Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies
As I outlined in the Cabinet meeting on Monday, January 24, I am determined to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the Executive Branch. As part of this improvement, I place a high priority on reducing the burden which reporting to the Federal Government places upon the American public.
My predecessor launched a program to secure a modest five percent reduction in reporting burden by September 30, 1977. I am dismayed to learn that the executive departments and agencies have made virtually no progress toward the achievement of that goal.
To assure that this matter receives your continuing attention, I want you to assume personal responsibility for the successful fulfillment of this task and for achieving the purposes of the Federal Reports Act as they relate to your agency. You may delegate authority, but any such delegation must be unambiguous and must run directly to yourself.
Please determine personally:
(a) How many reports does my agency receive?
(b) How many can be combined or eliminated?
(c) How can they be simplified?
(d) Can less frequent reports serve adequately?
(e) Can major departments, agencies and sub-agencies share the same report?
I do not look upon the task of reducing the reporting burden on the public as a one-shot campaign. It is a continuing problem. Routine efforts to deal with it will not suffice. You should review your agency's data collection activities to find ways of carrying out your program responsibilities in a manner which will reduce the paperwork burden on the public.
Assess reports now required by law. You should develop recommendations for changes in legislation which might permit further reductions in reporting in the future.
I have assigned to the Director of the Office of Management and Budget responsibility for exercising general oversight over the reporting burden reduction program. When possible, apply to existing forms the OMB restraints on new forms and reports.
I anticipate your wholehearted and enthusiastic support in achieving these goals. I want each of you and your staff to cooperate fully with, the Commission on Federal Paperwork, which is pursuing a broad inquiry into matters relating to paperwork generated by Federal agencies and its impact on the public.
Finally, report to OMB by March 31 the goal of your agency for reduction of required reporting which will be achieved by September 30, 1977, plus other recommendations concerning legislation and cooperation with other agencies.