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Minimize Paperwork Burden and Protect Privacy

A priority of CDC is ensuring the information collection burden is minimized when questionnaires, surveys, interviews, reports, and other data collections are requested of the public. There also is a commitment to the quality, practical utility, and public health importance of any data collected through a CDC sponsored activity. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review and approval process as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA) further ensures that CDC adheres to this commitment.

Office of Management and Budget Paperwork Reduction Act Clearance

OMB PRA clearance is required to conduct federally sponsored data collections. The Paperwork Reduction Act (44 U.S.C. 3501 et seq.) of 1995 grants authority to OMB to review and approve federally sponsored data collections involving ten (10) or more respondents. The implementing regulations for the PRA can be found in 5 CFR 1320. The purpose of the Paperwork Reduction Act is to ensure that the federal government is not duplicative in paperwork requests made to the public and that the paperwork is necessary to government business.

In order for CDC programs to conduct data collections, a request to do so must be submitted to OMB. The request consists of a statement explaining the purpose, use, burden to the respondent completing the questionnaire, form, survey, etc., and statistical validity of the data collection; a copy of the law and/or statutes which authorize the data collection; and all data collection instruments. Documents such as consent forms, letters, and telephone scripts are also included in the request to OMB.

In addition, those outside of CDC must be given the opportunity to provide input on the planned data collection prior to submitting the request for OMB PRA clearance. To solicit this input, a 60-day Federal Register Notice (FRN) is published to give the general public the opportunity to comment. The comments must be considered and noted in the OMB PRA request for clearance.

A second notice is published in the Federal Register to notify the public that the request for OMB PRA clearance had been officially submitted.

Once a planned data collection has received OMB PRA clearance, the project may begin. CDC must monitor the burden hours to ensure they are properly utilized, not exceeded, and that any underusage is reported during the data collection portion of the project. A summary of this information across the agency is submitted by CDC to OMB in the annual Information Collection Budget report.

Any changes to the project (e.g., to the data collection instrument, to the number or type of respondents, to the burden hours or methods) must be reported and all changes must be approved by OMB before they can be implemented.

HHS Information Collection / Paperwork Reduction Act Website

  • Page last reviewed: April 5, 2012
  • Page last updated: December 20, 2010
  • Content source: Office of the Associate Director for Science
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