Paperwork Reduction Act

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  1. Can we hand out a survey at our conference?

    If you are asking the same set of questions to ten or more members of the public, then the Paperwork Reduction Act (PRA), 44 U.S.C. § 3501 et seq., requires that an agency receive approval from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) prior to conducting or sponsoring the collection of information. 

  2. Does that mean that we can’t hand out a questionnaire at the end of our conference soliciting feedback on the conference?

    No, as long as the questions are presented in a “suggestion box” type format as opposed specific question.  For example, if you are just asking for attendees’ comments, suggestions, or general feedback, such questionnaires would not require OMB approval.  Also, if all of the conference attendees are Federal employees, the PRA does not apply.  See #5, below.

  3. Can we just have our non-federal partner or contractor collect the information in order to avoid the PRA?

    No.  If the information is being collected on behalf of the agency, it is still necessary to get OMB approval.

  4. Does the format of the survey matter?

    No.  The PRA applies to paper surveys, as well as verbal communications over the telephone or in person, Federal Register or other regulatory requirements, and surveys over the Internet or e-mail.

  5. Does the PRA apply if all the people being questioned are federal employees?

    No.  Federal employees are excluded from the definition of “persons” for purposes of the PRA.

For more information about the PRA, click here.