an estimated decision date. (See September 5, 2002 memorandum, Appendix, topic (3)).

 

In a new paragraph II.10, OMB adds a provision stating that requests for correction of information will be considered, in cases where OMB disseminates a study, analysis, or other information for public comment, prior to disseminating the final OMB action or information product if (1) an earlier response would not unduly delay dissemination of the OMB action or information product; and (2) the requestor had shown a reasonable likelihood of suffering actual harm from the dissemination if the correction were not made until dissemination of the final OMB action or information product. (See September 5, 2002 memorandum, Appendix, topic (2)).

 

In paragraph III.3, OMB points out that if it needs to extend the time it will take to notify the person seeking reconsideration of an OMB response to a request for correction, it will provide a reasoned basis for the extension and an estimated decision date. (See September 5, 2002 memorandum, Appendix, topic (3)).

 

In paragraph IV.2, OMB modifies the exemption for a press release to provide that the information in the press release has been previously disseminated by OMB or another Federal agency in compliance with the Agency-wide Guidelines or the these OMB guidelines. (See June 5, 2002 memorandum, page 4).

 

In paragraph IV.4, OMB deletes from the exclusion from the definition of "information" the provision referring to statements that may reasonably be expected to become the subject of litigation. (See June 5, 2002 memorandum, page 5). Otherwise, the OMB amendments were technical and conforming textual edits, designed to clarify the OMB guidelines and conform them to the Agency-wide Guidelines.

 

Dated: September 20, 2002

John D. Graham
Administrator, Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs